Hello, and welcome to coverage of the one of the showpiece events of the International Junior Grand Prix Championship season, the Junior Monaco Grand Prix.
The talk around the paddock is of the new teams, with British Engineering and Point Cook Racing joining the grid, and there is already speculation whether or not they can emulate the success of the Malaysian Grand Prix for Westwood on their race debut! Also making their debut is Edgardo Agretha, test driver for Kenyon Racing, and it will be interesting to see how he does, giving the first chance to see the level of these drivers in comparison with a VGPC standard entry.
The qualifying session for the Monaco Junior Grand Prix was a hectic session with very few clean moments, although every driver did manage to set some clear times so there were no complaints by the end. While all the eyes were on the new teams, Westwood reminded everyone about them courtesy of Luke Stokey, getting the pole position by a clear margin. Second place was Michael Wilkins, who will be hoping to lose the tag of having no points so far, while Team 23 will be pleased to see Henk Dekzwabber on form, lining up third. For the new teams, Alex Wright set a blistering time for British Engineering, while Eduardo Oliveira-Martins of Point Cook Racing managed 7th. Edgardo Agretha for Kenyon Racing also went a long way to showing that his boss was right to place him in the car with a very solid 10th place. Further back, Fun GP2 driver Yrjana Vahasoyrinki only managed 18th, while the new drivers further down were Will Taylor in 21st and Michal Kubat in 22nd.
Start: Here we are, sitting on the grid of the Grand Prix Juvenile de Monaco, with a record high 26 cars, nearly 17000 horsepower, with drivers from all around the world. Soon they will fill the principality of Monaco with noise, here we go, the lights are illuminating, one, two, three, four... five...... very long hold on the lights.... and it is go, go, go!!! Clean start at the front from everyone, Stokey off fast, Wilkins following the leader away closely, Dekzwabber and new boy Wright close behind.
Lap 1: Further back in to the hairpin, Frances Bouvert is attacking Pedro Costa, and squeezes through! Top move!.
Lap 7: So far there hasn't been an awful lot of action, Bouvert providing the only real movement to get past Costa.
Lap 9: So far the leader is comfortably ahead, Stokey not seeming concerned with his rivals behind.
Lap 11: Agretha on his debut is looking good, adjusting to these cars well. At the moment he is very close behind Heininen going into the tunnel. On the exit, Heininen is far to the right to turn in, Agretha places his car on the left, brakes later, this surely can't work? It does, he got his elbows out and powers around Heininen on the exit and begins to get a buffer into Tabac.
Lap 14: Bayurn Zrigovic is not as high up as expected, and is looking off the pace. Over the first half of the lap Dubois has caught up to him, and they are now heading into Tabac, Dubois on the inside, and Zrigovic has to pull back to avoid the collision! Good driving from both there, although if Dubois tries that on a less talented driver, he may well end up in the wall.
Lap 18: Yrjana Vahasoyrinki and the two Peurteor boys are fighting it out over 15th, 16th and 17th positions. Into the chicane, Vahasoyrinki is firmly in the middle of the track, while he has a Peurteor either side of him, this cannot end well... and it doesn't! Bouvert on the outside cuts off Vahasoyrinki, who in turn has to cut in front of DePanon, and the Finn skids slightly, allowing Bouvert through to 15th, and DePanon takes 16th. Somehow, Vahasoyrinki manages to avoid the wall, so is still in 17th place.
Lap 26: Germund Svensson is in 15th place, with Luis Pesdebills extremely close behind for Team 23. As they head through the chicane, Svensson gets onto the inside kerb and has to lift to stop the wheelspin, allowing Pesdebills to pull level, although he is on the outside for Tabac. As they go through the corner, Svensson seems to pull to the right before taking the apex... AND THEY COLLIDE! Svensson pushes Pesdebills into the wall, demolishing the right hand side of the car - he is out. Svensson is now without his front right wheel, and will surely be scrutinised for such an unsafe manouvre. The safety car has been deployed, and could be out for some time.
Lap 27: Indeed, Germund Svensson is placed under steward's investigation
Lap 28: Yes, Germund Svensson has been given a ten place penalty for the grid of the RAC British Junior Grand Prix.
Lap 30: The safety car will pull in at the end of lap 32.
Lap 32: The race restarts, and there is no shortage of pushing and shoving by the drivers, with the first to make a move being Eduardo Oliveira-Martins for Point Cook Racing getting on the inside of Christian Fischoff, and he gets brilliant drive off the first corner, managing to take the 6th place.
Lap 38: Yohan Dubois is very close behind Mikko Heininen, and has been getting nearer every lap. Coming round Anthony Noghes, Dubois gets good traction, pulling alongside Heininen on the outside for turn one, but he brakes much later, giving him the room to once again make a risky move, turning in front of Dubois, causing him to brake sharply.
Lap 43: Alex Wright has been solid on his debut, holding 4th place for British Engineering, however over the last three or four laps, Callum Brandon has been catching him, and is now about half a second behind.
Lap 46: Into the hairpin, Brandon lunges in on Wright, who has to avoid turning in order not to hit him, and the Volkswagen Lucas Wilson Racing driver gets 4th spot.
Lap 49: Bayurn Zrigovic has continued to struggle, and has been caught by both of the ART drivers.
Lap 51: Dino Palma slides inside Zrigovic into La Rascasse, and he runs wide, pinning Zrigovic to the wall, and van Snelheid takes advantage of this, passing both. Palma takes 13th ahead of Zrigovic, who has been desperately unlucky today.
Lap 54: The battle between Vahasoyrinki and the Peurteor boys has started again, and Bouvert is under extreme pressure. Into the chicane, and the pressure has got to Bouvert, cutting the chicane, losing a place to DePanon as he avoided hitting him.
Lap 56: Bouvert seems to be in a bit of a panic, as he is ragged through the opening sector, before Vahasoyrinki dives on the inside of the hairpin, taking the spot.
Lap 58: Will Taylor has struggled so far in his British Engineering debut, and is down in 20th place. In fact, he has just ran off the road into the first corner, taking the escape, and is passed by Moretti, Gerrard and Cesar.
Lap 60: He has been in a class of his own all race, and Luke Stokey takes the victory, ahead of Michael Wilkins, who gets his first points with a podium, and third is Henk Dekzwabber. The best of the new boys is Alex Wright with a great 5th, while previous race winners Zrigovic and Vahasoyrinki end up 14th and 16th respectively.
After another interesting race, winner Luke Stokey takes the championship lead, four points ahead of non scoring team mate Zrigovic, with Heininen third for Morley Engineering. Gerrard has fallen away from the front runners in fifth, while further back, Wilkins takes his first points in impressive style, and the replacement for the only remaining driver who started the Australian Junior Grand Prix, Edgardo Agretha has already scored points, showing William Ingram to be totally justified in his decision.
For the teams, Westwood have pulled a large lead, while Morley are second. Lucas Wilson are third, and after a double non score, Peurteor are now level on points with Liverpool Grand Prix. British Engineering and Point Cook score points in their first races.
The Race Winners Cup remains open, with Zrigovic still the sole double winner, and is ahead in the Euro Trophy courtesy of winning the first race of the series.