JIM RUSSELL’S FUTURE DRIVER SEARCH 2010 NEARS CLIMAX

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Six drivers go in to the fourth and final day of Future Driver Search 2010 program at the Infineon Raceway on Tuesday (22 Dec). It all comes down to this.

Jim Russell Future Driver McNish

Bastien Graber (18), from Niddatal, GERMANY

James Kovacic (16), from Forresters Beach nr Gosford, AUSTRALIA

Felipe Polehtto [nee Poletto Bastos] (20), from Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL

Gary Carlton (23), from Marysville, California, USA

Alex Ellis (18), from St Catharines, Ontario, CANADA

Jeffrey Westphal (23), from San Carlos, California, USA

Jim Russell Future Driver 2

Todays action was fierce with impressive talent rising to the top and was centered on karting. The final six have worked their way through treacherous weather conditions that were changing as the day progressed. A recap of today’s results are:

Multiple Australian kart champion James Kovacic won the opening 10-lap kart heat by 2.252secs over national karting champion Gary Carlton (USA). Yannick Mettler (CH), who has raced karts in Germany this year as well as testing a Formula BMW, comfortably took victory in the second heat, 17.533secs ahead of seasoned Rotax champion Greg Liefooghe (USA).

In the 18-lap Final Kovacic, who finished fifth in the 2009 Formula BMW Americas Championship, started from pole-position and despite dropping behind fellow front-row starter, Mettler, for the opening two laps, went on to record a comfortable 6.042secs victory on a drying, but still slippery track.

Felipe Polehtto (BRA), third in Heat 1, recovered from seventh place after a Turn 1 opening lap spin, to finish third. Nikola Radosavljevich (USA) (5th Heat 1, 4th Final), Carlton (5th Final) – also delayed in the opening lap skirmish – former Northern California ProKart Challenge champion Cody Hodgson (USA) (4th Heat 2, 6th Final) and Liefooghe (USA) (7th Final) had each featured in a hectic battle for third place for much of the race.

S3 stand-out Tyler Bennett (USA) and TaG Senior runner-up Gustavo Menezes (USA), who both received Jim Russell Scholarships in to the Future Driver Search for their performances at the SKUSA SuperNationals XIII in Las Vegas, finished sixth in their respective heats while Jeffrey Westphal (USA), a former Pacific F2000 Championship Series champion, was ninth in the Final (third in Heat 1).

Jim Russell Future Driver 3

Judges will ultimately select the best “all-rounder” on Tuesday evening while the second recipient of the 2010 JRCS “seat” will be the driver who sets the outright fastest lap time on Tuesday in a Jim Russell Racing Drivers School FJR-50.

Jim Russell Future Driver 4

Veteran sports car driver Allan McNish and his fellow judges will do the selection and the final will be a huge opportunity for one of the these young men. Stay tuned to F1B as we will bring you the results of the Jim Russell Future Driver Search program.

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