Rupert's steady show on F1 undercard

TEENAGE racing driver Rupert Svendsen-Cook has made a solid start in his debut season of Formula BMW Europe.

Stuart Watson

TEENAGE racing driver Rupert Svendsen-Cook has made a solid start in his debut season of Formula BMW Europe.

The single-seater championships are a new concept this year and, along with the Porsche Super Cup and GP2 Series, will form part of the support card to seven of Formula One's European races.

Ipswich's ambitious 17-year-old made a promising start to the championships in front of a packed crowd at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya track.

Svendsen-Cook finished 16th and 12th in his respective two races in a strong field of 30 of the world's very best young drivers.

The St Joseph College pupil also had the accolade of being the fastest of the seven competing Brits in both qualifying and racing.

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The teenager, who passed his driving test in January, said: “To be racing on the same track just hours before the drivers that I have always really looked up to was just unbelievable.

“There was just a massive, massive amount of fans who were making a lot of noise for our races. It was a bit daunting, but I really enjoyed being part of the Formula One weekend and all the glamour that comes with it.”

Representing Double R Racing, a team that was founded by reigning Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen and his manager Steve Robertson, Svendsen-Cook endured a tough first race.

In an accident ridden first race the field spent much of their time behind the safety car, during which time Svendsen-Cook was controversially overtaken by two cars.

One crash forced him out on to the gravel but, despite rejoining in 22nd place, he fought back in the remaining three laps to claim an impressive 16th.

The second race went much more smoothly for Svendsen-Cook who made steady progress from 14th on the grid to finish 12th.

Having progressed from karting to being a rookie on the Formula BMW UK championships last year, Svendsen-Cook said: “This is a massive step up for me. There are twice as many on the grid and the quality is outstanding. I still don't have a target in terms of where I want to finish overall this year, my aim is just to be as good as I can be.”

The next two rounds of Formula BMW Europe take place at Belgium's Zolder between the 30 May and 1 June. This is the only round of the championships which do not support a Formula One weekend, the fifth and sixth rounds coming ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July.

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