Formula Renault 3.5Tio Ellinas Blog

Tio Ellinas Blog: The Story of the Year

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Welcome to my first blog on The Checkered Flag. I’d like to thank the guys here for this opportunity to tell you what I’m up to in between the World Series by Renault races. I’m currently back in Cyprus after the Budapest race and reflecting on another weekend where we showed a lot of promise in practice but didn’t quite deliver that in the race. That’s really been the story of the year and the next few weekends are about turning that round and delivering the results when it counts.

Like so many of this year’s races, free practice went really well, consistently in the top five and good balance in the car. Into qualifying and the pace continued but with the higher temperatures, the tyres were only good for two laps. I was hampered by traffic on those laps so I didn’t qualify as well as we should have.  In race 1 I got a really unfortunate penalty after the airbox fan was left on the grid. Things didn’t get any better in the race and I got hit on the first lap and we ended up with no points.

It was a similar scenario for race two with traffic hampering quali. We did grab some points in the race with P6 and I was pleased that my Strakka team mate Gustav [Malja] could get his first podium.  He is learning quickly and that result was a great motivation for the team. We get on well and enjoy a good relationship at the track and workshop.

Tio Ellinas reflected on his Hungaroring weekend (Credit: Strakka Racing)

Tio Ellinas reflected on his Hungaroring weekend (Credit: Strakka Racing)

I’m still based in Cyprus so tend to head back straight home after the races. It’s only four hours travelling for most of the races and I enjoy spending time with my family over here so at the moment, it’s working out well. When I’m back home I am really getting into cycling. I’ve started doing a fair bit of training with a domestic team here in Cyprus. Typically we are doing rides have around 50 to 60 km but sometimes they beast us with a 90km run!

It’s great training with these guys, they are some of the best in the country and it’s really moving my fitness forward. When I’m not training I’m also working in the family construction business bringing some of my marketing expertise that I’ve learnt through motorsport.

With help from the Strakka guys we’ve also expanded some commercial deals. I was already working with Tom Carter the watch designer. I really fortunate to have my own watch in their range. I helped to design the watch, specifying some of the materials and colours. I was surprised but really pleased that this has already sold out after being available worldwide! So thank you if you bought one!

Tio in action at the Hungaroring (Credit: Florent Gooden / DPPI)

Tio in action at the Hungaroring (Credit: Florent Gooden / DPPI)

I am also working with MTN, the Cypriot telecommunications company. We shot a cool video which has been on the TV and on lots of the billboards around Cyprus. Strakka shipped over one of its World Series by Renault cars from Strakka Performance and I drove it over here for a TV commercial. Being on television has really raised my profile and I’m getting recognised a lot more!

Motorsport is growing in Cyprus and my grandfather used to rally but there is a bigger emphasis on circuit racing these days. I am really keen to do more to help more young karters from Cyprus to develop their career so I am spending time at the local circuits, providing advice to the next generation. Compared to England where a motorsport ladder is so established, it is hard for these drivers to progress and make a switch to cars, there just isn’t the same infrastructure but with the awareness we are generating, I’m hoping it’s going to be easier for them.

Back to the World Series and I am looking forward to the Nürburgring and Silverstone rounds. I’ve done well at both those tracks in GP3 and with Silverstone being Strakka’s home track I’m hoping to get that result the whole team deserves!

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The Checkered Flag was set up in August 2009 and is dedicated to providing independent daily news and features from around the world of motorsport.
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