Strong weekend for Tambay on the streets of Valencia Adrien Tambay travelled to the south-east coast of Spain at the weekend, to contest rounds 11 and 12 of the FBMW Europe series, as the new-for-2008 Valencia street circuit made its F1 event...
Strong weekend for Tambay on the streets of Valencia
Adrien Tambay travelled to the south-east coast of Spain at the weekend, to contest rounds 11 and 12 of the FBMW Europe series, as the new-for-2008 Valencia street circuit made its F1 event debut. Close to the front of the pack throughout the weekend, a DNF in race one was followed-up on Sunday by a hard-charging fourth place finish in the second race. Heading into the final four races of the series, Tambay remains a close third overall, with overall victory still possible.
Free practise saw each of the 27 FBMW competitors focus on learning the new track, getting to grips with the slick surface that `rubbered in' through the course of the weekend, and of course working to optimise car set-up for each race.
Qualifying saw Tambay initially running fastest, and never lower than 3rd quickest. Entering his last lap and determined to push for pole - on a track that consistently `got quicker' over the course of the weekend - a mistake in the third sector, having been quick in each of the first two parts of the fast track, saw the rear of Tambay's 27 car clip the concrete wall that lined the circuit, then catching the edge of his front wing, ending his race for pole. Tambay lost ground in those closing moments, and qualified 6th fastest for race one, and 5th for race two.
Taking to the grid for Saturday afternoon's first race, over ten laps of the harbour- based track, Tambay knew that he would need to push hard every inch of the way if he was to claim an all-important podium from the third row of the grid. As the red lights disappeared to signal the start of the race, by just the second corner the Frenchman knew that he had a real fight on his hands, and for the next five laps, he and pole-setter, Kevin Breysse, battled closely in a great scrap that ultimately served to slow each other a little in their chase for the lead. At half distance, by now embroiled in a typically-fast FBMW pack, Tambay made contact with another driver which sent him out of the race, to watch trackside as Brazilian, Tiago Geronimi claimed his first victory of 2008. Sunday morning, as the 100,000+ fans began to take their seats for the main event European F1 Grand Prix, the seventeen-year-old Tambay grabbed a place off the line, and again settled into a fast battle that would last through the course of the race, this time with Spaniard, Daniel Juncadella, racing in front of his home crowd. Leading Juncadella, the Frenchman started to close on the leading group of three drivers, setting the second fastest lap of the race in the process. Visibly gaining on that podium group, a top three finish seemed achievable when elsewhere on track an accident involving South African, Kyle Mitchell brought a premature end to the race, with final classifications taken at the end of lap 8, just 4/5 of the way through the scheduled distance. The race was won by Mexican, Esteban Gutierrez.
Speaking afterwards from the spectacular harbour area, until recently, home of the Americas Cup, an upbeat Adrien Tambay offered, ``It's been a good weekend. OK, I've lost some ground in the battle for the series, but I can't really complain; in a series of sixteen races, with this level of competition, I'm going to experience the odd problem, but as always, I did my best in both races and my team gave me a good car.'' Turning his attention to the spectacular setting of the weekend, and the upcoming races, he added, ''I really enjoyed racing here. The circuit, in fact, the whole setting has been wonderful, really exciting and with such a fast but twisty layout, it's been a great new experience. I remain 3rd in the series, and although Esteban (Gutierrez) is some distance ahead, it's still possible to win overall. We move on to Spa next weekend, and then to Monza for the season finale, and it's all to fight for. I'm really looking forward to those races.''