DRESS REHEARSAL Over the last 2 days the DAMS Team has been taking part in the first practice session for the BMW Europe Championship born of the fusion of the German and British Series. It will consist of 8 rounds as curtain raisers for the ...
Over the last 2 days the DAMS Team has been taking part in the first practice session for the BMW Europe Championship born of the fusion of the German and British Series. It will consist of 8 rounds as curtain raisers for the following F1 Grand Prix (Barcelona, Silverstone, Hockenheim, Budapest, Valencia, Spa, Monza and another event to be determined).
After several private tests carried out by DAMS this winter on circuits as different from one another as Zolder, Barcelona and Monza, this 2-day session was the first with all the teams entered in this year's championship. The first day was devoted to training the drivers in race neutralisations, simulations with the safety car, starting procedures and pit entry manoeuvres. BMW Motorsport's prime aim is to create a professional motor racing environment in which all the young drivers in this formula will be introduced to the notions of safety and fairplay.
Today, the 2 French drivers in the team Kevin Breysse and Jim Pla were joined by Italian Salvatore Cicatelli, the 2007 Formula Azzura Champion, for this session. As is often the case at Silverstone track conditions were tricky: wet in the morning and then drying out in the afternoon. In addition, the session was marked by numerous interruptions, which upset the teams' programmes. Jim and Kevin were credited with the 13th and 14th times in the morning, and in the afternoon they finished 16th and 17th. Salvatore, who had never driven the car before, set the 21st time.
This was the last session before the first round of the championship, which will take place during the Spanish Grand Prix meeting on the Barcelona circuit. The temperature's rising!
Eric Boullier, team manager: "We're reasonably satisfied with our two days. DAMS and its drivers are rookies in this formula whereas quite a few of our rivals already know the car. In these conditions Kevin and Jim did their best to try and find their marks, while our engineers got down to discovering the right chassis set-ups. The interruptions of the session did not make our task any easier, but we're feeling pretty confident and reckon that we've made a lot of progress."
Kevin Breysse: "I'm a bit disappointed this evening as I was always in the first six during winter testing. I had to cope with a lot of understeer, learn the circuit and master the conditions, but I'd like to have done better. We've got more work to do to be ready for the first race."
Jim Pla: "I improved throughout the winter and I'm beginning to understand how the car works. I feel more at home behind the wheel but I need some more running time to fight at the front. I'm confident for Barcelona even if this race is a big step forward for me."
19-year-old Kevin was a member of the 2005 and 2006 French Kart Team. Last season he raced in Formula Campus in which he came third. Jim is fifteen. He was the 2003 and 2004 French Kart Champion. Last year he was the youngest Formula Campus driver with the Auto Sport Academy, and won a few races.