NEC: Series Hockenheim weekend summary

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NEC: Series Hockenheim weekend summary

Two victories for Valtteri Bottas in Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0 season opener at Hockenheim The 2008 season in the Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0 got underway with two races during the "Jim Clark Revival" event at the...

Two victories for Valtteri Bottas in Northern European

Cup Formula Renault 2.0 season opener at Hockenheim The 2008 season in the Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0 got underway with two races during the "Jim Clark Revival" event at the Grand Prix circuit in Hockenheim. A total of 35,000 spectators during the weekend watched Valtteri Bottas starting off his campaign in winning style by claiming victory in both races.

Qualifying:

Valterri Bottas got his campaign underway in a successful manner by claiming pole position for both races. In qualifying for the first race, Bottas set a fastest lap time of 1.39.659 minutes and led a quintet of Motopark Academy drivers, followed by Tobias Hegewald (1.40.536), Antonio Felix da Costa (1.40.603), Johan Jokinen (1.40.716) and Kuba Giermaziak (1.40.777) in second through fifth place.

Qualifying for the second race saw Bottas repeating his earlier success, this time with an even faster lap time (1.39.088). In the second qualifying session, the Motopark Academy team even locked out the first six positions on the grid, Bottas being followed by his team- mates Jokinen (1.39.885), Hegewald (1.40.209), Felix da Costa (1.40.262), Giermaziak (1.40.332) and Juan-Pablo Garcia Samano (1.40.532) in second through sixth place.

Race 1:

The season officially got underway in bright sunshine. Valtteri Bottas made maximum use of his pole position and immediately pulled clear, gradually extending his margin to claim victory by 13.207 seconds when the chequered flag was out after 15 laps. Bottas made it a classic hattrick by setting the fastest lap time of the race on lap 9. He was followed home by fellow Motopark Academy drivers Tobias Hegewald, Antonio Felix da Costa and Kuba Giermaziak, with Stef Dusseldorp fifth for Van Amersfoort Racing. The Dutchman, who already competed in the NEC FR 2.0 last year but was sidelined for quite a while after a serious accident, showed that he is back again on full song, more focussed and stronger by his own account. In the midfield, the race brought some nice position fights, among others involving Bart Hylkema (Koirainen bros.), Thomas Knopper (AR Motorsport), Bianca Steiner (Steiner Motorsport) and Vinicius Samarone (Motopark Academy).

Post-race quotes:

Valtteri Bottas (1st place, Motopark Academy):

"Everything just came together. I have become more focussed and more professional and have learned a lot during the winter period. So I am very happy to see all my effort ending in a first win in my first race."

Tobias Hegewald (2nd place, Motopark Academy):

"My first lap was not that good and I could see my team-mate Bottas pulling away. I had a little problem with oversteer and decided to just drive my own race and not trying to catch up with Bottas."

Felix Da Costa (3rd place, Motopark Academy):

"I had a good start and so I started the season well. Finishing 3rd in my first race in the NEC just makes me very happy. The set-up of my car was good and it ran like clockwork thanks to great work of the team."

Kevin Kleveros (17th place, KEO Racing he drove his first race):

"I wasn't that nervous before the race but at the start, it was very exciting indeed. As I come out of karting I was waiting for the pile-up but that did not happen. I am very happy with my first race."

Bart Hylkema (11th place, Koirainen Bros. he drove his first race):

"I had a good start and was very focussed. I felt secure and pushed a little bit as this was my first race in the Formula Renault. I did some good overtaking and had a nice fight with Thomas Knopper. I started 16th and finished 11th. I am just very happy with this result."

Race 2:

Out in front, the second race of the weekend was a copy of the first one as Valtteri Bottas pulled away as the lights were turned out and never looked back. This time, he won by a margin of a stunning 28.741 seconds and rounded off a perfect weekend by setting the fastest lap time in the race while doing so. Johan Jokinen had qualified second, but stalled his engine at the start and dropped back to 20th. However, an impressive recovery brought him back to third as the chequered flag came out. German driver, Tobias Hegewald, looked all set to make it another clean sweep of the podium for the Motopark Academy team as he ran in second place for most of the race, but a technical problem (fuel pump) made his car slow down on the final lap. Thus, Stef Dusseldorp inherited second place, once again confirming his good form by scoring his first-ever podium finish in the series after having moved up from seventh on the grid. Kuba Giermaziak came home fourth after a nice battle with Jokinen in the closing stages of the race. He was followed by Dutch drivers, Nick Catsburg (MP Motorsport) and rookie Thomas Knopper (AR Motorsport), the latter having moved up from 13th on the grid.

Post-race quotes:

Valtteri Bottas (1st place, Motopark Academy):

"I had a good start and before the second corner I saw a bit of a pile up behind me so I could really push ahead. Together with my engineer, I had made the plan to do my fastest lap time in the last lap which I did and I also tried to do even better than the 13 seconds' gap I had in the first race, which also worked out. I have had such a good weekend! I have trained very hard and I am very happy with the results I got here."

Stef Dusseldorp (2nd place, Van Amersfoort Racing):

"I had a very good start. As Garcia Samano (Motopark) blocked me, Nick Catsburg (MP Motorsport) could pass me. I lost another one or two places during the first couple of laps but I could push and make it up again. My car was really good and after my accident here last year, when I broke my back in testing, I am all the more pleased to be on the podium here."

Johan Jokinen (3rd place, Motopark Academy):

"I had a very hectic race. I stalled the car during the start and lost about 20 places. But once I got going I could overtake five cars before the second corner already. For the next couple of laps I overtook one or two cars per lap. I really had to push but everything just worked for me. I had a good fight with Nick Catsburg (MP Motorsport) and my team-mate Kuba Giermaziak. Last year, I did 3 races in the NEC and now with lots of testing I came well prepared. I am so happy with my first podium."

-credit: necup.com

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