First Eurocup Renault win for Chris van der Drift at Misano Misano 16 July 2006 -- New Zealander Chris van der Drift raced last weekend at the Italian circuit of Misano, coming away with a win in the Ultra-competitive Formula Renault Eurocup ...
First Eurocup Renault win for Chris van der Drift at Misano
Misano 16 July 2006 -- New Zealander Chris van der Drift raced last weekend at the Italian circuit of Misano, coming away with a win in the Ultra-competitive Formula Renault Eurocup Championship. The kiwi driver is now placed second in the overall points standings, only two points less than Spaniard Dani Clos. Of utmost importance was the first triumph for Van der Drift in this very competitive championship.
The race weekend started with the test sessions on Thursday (2 of 1 ½ hours) and Friday (2 of 30 minutes). The allocated time was well used with setup adjustments resulting in a 6th quickest time in the first Thursday test session. The JD Motorsport driver improved on this and finished the second session with 2nd quickest time. More changes overnight and Van der Drift was the quickest on Friday with an unofficial lap record with his name on it. However the moment of truth was the thirty-five minute qualifying session on Saturday morning. Van der Drift posted quick times and seemed to have a good grid for the race that afternoon. However right at the end of the session some drivers were able to improve their times. As a result the kiwi driver fell to the 10th quickest time, four tenths of a second shy of the pole-position time. No less than twenty-five drivers were within one second of the fastest time. Van der Drifts second best lap time was good enough for 7th on the grid for Sunday's race.
Van der Drift : "Qualifying was a real problem as there were 38 cars on the track all at once with everyone trying to go as quickly as possible, so there was plenty of late-braking and stupid desperate acts which resulted in yellow flags on just about every lap. I slowed down every time I encountered a yellow flag -- as I thought you were supposed to -- and ended up dropping down the times to qualify tenth and seventh. Everyone else was going faster which normally is disallowed."
Race 1 -- Van der Drift did not remain on grid 10 for long. In the first lap the New Zealande r drove around the outside of two drivers at turn one, and passing another 3 drivers in the first lap found himself in position 5 at the end of the first lap. With Red Bull driver Edoardo Piscopo following, Van der Drift passed Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari and lay fourth. The Kiwi driver pressed on but was not quite able to close the gap to team-mate Kasper Andersen.
Race 2 -- Starting from grid 7, Van der Drift had another fantastic start and was running in fourth position at the end of lap one. However not for long. In the second lap he passed fellow New Zealander Brendon Hartley and this meant he was on the way for a podium finish. Two laps later Van der Drift passed Jaime Alguersuari, the Spaniard valiantly trying to defend his position, and then it was the job to try and catch the run-a-way Spaniard Dani Clos. Van der Drift was able to close the gap but to no avail. It was with great pleasure that he could take second place. But a surprise came after the race. The winning Spaniard was disqualified due to the technical non-compliance of his Formula Renault 2.0. The Kiwi driver was then elevated to first place, and his first Eurocup win.
Chris van der Drift : "In spite of not being satisfied with qualifying, I was able to improve on this in the races. During the second race I was able to close the gap to Dani Clos, but he was just too far in front for me to catch him. At the end it didn't matter as he was disqualified. With my fourth placing on Saturday and the win today I have been able to close the gap to the leaders. I am just two points behind Dani Clos. The next race-weekend is at the Nurburgring at the beginning of next month. At the end of May I was able to take away a win and two pole-positions there in the Northern European Championship, so it would be great if I could repeat that !
Thanks to my team, especially my mechanic Alberto and my engineer Roberto."
-Chris van der Drift