Kiwi driver claims the lead in Formula Renault Eurocup Championship Nurburgring, Germany, 06 August 2006 - A successful weekend for New Zealand driver Chris van der Drift has moved him into the lead of the fiercely competitive Formula Renault ...
Kiwi driver claims the lead in Formula Renault Eurocup Championship
Nurburgring, Germany, 06 August 2006 - A successful weekend for New Zealand driver Chris van der Drift has moved him into the lead of the fiercely competitive Formula Renault Eurocup Championship. Right at the start of Friday's free practice the Kiwi was quick, finishing the morning's session quickest and third in the afternoon's very wet session. Not a bad effort in a field of 39 cars!
Finishing in third place in both the weekends races, and in front of the previous championship leader Dani Clos, resulted in Van der Drift taking the overall lead in the championship by 2 points.
The single qualifying session, out of which each drivers best two lap times are taken to determine the grids for the weekends two races, was held late morning on Saturday in overcast and cold, yet dry, conditions. The set-up for the Kiwi's car had been returned to a dry set-up, and some small changes had been introduced for the colder conditions. However the changes didn't have the desired effect, and qualifying finished with Van der Drift taking grid four for Saturday's first race, and fifth for Sunday's race.
In the first lap of the first race Van der Drift was able the pass grid three qualifier, and JD Motorsport team-mate, Kasper Andersen and he then proceeded to try to chase down the leading duo of Filipe Albuquerque and Laurent Groppi. Despite an attempted pass in turn one half way through the race by fourth positioned Clos, the Kiwi eventually had to be content with third position at the checkered flag.
Starting from grid five in the second race the New Zealander was immediately able to overtake grid four qualifier Dani Clos, and came out of turn one in fourth position. Three laps later Van der Drift out-braked team-mate Andersen on the inside going into turn one, with a podium position now a distinct possibility. Clos passed Andersen five laps later for fourth position, and the Jenzer Motorsport driver set his sights on closing the gap to the Kiwi driver. To no avail as Van der Drift finished the race 9/10th second ahead.
Chris van der Drift: "My aim was to keep Dani Clos behind me in both races, and I achieved that. It's great that I am now the leader in the championship by two points. From the beginning of the weekend we had the speed, just a shame that the small changes in the car's set-up didn't quite work out for qualifying, and I couldn't manage any better. We have had two good races with two podiums. But we must work hard now for the coming races, and then we'll see what happens. And thanks to my team for all the hard work, especially my mechanic Alberto and my engineer Roberto."
Van der Drift now travels to the Swedish circuit of Anderstorp for the 13th & 14th rounds of the Formula Renault Northern European Championship next weekend, 11-13 August. With a three point advantage in this championship, Van der Drift's aim is to defend his lead.