Podium for quick Chris van der Drift at Spa-Francorchamps Spa Francorchamps, 14 May 2006. The Belgian circuit of Spa Francorchamps was the stage of the third and fourth rounds of the 2006 NEC Formula Renault 2.0 championship. Once again Chris...
Podium for quick Chris van der Drift at Spa-Francorchamps
Spa Francorchamps, 14 May 2006. The Belgian circuit of Spa Francorchamps was the stage of the third and fourth rounds of the 2006 NEC Formula Renault 2.0 championship. Once again Chris van der Drift showed the speed he has now become renowned for. However not everything ran perfectly. Although Van der Drift started from 12th position in race one and grabbed the last podium place in that race, he made a mistake (on pole) at the start of race 2 that resulted in a drive through penalty. However that aside he took the fastest lap in the race, testifying to the outright speed the Kiwi driver has.
Just as at previous events of both the NEC and Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 events Van der Drift was near the top of the times in free training, in both the first and the second sessions in the top three. During a rainy qualification on Saturday morning Van der Drift had some problems with the set-up of his race car and could not manage better than 12th fastest and therefore grid 12 for race one. The second qualifying session followed ten minutes later. Once Van der Drift was able to talk with his engineer the setup of the car was changed, and the second session was a vast improvement on the first. The Kiwi driver took pole position for Sunday's race by over 6/10th of a second quicker than Red Bull rival Filipe Albuquerque.
The first race of the weekend was held on Saturday afternoon as a support class to the Le Mans series. In spite of the changeable circumstances the New Zealander had a great start from grid 12 grabbing 2 places in atrocious wet weather conditions before the famous Eau Rouge and a further 4 positions to be lying 6th at the end of the first lap ! Lying in sixth place Van der Drift found he could get past 3 other drivers over the next 10 laps, including his Portuguese rival Albuquerque at the top of Eau Rouge, giving him a 3rd place podium finish. With pole-position his for race two, everything looked to be 'on-track' and Van der Drift hoped to convert his start p osition into a victory. However before the start lights were extinguished, the JD Motorsport driver's car rolled fractionally and he was given a drive-through penalty. This effectively ruined the Kiwi's chances of a top class finish. Despite this setback he again showed that there was nothing wrong with his race-pace and seized the fastest race lap by over a second in his run back through the field to finish 10th.
Chris van der Drift: "This is really disappointing. I had an extremely good chance at winning the race as I felt that I was quicker than anyone on the track! Before the start of the second race my car rolled very slightly and I later got a drive through penalty. If anyone knows Spa the start is on a downhill section of track before the uphill Eau Rouge. Unfortunately it is an added complication when you are facing the start lights on pole. I would rather think back on my first race. As I could only manage 12th fastest in the first qualifying session, I had to start from that position. The first lap was great. After that lap I was in 6th position and after another 10 laps I found myself in 3rd, and a podium. I am looking forward to Nurburgring in two weeks time. I haven't had a lot of good results there in years previous but thanks to my team JD Motorsport we are quick wherever we go. Therefore I have to believe that that will change!"
The following race event on the calendar is the NEC Formula Renault 2.0 weekend from 26 to 28 May on the German circuit of Nurburgring. Following a week later is the Kiwi's 'home race' at Zandvoort, Holland.