EU 2.0: Chris van der Drift Zolder race notes

Chris van der Drift exceptionally fast at Zolder ! Zolder, 1 May 2006 - Chris van der Drift has started his season in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup at the Belgian circuit of Zolder in a spectacular manner. The 20 year old New Zealander ...

Chris van der Drift exceptionally fast at Zolder !

Zolder, 1 May 2006 - Chris van der Drift has started his season in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup at the Belgian circuit of Zolder in a spectacular manner. The 20 year old New Zealander immediately took 2nd place in the first race of the weekend. During the second race Van der Drift was very quick, but after problems early in the race he finished in twentieth position. In spite of the fact that this was only the second race weekend with the car, Van der Drift had managed to claim his first Eurocup podium!

During the test sessions on Thursday and Friday it was clear. Van der Drift felt at home by his team JD Motorsport and with the circuit. In two of the three test sessions preceding Saturdays qualifying he posted the fastest times. In the second test session he fell short by only 25/1000th of a second to Dani Clos. The first qualifying session of the Eurocup season was held late on Saturday morning. Just as at the earlier test session's provisional pole-position was in Van der Drift hands late in the 40 minute qualifying session. However pole position was taken in the dying stages by the current leader of the French Formula Renault 2.0 championship, Laurent Groppi.

Chris van der Drift : I was immediately fast and that made it all a bit easier. In the remaining two sessions we could experiment with several set-ups to see if we could get still more from the car. During qualifying we have six laps to go quick, but three to four of these are used to warm up. You've also got to have some luck that you don't have any of the slower competitors in front of you. Eventually I drove my fastest time in my last lap and that gave me the second spot on the grid. I was quite happy with that as I knew that I could go quicker !

Starting from the first row in only his third race in a Formula Renault 2.0 car, Van der Drift promptly converted his start position into a podium finish. At the start Van der Drift immediately devastated his French antagonist and took the lead. After ten laps however Groppi was able to retake the lead in turn one. Van der Drift kept 2nd position until the checkered flag. The fastest lap of the first race dictates the start order of race two. This meant a grid four start position for the Kiwi driver. Directly at the start of race 2, Van der Drift gained 3rd position, however contact with the car beside him cost him two places. A couple of laps later he had contact with the driver in 5th spot whom he had just passed, costing much time. Eventually Van der Drift finished in 20th position after a storming drive from the rear of the 37 car field.

Chris van der Drift : After I had taken the lead in the first race I experienced a slight mechanical problem about 5 laps into the race and I lost the lead I had built up. I found it a pity, but there was nothing I could do differently. The second race didn't go as well. I had a good start taking up third, but I then had a little contact which meant I lost two places. A couple of laps later I was tapped off the track which cost me a lot of time. It's a pity as I would have been interested what the outcome might have been if I was able to remain near the front of the field. I am really satisfied as I have shown what I am capable of. Once again the team has given me a great car. I am looking forward to the following races!

The next event on the calendar is the NEC Formula Renault 2.0 Championship on 12-14 May at the Belgian circuit Spa Francorchamps.

-www.vandymotorsport.com

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Chris van der Drift , Laurent Groppi , Dani Clos