RAPID DE JONG TAKES MAIDEN EUROCUP FR 2.0 PODIUM AT MOTORLAND Dutch teenager Daniel De Jong helped MP Motorsport make an excellent start to the 2010 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Alcaniz, Spain, over the...
RAPID DE JONG TAKES MAIDEN EUROCUP FR 2.0 PODIUM AT MOTORLAND
Dutch teenager Daniel De Jong helped MP Motorsport make an excellent start to the 2010 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Alcaniz, Spain, over the weekend, 17th/18th April, by securing his maiden podium finish during a rain-affected first round of the year.
Ending the event fourth in the championship, the Westmaas-based driver could realistically have made it two podiums from the first pair of races but a puncture on the opening lap of round two ruled him out of contention. Pushing hard to recover after his enforced pit-stop, De Jong's pace was outstanding, lapping within a 10th of a second of the race two best to certainly prove a point.
MP Motorsport team-mates Karl-Oscar Liiv and Kalle Kulmanen also made good starts to their respective campaigns with 16-year-old Estonian Liiv coming through well to record a brace of solid, and very well deserved, points finishes -- sixth in round one and eighth in round two.
Kulmanen, making his competitive debut in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 this weekend, improved well over the course of the race meeting and the Finnish driver managed to take a best result of 13th place during round two -- backing up a fine top 15 result in the opening encounter.
"We're happy, of course, after a strong weekend but we should have really had two podiums if it wasn't for the problems for Dani0x00ebl in race two", said team manager Sander Dorsman, "He was so strong during practice and did a great job with his drive through to P2 in Saturday's race in really bad conditions. In race two, it was just bad luck as his pace was very fast. It's a pity -- c'est la vie!
"Karl-Oscar had some bad luck in qualifying but he performed very well in the races with two strong drives, we're certainly happy with those results as it's a strong start. Kalle improved more and more throughout the weekend, the best thing for him was to finish both races which he did well. Overall, we're pleased with our good start to the season -- it's always nice to start off with a podium."
MP Motorsport makes very strong start to 2010
The Oudenbosch-based squad started the weekend extremely well during collective testing on Friday, 16th April, with De Jong setting the pace in both sessions. Fastest in the morning with a time of 1m57.005 seconds (164.4km/h), the teenager was on top again during the afternoon with a best lap of 1m56.298 seconds (165.4km/h) -- the quickest ever at Motorland in an FR 2.0 car.
Qualifying on Saturday, 17th April, took place in very wet conditions with lap times some 15 seconds slower than during practice. De Jong was the fastest of the MP Motorsport drivers in seventh place, Liiv posted the 11th best time and Kulmanen qualified in 19th position.
Rain continued to fall at the Aragon track for the opening round on Saturday afternoon but De Jong revelled in the conditions and made a good start to move into the top four. As the race progressed, he started to get on terms with third placed Kevin Korjus and began to pressure his rival.
On lap seven though, contact between race leader Andre Negrao and second placed Arthur Pic allowed Korjus and De Jong to move into first and second place respectively, the MP Motorsport racer running strongly over the final five laps to take an excellent rostrum finish.
Liiv made a good start to climb from 11th into ninth position on lap one and quickly gained two more spots to hold seventh place. Slipping behind Luciano Bacheta on lap three, the Tallinn-based driver swiftly gained a place back at the expense of Miguel Otegui and then made his way into the top five.
With just a couple of laps remaining, Pic -- recovering after his contact with Negrao -- managed to get ahead of Liiv so the MP Motorsport youngster ended the race a nonetheless impressive sixth. Rookie team-mate Kulmanen produced a solid performance on his debut and finished in 15th position with lap times just a couple of seconds shy of front-running pace.
Speaking after such a positive beginning to the 2010 season, De Jong commented: "Starting from seventh position on the grid I really didn't expect to finish on the podium. The race saw plenty of action and I took advantage of that. This result confirms my good performance in collective testing."
For round two, De Jong lined up sixth on the grid by virtue of his second fastest time in qualifying with Liiv 14th quickest and Kulmanen 19th on the grid once again. Unfortunately for De Jong though, a bolt failure led to a puncture on the opening lap which enforced a pit-stop. Falling completely out of contention, he at least served notice of what might have been with the second fastest race lap.
Liiv performed impressively once again with a strong drive through into a superb top eight finish. Steadily moving up the order during the opening laps, by the seventh tour the Estonian was into the top 10 and a lap later he managed to break into eighth position where he stayed to the flag.
Ever-improving Kulmanen delivered another strong showing, learning with every lap and building his level of performance. Into 16th place by lap three, the championship newcomer held 15th position at mid-distance and gained another spot on lap 11 before moving into 13th on the final tour.
MP Motorsport now heads directly to Brno in the Czech Republic for the second event of the 2010 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup, the team's first appearance in the NEC this year, which will take place next weekend, 24th/25th April. Rounds three and four of Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, meanwhile, will follow a fortnight from now on 1st/2nd May at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
-source: mp motorsport