Gwendolyn Hertzberger benefited from mistakes other competitors in Assen
ASSEN, JULY 22 2007 -- Gwendolyn Hertzberger can look back satisfied at the third round of the Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0 . At the TT-circuit of Assen, the fast lady of AR Motorsport managed to stay well out of trouble in two incident-packed races. In Saturday's race, Hertzberger even gained 11 positions on her way to finish in 16th spot. On Sunday a broken drive shaft halted her charge for another good result.
FREE PRACTISES AND QUALIFYING
The 4,555 kilometer long MotoGP circuit proved to be quite unforgiving for Gwendolyn Hertzberger already in the first free practise on Friday morning. After a small mistake, the 20-year old driver slightly brushed the barriers after which her pit crew had to repair her damaged suspension. Hertzberger lost out on some track time because of this, but managed to complete her programme later on in the session. The second practise session literally felt in the water after heavy showers hit the Dutch track. Hertzberger however took good use of this circumstances to work on her wet weather set-up and acclimatised to the track under this treacherous conditions.
In the early part of the first qualifying session, Hertzberger again had some sort of a moment when her car was catapulted into the air after hitting the kerbs in the Ramshoek corner too hard. Although she damaged her suspension again, the fast youngster continued her run and still managed to capture the 27th grid position for Saturday's race. The AR Motorsport mechanics did their utmost to repair the damage, but nevertheless couldn't prevent to limit Hertzberger's track time in the second timed session. For Sunday's race Hertzberger therefore eventually qualified in 29th and last position.
RACE 01 + 02
In the opening race on Saturday afternoon Gwendolyn stayed well out of trouble in an incident-packed 14 lap race. Already in the first lap several drivers collided, forcing the safety-car to be employed and neutralise the race for approximately eight minutes until all car s were removed from the track. Hertzberger kept her nerves in the final stages and won 11(!) positions from start to finish by driving smart. As expected, her 16th position at the finish line put smiles on everyone face within the team.
Also on Sunday morning Hertzberger shone. As rain began to fall only minutes before the start of the second race, Hertzberger decided to maximum warm up her tyres in order to get as much grip as possible on the slippery tarmac. A wise decision, as she could overtake many drivers in the first few opening laps again. At a drying track, Hertzberger found herself fighting for positions in the midfield against Pedro Nunes among others. After he had blocked her for several laps, Gwendolyn decides to take things in her own hand by forcing herself past the Brazilian driver. Unfortunately she couldn't enjoy her success for long as in the eighth lap her drive shaft broke, forcing her to retire on the spot.
GWENDOLYN HERTZBERGER: "I've enjoyed myself very much these two races. This was real close racing from start to finish. A pity I made that small mistake in qualifying, otherwise I think I could even have finished higher up the rankings. I'll be travelling to Zolder, where we will drive in the support programme of the Masters of Formula 3 in a fortnight, highly motivated. Hopefully I can put all things learned this weekend in practise there again!"