Chris van der Drift quickly on the pace at unknown circuit The Portuguese circuit of Estoril was the venue for the second official 2 day International Formula Master test during the past week, in preparation for a race weekend at the circuit on...
Chris van der Drift quickly on the pace at unknown circuit
The Portuguese circuit of Estoril was the venue for the second official 2 day International Formula Master test during the past week, in preparation for a race weekend at the circuit on 11-13 July. Chris van der Drift (22), testing with the Italian team of JD Motorsport, was again in great form and left behind, as he did at Monza, a strong impression. Despite the circuit being entirely new to the talented driver he started the test strongly and finished both days in the top of the results.
The first day began with software problems associated with the cars gearbox, but once these were resolved Van der Drift was able to complete some laps and by the end of the morning's session achieved, on old tyres, the third quickest lap of the 25 drivers testing. As the day progressed the circuit became gradually warmer in the sunny conditions. After the lunch break the circuit proved to be some 60deg Celsius and as a result of this it was no longer possible to achieve similar times as in the morning session. At the end of the day the circuit had indeed cooled down somewhat, yet the asphalt temperature was some twelve degrees higher than in the morning. It was at that point that Van der Drift took to the track with a new set of tyres, lowering his morning's quickest lap by 4/10's of a second, and gaining in the process the quickest time of the afternoon session.
"As it was so hot in the afternoon, we worked on testing various setups rather than on lap times. This will be useful data for us when we race here later in the year." Van der Drift commented. Van der Drift began the second day on a further set of new tyres, ultimately completing the morning's test session with fourth quickest lap, 2/10th's from the best time. However, new problems developed in the gearbox's electronics and had an effect on those times. Changing down in the gears proved to be difficult, resulting in time lost. In the afternoon session Van der Drift exchanged cars with his Russian team-mate, Sergey Afanasiev, who had been experiencing even more problems than Van der Drift had had, in an effort to locate and resolve the problems in that car. Van der Drift extensively tested each change made to the car, discussing these with the team each time he came into the pit for a setup change. Eventually it was determined that the problem was of an electronic nature.
Chris van der Drift: "The test went really well. I am left with a good feeling, particularly as I have never driven on this circuit, and still managed some of the fastest times. There was more speed to be had in the car if we had gone onto the circuit at the right time with new tyres. In the afternoon the asphalt temperature rose quite significantly so there really was no point in trying for quick lap times. I've also been able to help my team-mate, and hopefully I have been some use to the team in isolating the problem with his car."