Chris van der Drift convincing 2007 vice champion International Formula Master
Chris van der Drift confirmed his runner-up position in the 2007 International Formula Master championship over the weekend at the Italian circuit of Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Despite having to contend with motor problems, the 21-year old drove brilliantly in both the weekends races including a hard fought for third placed finish, and podium position, in the last race. Van der Drift was also instrumental in gaining second place for his team JD Motorsport in the Teams Championship.
After gaining several championship titles in kartsport, 'rookie of the year' in the German Formula BMW championship and double runner-up positions in two extremely competitive European Formula Renault 2.0 series in 2006, Chris van der Drift moved with his team JD Motorsport to the newly created International Formula Master championship for 2007. Especially at the beginning of the season Van der Drift had to contend with problems with his race-car, often the result of which meant he had to fight from grid positions in the mid-field or worse in order to earn himself championship points, and in the process earning himself the nickname of overtaking specialist. Lost ground however was made up during the last three race weekends, with Van der Drift ultimately finishing the season with two victories and runner-up overall.
Van der Drift displayed his talent once again at Monza, with Friday testing times among the best, and in late Friday afternoon qualifying missed pole position by less than two tenths. His time was good for grid 4 for the first race to be held just after noon on Saturday. In race one though it became evident that niggling problems with his engine still existed, especially on the very important long straights of Monza, where Van der Drift lost too much track position to those in front and was continually threatened by those drivers behind him. However that being said he used his abilities to full advantage in the braking areas and the slower chicanes, the car handling very well in those conditions. After 13 laps of the 5.793km circuit and falling back into the clutches of those behind him, running in 7th place for a time, Van der Drift pulled off some nice passing moves to finally cross the finish line in fourth place, the same position he had started in.
The starting grid for the weekends second race was determined by the finish order of race one, with the first eight finishers being reversed. It meant then that Van der Drift would start in 5th position for race two, the final race of the 2007 season. As in many previous races, Van der Drift had a great start immediately picking up two positions, and during the following 18 laps fought within the top three for track position. Eventually the JD Motorsport driver passed the finish flag in third spot, a little over half a second behind the winner.
Chris van der Drift: "It was a great weekend to finish the season. During the year we had quite a number of problems with the car, but thankfully the last three weekends have been much better. This weekend I experienced a particular problem with my engine where I continually lost a lot of track position on the long straights here. My motor just didn't have the power on the straights that other cars had. That's really difficult on a circuit like Monza where slipstreaming is so important. In the corners I was able to make some of my losses up, so that stopped me falling off the pace too much. I am happy with my second place overall in the championship and pleased that I was able to help my team secure second place overall in the teams championship. I want to thank very much all the guys at JD Motorsport, my sponsors Valvoline, National Meats, Ekris and Momo. And of course also my manager Gianni Bianchi !"
Chris van der Drift is proud to be one of New Zealand motor racing's Black Bullets.