Chris van der Drift impressive in Hungary, rewarded with points HUNGARORING, 14 June 2009 -- After a race weekend that started badly, ended with Chris van der Drift earning valuable points in the feature race held today at the Hungaroring. The...
Chris van der Drift impressive in Hungary, rewarded with points
HUNGARORING, 14 June 2009 -- After a race weekend that started badly, ended with Chris van der Drift earning valuable points in the feature race held today at the Hungaroring. The 23 year old New Zealander was also rewarded with one point in the first race of the Hungarian round of the World Series by Renault 3.5, by passing the most competitors during the race. In the second race, despite a bent steering arm, he drove to a great fourth place finish, thanks in great part to the quick pitstop given Van der Drift by his team Epsilon Euskadi.
It was very clear in the first Friday test session that the Kiwi's speed on the Hungaroring was wanting. Both Van der Drift and his experienced team-mate Adrian Valles had difficulty in matching the lap times by their fellow competitors. During qualifying it was evident that the Kiwi could not show his true potential with an eventual start position in the rear of the field. "Every lap in the car seemed to feel faster, but when I saw my times it was very discouraging. We had really tried everything but we couldn't isolate a problem. I think this was my worst qualification ever", said Van der Drift.
Grid 23 was clearly not the place the current International Formula Master champion wanted to be in. After a good start to race one the Kiwi had made up a number of positions and was able to stay with the cars ahead of him. Eventually a 13th place in the race was the maximum Van der Drift could achieve, also receiving a bonus championship point as he had made up most positions in the field. Team-mate Valles, a former Spyker F1-test driver, passed the finish line in 16th position.
The hectic second race, with many safety car phases, brought more fortune for the Kiwi. In the chaotic first lap however the New Zealander damaged his front wing and bent a steering arm. "There was a lot of pressure in the first lap. Adrian Zaugg missed the chicane and when he came back on the track I managed to just avoid hitting him directly, but damaging the front wing, and also bent a steering arm as it turns out. I lost my front left wing a bit later. Thanks to a great pitstop by my team, I got a new front wing and had my two front tyres changed as my compulsory pitstop on lap 6. I had to live with the bent steering arm; nothing could be done about that. The race speed appeared to be good, as the difference didn't seem so big. We just need to find a solution for our qualifying speed" concluded Van der Drift. "In addition I would like to thank the team enormously for their faith in me".
The following World Series by Renault races are scheduled for the weekend of 3 to 5 July at the English circuit of Silverstone.