Neel Jani affected by technical problems Two podium places would have been within reach in the rain at Zandvoort The opening round of the season in the World Cup of Motorsport was dominated by the bad weather. The rain-soaked track at...
Neel Jani affected by technical problems
Two podium places would have been within reach in the rain at Zandvoort
The opening round of the season in the World Cup of Motorsport was dominated by the bad weather. The rain-soaked track at Zandvoort took the toll from several drivers. In the sprint, 11 of the 17 drivers who had started made it to the finish, while the feature race only had six drivers making it home. Both races had to be started behind the safety car.
The Swiss team wasn't a direct victim of the adverse conditions, but still had to make do with four points for finishing fifth in the sprint race. In the feature race, Neel Jani retired on lap five. The car, which was made available to Switzerland by Team Pakistan, had a good handling at the start of both races. In the morning, Jani only lost contact to the front runners in the closing stages. In the feature race, the gearbox electronics soon gave up.
"Both times I had a good start into the race after the safety car pulled in", Jani reported. "In the sprint, I was soon able to overtake some opponents and put New Zealand and The Netherlands under pressure. The more water there was on the track, the more difficulties I had with the car that started understeering more and more. Finally, I settled for fifth place."
In the morning, weather conditions already had become extraordinarily bad. Hardly any driver remained unaffected by minor or major incidents. For six drivers, the rain battle ended with an accident. Neel Jani didn't come out without his share of trouble either: on lap eight, he dropped back to fifth behind France after a driving error, soon after he had been overtaken by eventual race winner Malaysia in the battle for third.
Jani deliberately backed off in the opening stages of the feature race, but didn't drop back. Quite the contrary: there soon was a gap behind the fifth-placed Swiss. "But then, it suddenly was all over", Jani reported. "On lap four, the gearbox was stuck in fifth, probably because of electronic problems. When I recall it well, this was our first retirement for technical reasons."
Max Welti talked about "the end of the world", but with that, he referred to the weather rather than to the performance of his team in The Netherlands. "When I take a look at the results of both races, I come to the conclusion that we would have been able to finish on the podium twice had our car worked well. In the sprint, Neel suddenly became three seconds a lap slower. A possible explanation is the tyre pressure that dropped. The problem with the gearshift in the feature race was just bad luck. For 40 minutes, we tried to solve the problem in the pits to be able to drive some more laps, but we didn't find the problem."