Double header weekend for Team Holland with Junior Strous and Dominick Muermans in the Atlantic Championship in Road America (USA) Free testing and qualifying for race 1 On the legendary circuit of Road America in Elkhart Lake (Wisconsin, ...
Double header weekend for Team Holland with Junior Strous and Dominick Muermans in the Atlantic Championship in Road America (USA)
Free testing and qualifying for race 1
On the legendary circuit of Road America in Elkhart Lake (Wisconsin, USA) on Wednesday (6/8) during one of the test sessions of the Atlantic Championship, Dominick Muermans went off in a quick right hand corner and hit a tyre wall. "A little bit too fast on the curbstones and I was the passenger", said Dominick, "the car spun and I hit the tyrewall." Later it showed he was doing 185 km.
Luckily for Dominick, Thursday was a day off and he could rest his injured foot and was ok again for the Friday qualifying.
The qualifying period for race 1 was very short, only 35 minutes, for this long circuit (4,048 miles) and both Junior Strous and Dominick Muermans had problems with the set up of their Atlantic cars.
Car # 6 Junior Strous (7th place): "The circuit was very different from Wednesday. Then the car was very nervous and horrible to drive. After free practice the mechanics changed the set up and it felt a lot better. During qualifying I had two realy bad laps, I wanted to slipstream but it just wasn't working as the drivers in front of me slowed down. But after that I realy improved. Unfortunately I was one of the first to get the chequered flag (in my fastest lap) while others could still finish their lap so I went from 4th to 7th. But that's racing. I look forward to the race tomorrow."
Car # 9 Dominick Muermans (18th place): "I had a 5th gear which was not working as it should. On this circuit you can gain half a second with slipstreaming and you'll be 8th or 9th, now I am 18th. It is very close racing in the Atlantics, you'll find that nowhere else in the world. It is going to be hard tomorrow but I will go for a top 10 finish."
Race 1 report
Straight after the start Junior Strous immediately moved up to 4th position. Dominick Muermans' start was near perfect, he overtook 4 cars.
In the first lap two other drivers caused the first safety car period. After the restart a small group took the lead with Junior in 4th position while Dominick moved into the top 10.
After the restart of a second safety car period, Junior's car developed several problems. On Friday the mechanics had put in a new Mazda Cosworth engine, but this one seemed to have less power. On the long straights Strous got passed and he had to make it up in the corners. But there was no way Strous was able to continue to defend his fourth position. He dropped back to ninth position.
Dominick Muermans drove a great race and could have reached a top 6 position if not for Morad who hit him and pushed the car of the track which caused the tyre to deflate. Dominick came into the pits for a new tyre but lost a top 10 finish.
Car # 6 Junior Strous (8th place): "The car was realy bad. Because of a few daring tactics I moved up to fourth place but on the straights other cars were faster and I got passed by a couple of cars. I could no longer defend my position. This is no good, but there is another race tomorrow and I will realy go for it. I am now 4th in the championship but I need more points to move up into the top 3."
Car # 9 Dominick Muermans (16th place): "I had a great start and gained a lot of places. The car was very good and my confidence was growing per lap. I moved into the top 10 and felt great. I took a lot of chances when all of a sudden I got hit by Morad. My front right tyre got hit and quickly deflated. In the pits my mechanics did a great job changing the tryre very quickly but I could not make up the lost places."
Race 2 report
Another beautiful raceday in Wisconsin. Before race 2 the mechanics of Junior Strous had a lot of work to do to find the problems with his car. Late at night the problem was found and it turned out to be a small tear in the front suspension which could have led to dangerous situations during the race.
Strous was very happy with the car in warm up. He said: "At last a good car, very balanced. I am happy they have found the problem because you start doubting yourself." He proved it with being second in the warm up session.
Strous knew he had to start from 12th position and prepared himself for a hard race. Straight after the start he gained one position and it was the beginning of a very exiting slipstream race. Dominick Muermans made great progress moving up in the field.
The spectators loved the action and after a few off's and a safety car period, Strous had moved up to 7th place and Dominick Muermans to 11th. But lots of overtaking actions and fights to gain places began to take tole on the tyres.
A group of cars including Dominick Muermans saw some thrilling action. Unfortunately Condor team mate Douglas Soares hit Muermans which resulted in a damaged front suspension for Muermans who could continue the race but with a difficult to drive car. Junior Strous lost some places after contact with Morad and finished 11th.
Car # 6 Junior Strous (11th place): "I got hit by Morad who seemed to steer straight into me. The tyres lost their grip and I lost some of the places I had fought hard for. It was a great race, but not for the result. My car was good in the beginning but with but a lot of wear and tear it was difficult to keep up."
Car # 9 Dominick Muermans (16th place): "I am very angry with Douglas Soares, my Condor Motorsports team mate. This hotheaded Brasilian did not let me pass while I was a lot faster. I chased him for three laps and once I passed him he tried to outbreak me and hit me. My steering got damaged and the car became very difficult to drive. I could finish the race but not with the result I was hoping for."
Team Holland is now on its way to the next race on Sunday the 17th of August, in Trois Riviere in Canada.