Robert Doornbos finishes into the point-zone a suffered weekend race, plagued by problems at his Mugen-Honda engine Robert Doornbos continued his challenge for the F3 Euro Series championship title this weekend at Le Mans double header. The...
Robert Doornbos finishes into the point-zone a suffered weekend race, plagued by problems at his Mugen-Honda engine
Robert Doornbos continued his challenge for the F3 Euro Series championship title this weekend at Le Mans double header. The young team Ghinzani driver suffered some engine problems at the start of race one and two, that lost him any real chance of a podium finish. The qualifying session of Saturday determined the line up for Sunday's race and qualifying session on Monday morning decided the starting grid for the afternoon race; Robert was twice in thirteen place and so the start was crucial.
For Race1 the Dutch driver qualified in 13th position after his qualifying session was disrupted by engine (electrical?) problems that did not allow him to better positioned his Dallara #16. After a clear start and some overtaking, Robert in the 2nd lap began to feel a strange noise at his Mugen-Honda recording a loss of power in the straights that penalized him of about 3 tents in this part of the Le Mans track and that forced him to retire. It is the first time on 10 races that Robert does not see the chequered flags. "The problems in qualifying were really frustrating for me because I could not record a quick lap time. I knew that it was penalizing for me to start from the 13th position on the grid, but I was confident we could solve the problem of my engine. Unfortunately I had the same problem during race1 so after 2 laps I enter the pit and come to the box where my team controlled the car. I had to retire because my engine was having a strong loss of power".
On Monday morning Robert Doornbos was very confident to regain the best top ten position in qualifying for Race2 but the Dutch 21 years old continued to trouble with the engine and he lined up in 7th row on the grid. Mugen-Honda engineers finally decided to change his engine in order to permit to Robert to engage in a fierce battle. After another good start Robert overtook 5 cars, pushed hard to catch position 6 and maintained his 7th position for 10 laps (on 18) when suddenly his car began to lack in power on the straights, again, making him loosing one position, but gaining 1 more point in the Driver's classification. "After a very difficult weekend finally I had my engine changed for race2. In fact at the green lights I could pass some cars and drive in 7th position for the first part of the race; I thought every problem was resolved when at lap 11 I had another lack of power and Kubica, who was behind me, passed me. I knew this race would had been difficult on an engine-point of view, but we have really to resolve this problem. Honda engineers are going to change my engine for the next Official test (Nurburgring, 31st July) and will make some updates that have been tested this weekend in England in the English F3 championship and which resulted productive with Alan Van der Merwe. In this test me and my team are also going to test some news on the car".
RACE 1: Robert Doornbos position DNF - qualified 13th
Rosberg, Klien, Briscoe, Pla, Premat, Carbone, Zuber, Winkelhock
RACE 2: Robert Doornbos position 8th -- qualified 13th
Klien, Carbone, Spengler,Auinger, Lapierre, Abadie, Kubica, DOORNBOS