Chris van der Drift wins Formula 1 test with the Honda Racing F1 team "Fantastic !" Monza, -- Kiwi driver Chris van der Drift can hardly believe it. In today's race Van der Drift secured the title of 2008 International Formula Master champion...
Chris van der Drift wins Formula 1 test with the Honda Racing F1 team
Monza, -- Kiwi driver Chris van der Drift can hardly believe it. In today's race Van der Drift secured the title of 2008 International Formula Master champion by ending on the podium with a second placed finish. As major prize the New Zealander has won a test day with the Honda Racing F1 team. "This was a great year with fabulous results thanks to the terrific work done by the team and the support of my manager, family and sponsors. I can hardly believe it", said Van der Drift.
Friday's qualifying session was very chaotic; however the Kiwi scored his seventh pole position for the season, out of the eight in total. "It was a real mess. In the beginning of the session I concentrated in setting a good time as there was a real threat of rain", said Van der Drift. "It did begin to rain lightly and shortly after the session was red-flagged. With 27 cars on the circuit it was difficult to find some clear air and with another red flag right at the end of the session I found it impossible to set any faster times. However there was one advantage as I had saved a set of new tyres".
The Monza circuit is known by the Formula Master teams for its slipstreaming. At the start of the race the Racing Pool supported driver defended his pole position, but got no chance of extending his lead as there was a huge crash involving three cars in turn two. A safety car period followed for two laps while the damaged cars were removed. At the restart Fabio Leimer was able to use the slip stream to best effect and was able to pull out before turn one and pass the Kiwi driver. "It is virtually impossible at such a restart to keep the lead. It doesn't matter how much of a gap you have, as the driver behind you is able to use the slip stream and the long front straight to catch and pass the car in front. I was able to pass Fabio in the same way after the second safety car period, and he was able to do the same after the third safety car phase", explained Van der Drift. Other drivers in the highly competitive field didn't give each other much room evidenced by the many accident damaged cars and the three safety car phases. After the last race restart the New Zealander had two laps in which to retake the lead. The JD Motorsport driver was all over the back of Leimer's car and in every corner sat just on the outside of his rival waiting for an opportunity. That opportunity however, to convert second place into the lead, didn't come despite the sensational overtaking efforts. Van der Drift finally finished a close second, and the 2008 champion. In addition the Kiwi once again took the fastest race lap in the process.
"I am so happy with this result and I really can't believe that I am finally champion" said Van der Drift, who thanks to this result has won a test with the Honda Racing F1 team. "This has been an incredible season. I've had a fantastic relationship with the guys at my team JD Motorsport and had great support from my managers, and I'd like to thank them very much! We have had a quick car all season and that resulted in seven pole positions out of the eight possible; a record which won't be equaled in a hurry. Without the pressure I can now go into the race tomorrow without worrying about the championship, and I'm hoping to finish off my Formula Master season in style!"