Henki Waldschmidt showed impressive form during the eigteenth edition of the RTP GP Masters of Formula 3. Unfortunately, his strong performance was not rewarded with a good result in the end. After having qualified fourteenth overall, the Dutch ...
Henki Waldschmidt showed impressive form during the eigteenth edition of the RTP GP Masters of Formula 3. Unfortunately, his strong performance was not rewarded with a good result in the end. After having qualified fourteenth overall, the Dutch rookie managed to fight himself forward to the eighth position during the 28 laps race. A shunt from behind by Richard Philippe spoiled the party for the dutch TDP-driver, who had a terrific race until then. That shunt left both Philippe and Waldschmidt stranded in the kitty-litter, ending what could have been a very fine result for the latter.
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Two collective tests were scheduled for Friday, both of which were primarily held under wet conditions. During the first session, Waldschmidt concentrated on finding the best setup for his car's performance over the entire weekend on the 4,011 metre long track. That search continued into the second session, which was scheduled to last an hour and a half. Besides that, Waldschmidt, driving with startnumber 26 for this weekend, also had to consider to spare his wet tyres, since he was only allocated three sets for the entire weekend. Due to the huge starting grid of 37 competitors, the qualification runs on Saturday were split, dividing the field into a session for even startnumbers and one for the odd statnumbers.
The Toyota Young Drivers Program (TDP) driver sortied with the even numbers and immediately managed to clock a quick time on the chronos. That provisionally placed him second on the grid and was followed by an even faster lap. After that it was a tossle between him and Jules Bianchi for the provisional pole, until Koudai Tsukakoshi dove under their laptimes. Waldschmidt planted his foot even further down, beating his Japanese opponent. In the closing stages of that session, several drivers managed to slip underneath his time, sending him down to eigth position. Still fast enough to secure him a place in the prime qualifying group though. In which Waldschmidt powered on with equal zeal as before. For a long time, that secured him fifth place on the starting grid. Unfortunately, his endstage qualifiying was spoilt by a red flag situation, caused by Dani Clos. Which meant that several drivers managed to dive under his time. In the end, the twenty year old driver had to settle for a fourteenth spot on the grid.
A the start of the racce on Sunday afternoon, Waldschmidt had a good start, but was hampered by the mayhem in the chaotic opening lap. He had to steer around the wreckages of Renger van der Zande and Tsukakoshi, throwing him back to sixteenth position overall. After those initial problems, Waldschmidt started on a steady overtaking streak. Within a couple of laps he secured twelfth place at the expense of Sam Bird. Now really getting into the groove, the SG Formula driver clocked the fastest time overall on the drying circuit in the tenth lap. That quickly brought him up on the tails of Edoardo Mortara and Jaime Alguersari. And subsequently past those two, storming into the top nine. His next target was Richard Philippe, who was passed by the Dutchman in the chicane. Then disaster struck. Philippe, trying to dive into a non-existing gap, hit Henki from behind. This resulted in them both spinning off the track into the kitty-litter. With his car beached there, Waldschmidt had to abandon the race with only thirteen more laps to go.
HENKI WALDSCHMIDT: Too bad of that hit by Philippe, else I could have finished within the top five. In all, I had a very good weekend. The speed was definitely there and I got better and better into my rhythym. Despite chaotic circumstances, I was able to push forward on the wet track. This promises many good things for the second half of the F3 Euroseries season. In preparation to that, we will test again at the circuit of Val de Vienne in France coming wednesday and thursday. After that, we will travel on towards Brands Hatch for the next race in the championship.