Pla Takes His First Formula BMW Europe Win for DAMS. Valencia, 22 August 2009. It was not only the temperatures that were hot in Valencia for round 11 of Formula BMW Europe, but it was the pace of the competition that saw places swapped all the...
Pla Takes His First Formula BMW Europe Win for DAMS.
Valencia, 22 August 2009. It was not only the temperatures that were hot in Valencia for round 11 of Formula BMW Europe, but it was the pace of the competition that saw places swapped all the way down the field and Jim Pla (FR/DAMS) take his very first win in the series. He was followed home by championship leader, Felipe Nasr (BR/Eurointernational), while third was Robin Frijns (NL/Josef Kaufmann Racing).
The action started a few corners into the race when the slightest of touches between Jack Harvey (GB/Fortec Motorsport) and Jazeman Jaafar (MY/Eifelland Racing) sent the Malaysian into the tyre barrier. He was subsequently hit from behind by Cô me Ledogar (FR/DAMS) with Antonio Martinez (ES/Forec Motorsport) narrowly missing running into the back of them. Then Gregoire Demoustier (FR/Rä ikkonen Robertson Racing) spun off and when coming back on the track collided with Martinez. For this second incident the Safety Car was deployed for a lap to remove the stricken cars.
At the end of the first lap it was polesitter Michael Christensen (DK/Mü cke Motorsport) who crossed the line first, although he was not classified as he is running under appeal. He was closely followed by Nasr and Pla, and this was a battle that raged until the end of the ten lap race, with all of them leading the race at some point and lap five being particularly exciting as the lead changed several times over the 5.440 kilometres. On two occasions the gap between the leading cars as they came over the start/finish line was 0.0 seconds!
Frijns started fifth and kept that position behind Daniel Juncadella (ES/Eurointernational) until the end of lap four when Javier Tarancon (ES/DAMS) managed to get by him. However, after a determined race right behind the two Spaniards he managed to get by both of them on the final lap. On the way he also had a collision with Timmy Hansen (SE/Mücke Motorsport) on lap four which saw the Swede spin off and drop down from sixth to 12th. On the same lap Oliver Lombard (FR/Eurointernational) and guest driver, Fahmi Ilyas (MY/Motaworld Racing Europe Ltd) also had a collision while fighting for 11th with Lombard retiring and Ilyas ending up in the pits for repairs.
Kazeem Manzur (GB/Josef Kaufmann Racing) was also in the wars, after a collision with William Buller (GB/Fortec Motorsport) on lap seven. Manzur was the one who came off worst with a broken front wing and a visit to the pits.
1st - Round 11: Jim Pla (FR/DAMS): "I made a good start but on the first lap I tried to overtake Michael Christensen so I went off the track. After that it was very difficult to keep in front as he was very fast. He overtook me in the middle of the race. After that I just pushed and pushed and am very happy with the result. The track was a bit dirty so it was difficult to keep the car on the line. On the last lap when my team manager told me I could win I tried to push and then when I saw Felipe Nasr make a mistake the pressure was off me as I was alone on the track."
2nd - Round 11: Felipe Nasr (BR/Eurointernational): "It was a very tough race, especially as it was so hot here. I don't think you can imagine exactly what it is like in the car. In the top three we were changing positions all the time. I am thinking about the championship and I am very focused on doing a good race tomorrow. We always like to win, but sometimes you have to be lucky too. That was a very good race with a lot of overtaking."
3rd - Round 11: Robin Frijns (NL/Josef Kaufmann Racing: ""It was quite hard, especially in the first few laps. When I was behind Daniel Juncadella on the second lap I locked up my tyre very badly and had a lot of vibrations. Then Timmy Hansen came by on the straight. I don't know what happened as he braked late and I braked late, we touched, he spun and Javier Tarancon got by. I was quite a lot faster than him but could not overtake him because of that tyre making me brake earlier each time. However, I got by both of them on the last lap."