Nogaro, France - The first race of the 2002 FFSA Formula Renault Championship has not started well for Dan as mechanical problems before the Saturday qualifying session became apparent as the team got the car ready for the morning warm-up session.
Nogaro, France - The first race of the 2002 FFSA Formula Renault Championship has not started well for Dan as mechanical problems before the Saturday qualifying session became apparent as the team got the car ready for the morning warm-up session. An electrical problem became evident as they attempted to start the car and it wouldn't fire up. After considerable time, the engine finally came to life but too late to get in any serious track time during the short session. It would be left to the qualifying session to try to gain the extra time that was obviously still in the car and in Dan after Friday's practice.
On Friday, Dan was on the pace and headed both of his team-mates on the time sheets with a 1:26.00 lap time which was good for thirteenth position overall. The car was good and the team was very pleased with the result but everyone felt that there was more time to be gained. At the end of the day, it was decided to change first and second gears in Dan's car before the Saturday sessions. This was only a precautionary repair that the team felt was needed to ensure a good performance come qualifying and the race. Unfortunately, something went wrong and the electrical gremlins crept in to spoil the day.
After coaxing the engine to life, Dan made the best of a very difficult situation. The engine was cutting in and out all around the circuit and was making it extremely difficult for Dan to drive it let alone keep it on the track. Also, the dash display was not correctly indicating the gear that had been selected and at times was even showing that the car was in reverse when in fact it was in either first or second gears. In the end Dan managed to put in a 1:27.384 lap time, quite an achievement considering the circumstances. Unfortunately, this means though that Dan will have to run in the "B" race on Sunday as he was only the 28th fastest of the forty-six cars present. With the large number of entries for the event, the top twenty-five would make the "A" race to be run on Monday. Needless to say, Dan was very upset and angry at the outcome from qualifying. With his time from Friday, he would have qualified eighth for the race, and probably even further up the grid as the team were sure that he could have improved on his Friday time.
There was good news though for the HEXIS Racing Team as the performance of team-mate Philippe Dumas captured the pole for Monday's race with a time of 1:25.295. This time was only 0.705 seconds faster than Dan's time from practice. Rounding out the top of the grid are Alexandre Premat in second, Nicolas Armindo in third, and reigning champion Eric Salignon in fourth.
The only hope for the weekend now is that Dan do as well as he can and win the "B" race on Sunday. It is not sure whether the top finishers from the "B" race will be allowed to start in the "A" race on Monday at this time but it is hoped that this will in fact be the case. The full race report will be posted as soon as the information becomes available.