HENKI WALDSCHMIDT JUST MISSES OUT ON PODIUM FINISH AT HOCKENHEIM HOCKENHEIM, JULY 09 2006 - Henki Waldschmidt showed an impressive and promising pace during this weekend's fifth round of the Italian Formula Renault 2.0 championship at the ...
HENKI WALDSCHMIDT JUST MISSES OUT ON PODIUM FINISH AT HOCKENHEIM
HOCKENHEIM, JULY 09 2006 - Henki Waldschmidt showed an impressive and promising pace during this weekend's fifth round of the Italian Formula Renault 2.0 championship at the Hockenheim Grand Prix circuit. The young driver, who has been admitted to the 'Toyota Young Drivers Programme' (TDP), qualified himself twice in seventh position for both races. After he just missed out on a possible podium finish, Henki bounced back on Sunday morning by finishing in eighth position.
FREE PRACTISES + QUALIFYING:
As there was a serious chance of rainfall, all 31 drivers immediately came into action once the first Free Practise session got started on Friday morning. Due to braking problems, Henki was forced to take it easy in the first session. While the clouds above the 4574 meter long Hockenheimring were getting darker every minute, Waldschmidt's Prema Powerteam decided not to use a new set of tyres in the second session, leaving Henki to finish in the midfield. In a wet third session, Henki climbed up to a position in the top 6, but as he didn't run in the last couple of minutes at the drying track, he felt back to 16th position.
To make sure he would have some traffic-free laps, Waldschmidt was eager to go out as soon as the lights went green in the 30 minutes lasting qualifying session. A wise decision, as the only Dutchman in this Italian championship immediately set some fast laptimes which handed him P7 on the startgrid for both races.
RACE 01 + 02:
Slicks or full wets? That was the big question just ahead of Saturday's opening race. While the track was still wet after some heavy showers, the sun already started to shine above the track that hosts the German F1 GP every year at the end of this month. Together with 29 nother drivers Waldschmidt opted for full wets minutes before the start of the race. In only a couple of laps he climbed up from seventh to third position. In a direct fight for third position with Edoardo Mortaro, the only driver on slicks, Henki damaged his front suspension. Therefore he had no choice but to retire on the spot in the closing stages of this 14-lap race. A bitter shame as Mortaro was given a 30 seconds penalty after the race for an illegal tyre change at the grid.
After having enjoyed a strong start from P7 on Sunday morning, Waldschmidt joined a group of eight drivers who were all fighting for the lead. Because everyone was driving comparable laptimes to eachother, Henki unfortunately saw no chance to move up. Despite several attempts, in which he even damaged his suspension, Waldschmidt finally took the chequered flag in eighth position.
HENKI WALDSCHMIDT: "I really enjoyed this weekend. Hockenheim is a supercircuit which provided megacompetitive races. It's a bit of a shame the track dried up that quick on Saturday afternoon, otherwise I would have finished on the podium! But also today I enjoyed a strong race in which I fought for positions all the way, but lost two positions in the final lap as I was somewhat too enthusiastic. A pity the results do not really represent our competitiveness, as the car was really good. Next week, I'll be in Misano for the third round of the Eurocup races, in which I hope I can repeat this level of competitiveness!"