MP MOTORSPORT REFLECTS ON STRONG START TO 2010 After three demanding back-to-back weekends of race action in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup, front-running team MP Motorsport now has a four week...
MP MOTORSPORT REFLECTS ON STRONG START TO 2010
After three demanding back-to-back weekends of race action in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup, front-running team MP Motorsport now has a four week break in which to reflect on an excellent start to the 2010 motorsport season.
Starting the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 campaign tremendously well at Motorland Aragon in Spain in mid-April with a debut podium finish for Dutchman Daniel De Jong, MP Motorsport immediately headed to Brno in the Czech Republic for its first appearance in Formula Renault NEC, the third and fourth rounds of the championship.
Once again, De Jong was in fantastic form and after a lengthy 2,000km drive from the previous event -- due to the restrictions placed on European flights because of the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud -- he visited the podium once again during the second of the weekend's races.
De Jong and team-mates Karl-Oscar Liiv and Kalle Kulmanen all started the Brno event well in testing and during qualifying it was the Dutch driver who led the way for MP Motorsport with the second fastest time and a prime spot on the front row. Kulmanen impressed with by far his best effort of the year in 15th position on the timesheets while Liiv was just three 10ths of a second further adrift.
In race one, De Jong ran comfortably in second place right on the tail of pole-sitter Kevin Korjus but a mechanical problem forced him to pit. Although eventually returning to the track, he ended the race three laps down on the leaders.
Estonian Liiv produced a strong race by climbing into 11th position, just a second outside the top 10, while Kulmanen's great qualifying run couldn't be capitalised on when difficulty getting away from the grid led to contact with German driver Craig Reiff.
Round four was much more fruitful for De Jong, a problem-free race leading to a very competitive second place finish behind Korjus -- just nine 10ths of a second splitting the pair at the finish. The teenager's pace was confirmed with the fastest lap of 1m56.597 seconds (166.821km/h).
Liiv made it two MP Motorsport cars in the top eight with another good drive while Kulmanen recorded a solid 17th place finish some 3.3 seconds ahead of his closest pursuer.
Commenting on the Brno weekend, team manager Sander Dorsman said: "It was a tough journey across Europe from Spain with no flights available but to come away from Brno with a podium for Daniel and some good performances by Karl-Oscar and Kalle made everything worthwhile."
Qualifying difficulties set the tone at Spa-Francorchamps Heading to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium this past weekend, 1st/2nd May, for the second event of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season, MP Motorsport had high hopes for the race meeting closest to its team base in The Netherlands.
Qualifying turned out to be difficult with De Jong recording the 12th fastest time, Liiv 16th quickest and Kulmanen 23rd on the timesheets. Each driver's consistency though enabled De Jong to secure the seventh fastest second best time for the race two grid with Liiv 14th quickest and Kulmanen 23rd.
Unfortunately for De Jong, he was caught-up in an opening lap accident during the first encounter which involved a total of seven cars so he ended the race in an uncharacteristic 17th place. On the flipside, Liiv put together an excellent drive and gained eight positions on his starting slot to finish inside the top eight. Kulmanen's first experience of Spa sadly ended in retirement on lap six.
Race two took place in damp conditions with De Jong racing through to seventh position, right on the tail of the top six, while Liiv again impressed with his second points scoring result of the weekend in 10th place. Kulmanen rounded out the runners in 17th but the young Finnish racer unfortunately had problems with an electrical-related engine issue.
"Unfortunately we had a bad qualifying for Daniel and Karl which really put us on the back-foot for the whole weekend," said Dorsman, "Karl, in particular, impressed in the races with some very good battles and he gained a lot of places."
After the first four races of Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, MP Motorsport is third in the team championship standings with 26 points, just seven points shy of second place. In the drivers title race De Jong is fourth but tied on 16 points with third placed Jukka Honkavuori and Liiv is 13th but part of a three-way tie on 10 points with 11th placed Andre Negrao and 12th placed Bart Hylkema.
Rounds five and six of the 2010 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season will take place at Brno in the Czech Republic just over four weeks from now over the weekend 5th/6th June.