Chris van der Drift on the heels of his opposition at Oschersleben Oschersleben 2 July 2006 -- The ninth and tenth rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Championship were held at Motopark Oschersleben in Germany over the past ...
Chris van der Drift on the heels of his opposition at Oschersleben
Oschersleben 2 July 2006 -- The ninth and tenth rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Championship were held at Motopark Oschersleben in Germany over the past weekend. After three successive race wins in the championship, the Kiwi driver went to Oschersleben as championship leader and hoping to continue his success. This time no victory, but a great podium position in the second race was the result.
Free practice was held on Friday morning, but it didn't quite go according to plan. The JD Motorsport driver only managed half the planned number of laps, after running in new brake pads and then finding himself off the track in a gravel trap cutting his session short. The New Zealanders fastest lap time at that moment was good for a seventh spot. The two twenty minute qualification sessions were scheduled as normal early on Saturday afternoon. During the first session Van der Drift had difficulty in posting a fast time as he was unable to get a clear lap. This resulted in a grid seven start position for the race on Saturday evening. After a ten minute break, and some set-up changes, the second qualifying session began. Van der Drift had a better run this time and finished with the third quickest time, one tenth of a second behind pole-setter Felipe Albuquerque.
The first Formula Renault race during the FIA GT weekend was scheduled as the last race of the day on Saturday evening. Van der Drift protected his position at the race start and began to move forward. In the second to last lap of the race he finally managed to pass Red Bull supported driver, American John Edwards, finishing in fifth position. Starting from grid three in the late Sunday afternoon race the New Zealander got away to a good start and found himself in third spot coming out of turn one. In the last corner of the first lap Van der Drift out-braked Finnish driver Atte Mustonen, taking over second position. Within a lap the Kiwi driver was on the gearbox of leader Felipe Albuquerque, harassin g him for the remaining 16 laps never far away, but having to contend with lack of down-force in the fast corners behind the Portuguese driver. Eventually the JD Motorsport driver had to take pleasure in a second placing, finishing only 0.085 second behind Albuquerque. In the fight for the championship the lead for Van der Drift has decreased to three points over Albuquerque (204). Xavier Maassen, Van der Drift's team-mate, is third with 191 points.
Chris van der Drift : "The weekend was ok, but it was a shame that qualifying didn't go so well. But on the other hand I am still leading the championship. For the first qualifying session I waited a while before I went out onto the track but it was difficult to get a clear lap for a quick time. This really came about through other drivers in the way or yellow flag periods. In the second session I also had problems with yellow flag sectors but I knew that it was possible to go even quicker. During the second race I was faster than Felipe Albuquerque, but as soon as I got close to him I had less down-force, and I was not able to get past. I waited for him to make a mistake, but unfortunately that didn't happen. For those that know, Oschersleben is a really difficult track on which to pass. There was one conciliation; I did manage to take fastest race lap. In the end I was content with second as it was a big risk in pushing it any further. The points are important. I want to thank my mechanic Alberto, my car engineer Roberto and the rest of the team for the weekend."
On the weekend of 15-16 July, Van der Drift races at Misano (Italy) in the fifth and sixth rounds of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship. On the same weekend the 11th and 12th rounds of the Northern European Championship will be held on the TT circuit at Assen (Holland). Unfortunately Van der Drift will miss the weekend at Assen.