Despite a Strong Team Effort, Heylen has an Unfortunate finish at Inaugural Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium Jan ends hometown event with a 13th position finish Even though Jan Heylen ( ...
Despite a Strong Team Effort, Heylen has an Unfortunate finish at Inaugural Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium
Jan ends hometown event with a 13th position finish
Even though Jan Heylen (#34 Grafiprint / Cosworth / DP01 / Bridgestone) was not able to participate in Friday's events, he was ready to battle his way through the field to another top-ten finish. The bad luck that the team had suffered on Friday with a four-car accident in morning practice was behind them and Jan, along with the entire crew was excited to put on a good show for the his hometown crowd. Heylen began his morning warm up session with a top-six position and was encouraged by his prospects for a strong finish at the event.
Jan started the race in eleventh position and with the knowledge that the race could potentially be a four stop contest; he immediately focused on the team's fuel-saving strategy. A yellow flag on Lap 17 allowed the entire field to do an early pit stop, putting Heylen in the top-ten, when a problem with his seventh gear caused a complete reevaluation of the fuel and pit strategy. The engineering team thought they could get the issue corrected from the timing stand but everything that Jan attempted to correct the problem on track failed and he was forced to run the rest of the race without seventh gear but despite this problem, he remained competitive with only six gears. Later on difficult radio communication problems prevented the team to apply the planned strategy as Jan could not understand the directions the team gave him and as a consequence Jan had to do his final stop under green condition what cost him a top six finish.
Quote from Jan Heylen:
"I am definitely more disappointed than ever with our finish today," said Heylen. "At first we had bad luck on Friday with that four-car accident, but the team was able to get the car back together which allowed us to do a decent job in qualifying on Saturday. We had a pretty strong warm up this morning and initially appeared to be doing well with our pace and our fuel saving was on par with the leaders. Unfortunately, we lost seventh gear and weren't able to save fuel any longer which led us to change our entire pit strategy. It is never a good thing to happen during a race and is even tougher in front of my home crowd. We're now looking forward to going to Assen and showing them what we can do there."
Quote from Eric Bachelart:
"We had a very eventful weekend for the least we can say!" began Eric Bachelart, Conquest Racing Team Owner. "When race day came, we had a very good car and we seemed to be on a very competitive pace when we suffered a problem with seventh gear and bad radio communication with the car. However, Jan was able to drive the rest of the race without that gear and did a remarkable job of keeping pace with the field while saving fuel when he could. Unfortunately we could not apply our strategy as Jan did not understand our directions and that cost us a good finish. I am excited that Champ Car was able to race in Belgium this year and I look forward to continuing the event in future seasons."