Chris van der Drift in great form scoring race win. Brno -- Kiwi 22 year old driver Chris van der Drift was once again very quick over the past weekend, this time at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic. After having completed a test day and...
Chris van der Drift in great form scoring race win.
Brno -- Kiwi 22 year old driver Chris van der Drift was once again very quick over the past weekend, this time at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic. After having completed a test day and the weekends two free practices achieving the best lap times in all three he went on to claim his third pole position of the season (of the three race weekends held to date!). To add to this was the convincing triumph in the first race, including the fastest race lap which was almost a second better than his fellow competitors!
It seems all very simple, but the competition in International Formula Master is strong. Both in the free practices and in the qualifying sessions, where Van der Drift was head and shoulders above the rest, the other drivers fought for the remaining positions. In spite of the fact that Van der Drift is driving in this class for the second year, he was able to keep a large gap in front of former F1 Red Bull test driver Michael Ammermuller. In the only qualifying session, the New Zealander put up a time that was almost a second faster than the German driver who was in turn almost 5/10ths quicker than his nearest rival.
The JD Motorsport driver began the first race of 14 laps over the 5.4km circuit with just as much speed as he had demonstrated earlier in the weekend. At the end of the first lap he had already built up a small margin, but due to a safety car intervention this was lost. At the restart Van der Drift had some pressure but was able to pull away and then remained unthreatened to the finish with a safe gap of 8.6 seconds back to second placed Ammermuller.
As the first eight finishers in race one are reversed to determine the grid for the second race, Van der Drift had to begin the 19 lap race on Sunday on grid Eight. Immediately once the race had begun, Van der Drift claimed two positions, but then something happened "mysteriously" meaning that he had to hand one position back to Ammermuller as he went by. "We examined the data to see if we could understand what had happened, because it was disappointing to see that Michael could pass me so simply in a straight line after this problem" said Van der Drift.
A safety car period of three laps then followed after three cars came into contact half way through the first lap. After the field was once again released Van der Drift attempted to pass Ammermuller, but the experienced German drove a defensive line which made it very difficult to make a clean pass. Not much later Swiss driver Fabio Leimer made a mistake and the New Zealander grabbed the opportunity and moved up a position into sixth. Danish competitor Kasper Andersen proved to be the next victim, and after several attempts he was through into fifth position. The gap to Ammermuller was then 1.4 seconds, but after setting (at that moment) the fastest race lap the Kiwi quickly closed the gap.
A fight for third position ensued with Norbert Siedler, Ammermuller and Van der Drift, allowing a further three drivers to make contact with the competing trio. Passing on the circuit proved to be difficult at such a point in the race and Van der Drift remained in fifth position. "The circuit is made up of many fast corners and you really need down-force in order to make a clean pass. But just as you are right behind someone in the corners you lose too much down-force. On the straights you can then chase hard again, but then it is too late" explained Van der Drift.
"But all in all we are extremely satisfied. Immediately from the beginning we were fastest, and the gap that we had in qualifying has not gone unnoticed. Afterwards there was the win in race one for the taking. The JD Motorsport team have done a terrific job this weekend and we are now looking forward to the next races at Estoril in Portugal where we haven't competed before. But considering the testing we did there in April, there should not be too many problems" said a self assured Van der Drift.
Chris van der Drift is proud to be one of New Zealand motor racing's Black Bullets. To find out more about our Black Bullets go to www.blackbullets.com