Chris van der Drift returns in Superleague Formula MILTON KEYNES (United Kingdom), 20 October 2010 - Chris van der Drift returns in Superleague Formula with Galatasaray during this weekend's final round at Circuito de Navarra in Spain. The...
Chris van der Drift returns in Superleague Formula
MILTON KEYNES (United Kingdom), 20 October 2010 - Chris van der Drift returns in Superleague Formula with Galatasaray during this weekend's final round at Circuito de Navarra in Spain. The 24-year old driver was absent during the last four rounds while he recovered from his horrifying 252 kilometer per hour crash on August 1st at Brands Hatch. "I want to come back fast", said a determined Van der Drift.
Van der Drift raced for Olympiacos during the first half of the season and took four victories. However, he broke several bones all over his body due to the incident and was lucky to receive help from many people, including Mark Webber's personal trainer Roger Cleary. The special training program at Champneys accelerated Chris' recovery and is therefore able to get back behind the wheel so quickly. Due to the last minute agreement, unfortunately it is not possible to finish the season for Olympiacos as the team already selected a driver for my replacement.
A broken ankle and two broken fingers were Van der Drift's worst injuries. After taking his 'first' steps just four weeks ago, recovering went even faster from that point using a special recovery program. The Dutch Kiwi received help from Cleary in getting him to the right places and using the right gear. The most of his recovery work took place in Champneys, a facility for kriotherapy which is a freezing recovery treatment. "You climb in a very cold freezer for three minutes at -140 degrees, while only wearing two pairs of knee high socks, two pairs of underpants and three pairs of gloves", Van der Drift explains, who is always on the limit. "I met another guy who uses kriotherapy to recover from a broken back. We were pushing each other who could stay in longer. We stayed in for four minutes, but the lower part of my tummy got a bit burnt! Anyway, this treatment has really helped to accelerate the recovery of my injury's."
While Roger Cleary have been working on strengthening the muscles in his foot and making sure nothing stays stiff -- "where I think he takes pleasure watching my face screw up when he hits a tender spot" -- Chris also underwent acupuncture and completed his days with swimming, biking and of course walking. A hand therapist was looking after his two injured fingers and MRI scans on his shoulder and knee made clear that the damages in these areas were not as serious as his ankle.
From sim to real racing
When Van der Drift was at home, he used his VisionRacer sim racing machine for his 'need for speed' while using the Hypoxic machine. "It kept my endurance at a high level. Basically the Hypoxic machine simulates climbing a mountain, changes the oxygen that you breath and tells your body to create more red blood cells which is also supposed to aid healing", Chris explained. It definitely putted a smile on his face, although he recognized it does not simulate the vibrations and forces on his ankle.
The talented racer spent some time behind the wheel of a go-kart on last week. It was his first time in a vehicle after the crash. "I drove all morning and haven't felt my ankle. Also, I wasn't scared or anything. I just know I'm ready for it", said Van der Drift.
A confident Van der Drift will make his comeback during the final race weekend on 23 -- 24 October. "It was a couple difficult months, but it doesn't feel like a taking a break. I will be up to speed like I was at Brands Hatch, I know that for sure", said the Superleague Formula race winner. "After the incident I thought I would be back in the car earlier, but when the cast from my ankle came off, I realized the situation was more serious. And it surprised me how quickly it healed. Thanks to Roger Cleary and the Champneys rehabilitation center."
"When I make my comeback I will be quick, not hanging at the back of the field! It would be nice to finish on the podium and go to the super final", said Chris van der Drift.
Chris van der Drift is currently supported by Ekris, Stockholm Fashion, Vision Racer, National Meats, Arai and Oakley.