Carlo wins Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 race at Le Mans!02-10-06
Carlo van Dam has claimed his first victory of the season in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 this afternoon! The fast Dutchman started from pole position and dominated the race in the rain from start to finish. Yesterday the S-T-A-R-T-driver started from first position as well and ended up on the podium by finishing in third place. Because his main rivals did not get good results, Van Dam climbed up the rankings from fifth to second place in the championship. Van Dam is now only four points behind championship leader Chris van der Drift.
FREE PRACTICES + QUALIFICATIONS:
On Thursday Van Dam had two long free practices, both lasting an hour and a half each. He made some reconnaissance laps on the 4.180 meter long track and was the quickest car on the track with used tyres. He ended the session in sixth place with a lap time of 1:36.934. The second session also went very well for the 20-year old driver. He was on used tyres all the time and changed them for a new set of tyres at the end of the practice session. In only two laps he clocked the fourth fastest time. On Friday morning Van Dam started well again and ended up in seventh place in the third practice session. In the fourth and final session the damp track got dryer and dryer. Van Dam was in the top three the whole session and put the fastest time on the timing screens in his final lap of the day! This result led to an increased self-confidence for the important qualifying session of Saturday morning.
The qualifying went perfect for the driver in French service. With the first set of tyres he took a temporary second place. In his second run Van Dam stepped up the pace and was the only driver diving below the magical 1 minute 36. With a time of 1:35.958 he took the important pole position for the first race. His second best lap was also good for pole position on the grid for the second race of the weekend. The complete top three was dominated by SG Formula. Pole sitter Van Dam was surrounded by his French team mates Tom Dillmann and Yann Clairay, which had qualified on second and third place.
RACE 01 + 02:
In the first race pole man Van Dam did not have a good start. The Dutchman lost three places at the start and went into the chicane in fourth place. A small deception for Van Dam who knew a possible victory had just gone up in smoke. He recovered quickly and caught hold of Dillmann, who was third at that point. Because the safety car came out in the second lap, Van Dam was not able to start the attack on his team mate. Three laps later the race was restarted. When Dillmann had to retire his car in the eleventh lap, the SG Formula driver moved up into third place. He was able to keep this position without any problems and came across the line in third place after fifteen laps.
The final race was driven on a wet track. When the lights went out for the second time Van Dam came from his place almost without any wheel spin. He kept the lead, just ahead of Dillmann and Clairay. Several drivers got involved in a start crash and the safety car came out on the track. Van Dam and Clairay stayed cool and managed to create a gap with the other competitors just after the restart. In the seventh lap the safety car came out on the asphalt again. The cause of this neutralisation was a collision between Stefano Coletti and Chris van der Drift, resulting in the Red Bull-sponsored driver spinning off the track. Coletti took out his team mates Brendon Hartley and Filipe Albuquerque as well, eliminating the Motopark Oschersleben in one crash. After the debris was removed the race was restarted. Van Dam was able to keep up the pace in the remaining laps and took a well deserved victory!
CARLO VAN DAM: “I am extremely happy with this victory! Since 2004 SG Formula has put their trust in me and I converted that into an important victory this weekend. The contribution of Yann Clairay was of great value. These races were an exact copy of the Eurocup races last year in Monza. We formed a strong duo back then as well and won the team championship. At Donington Park we were close with a second place and I was able to continue that line to this weekend. I really want to thank the complete SG Formula Team. Because the complete top four dropped some here, I have gone up in the championship like a rocket. It looks like there will be two exciting races in Barcelona for the title!”
Van Dam worked overtime at the Le Mans circuit. Besides the successful Eurocup races he also drove in a race of the French Formula Renault 2.0 championship. He managed to qualify in ninth place but did not get away too well at the start. In an incident-filled race Van Dam ended in 23rd place on Saturday afternoon.