Podiumfinish at Donington Park!11-09-06
Carlo van Dam (NED) scored a well-deserved podium finish by finishing second in today’s second Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship race at Donington Park. With this result the young Dutchman bounced back after a disappointing retirement in the first race on Saturday afternoon after having collided with Atte Mustonen. This promising result also brings Van Dam back in the fight for the championship, where the S-T-A-R-T driver now possesses a joint fourth position with 56 points.
Free practice and qualifying
In the opening session at Friday morning Van Dam initially took it easy. The 20 year old driver only ran used tyres in order to find a proper set-up for the important qualifying sessions scheduled for Saturday. As Van Dam did not push for quick laptimes, he ended this first free practise session in 18th spot. In the second session Van Dam did mount new tyres, and realised the seventh best laptime in this mega competitive series.
Van Dam’s qualifying sessions however were packed with ups and downs. Due to severe oversteering problems, Van Dam was not able to show the pace he wanted, but still grabbed the fifth starting position for the opening race later that day. Also in the second session, Van Dam had trouble to set a fast laptime, but this time due to several yellow flag situations and traffic. As the final seconds were ticking away, Van Dam surprised many by setting the second fastest laptime, handing him a desirous front row start on Sunday afternoon!
Van Dam enjoyed a good start at Saturday’s opening race in which he overtook Bertrand Baguette for fourth position already before entering the first corner. Unfortunately misfortune struck the Dutch ace early in the second lap as Atte Mustonen pushed Van Dam on the dirt side of the tarmac. Van Dam, who was completely surprised by this move of his Finnish opponent as this all happened during a caution period(!), spun off the track and was unable to rejoin the race. A bitter end to a promising race, as Van Dam surely lost out on many valuable championship points…
In the second race on Sunday afternoon, Van Dam again made a quick start but only came a few inches short of overtaking poleman Chris van der Drift. Though the Vlaardingen based driver charged hard the entire race, he saw no chance to overtake Van der Drift and decided to consolidate his second position in the closing stages. By finishing in second spot, the SG Formula driver celebrated his third podium finish of the 2006 season!
CARLO VAN DAM: “I’m really relieved by finishing on the rostrum again. Especiallay after the bad luck that hit me in qualifying and Saturday’s first race, I’m delighted to have finished the weekend in a positive way. Compliment for my team as they really gave me a quick car this weekend. At the beginning of this week I had some doubts whether I was able to drive here this weekend, as I was really ill. Luckily, as the week progressed I felt better every day, and I’m happy to have scored my third podium finish of the year. I hope we can build on this result for the upcoming races at Le Mans and Barcelona!”