Podiumfinish for Carlo van Dam on the street circuit of Pau!06-06-06
Carlo van Dam has placed on the podium for the first time this season! In the first race, the inhabitant of Vlaardingen had to settle for the ninth place on the small street circuit in Pau (France). In the final race he was able to finish on a great second place. This result is the Dutchman’s revenge for the last races in the French Formula Renault 2.0 championship. He earned 14 points towards the championship this weekend for a grand total of 15 points. He therefore currently places 12th in the championship.
Carlo was in Pau in Southern France, where temperatures of 30°C are normal in this time of the year, for the first time. The city lies at the foot of the Pyrenees and was the setting for the ‘66e Grand Prix Automobile de Pau’ last weekend. Because the 2.760 km long race track consist of a number of small, difficult turns and high curbstones, Van Dam tried to stay away from the slippery part of this track during the free practices. When 35 drivers entered the circuit on Friday for the first time for the only free practice, Van Dam started in a new car and finished as 17th.
In the first qualifying on Saturday morning, Van Dam tried to drive a fast time. Van Dam continuously explored his limits during the session and improved his lap times by a good bit. Unfortunately he was forced to slow down for the last 3 turn before the start-finish line due to traffic. He finished the qualifying as tenth (1:15.625). Because Van Dam was not happy with the result of the first quaifying, the S-T-A-R-T driver and his engineers worked late to find a better set-up for the second qualifying. On Monday morning, Van Dam went on the track after 5 minutes to use the remaining 15 minutes for establishing a good time. He found a decent gap in traffic and drove the preliminary best lap. During the session, Van Dam only had to accept Laurent Groppi in front of him after a red flag situation. With his outstanding second best lap time (1:15.728), he left behind his teammates Dillman, Navarro, Vernay and Jousse who finished 3rd to 6th place respectively.
RACE 01 + 02
The first race began good for Van Dam. He tried to attack a number of opponents at the start but could not pass any of them. The 22 lap race was dominated by very little chances to overtake. 3 laps before the finish, Van Dam advanced one place when his teammate Tom Dillman hit the wall. This was his final position in the race. The second race began good for Van Dam as well. He kept his position at the start and entered the first turn behind pole position driver Groppi. In the laps to come, Van Dam lost much time due to problems with his steer and had to let go the French a number of times.
In lap 7 the race saw its turning point. One of the cars had to stop at the baking point of turn 4 and Groppi and Van Dam were hardly able to avoid it. Their runner-up, Dillman, did not pay attention and hit the standing car. His crash also involved the rest of the SG Formula drivers behind him. When the safety car phase that followed was over, Van Dam was still second. After a number of laps later a second safety car period was called upon when one of the cars spun off the track. Because the biggest part of the race was already over, the race was finished prematurely. Van Dam therefore scored his first podium position of the season after 22 minutes of racing only.
CARLO VAN DAM: ‘I am especially happy with my second place on this really great street track! This weekend was all about the qualifyings. Those had great influence of the results of both races. During the first session I was hindered by traffic while I was able to show my full potential this morning. This really was street racing. A great track with a great audience. This is flatout the best race I have ever taken part it throughout my career. I have proven that I can make the pace. The last races just did not go very well for me. Let’s go for the next races of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0!’