Review: Carlo van Dam cashes GP2 Series test at Paul Ricard


On the Paul Ricard circuit in France Carlo van Dam tested a GP2 car for the first time. The reigning ATS Formula 3 Cup champion was offered the test by the ATS organisers, after winning the title. Van Dam grabbed the opportunity to do the 85 lap test with both hands. Driving the Spanish BCN Competicion car he finished the day in sixteenth place out of 26 drivers, with a fastest lap time of 1:14.503.

Under ideal weather conditions Van Dam started his one-day test. On used tyres the Dutchman went out on the track for the first time. After he had explored the nice HTTT-circuit owned by Bernie Ecclestone he started to set fast lap times. He was however hampered by heavy oversteer problems on the ‘3D circuit’. After his first run a fresh set of tyres was mounted on his 580bhp strong car. Van Dam got into the right rhythm straight away and was able to improve his lap times all the time. The 21-year old driver got closer to the top 10 of the day.

Just before Van Dam went out after the lunch break on new tyres the team altered the set-up again, but it did not bring the wanted result. Because he was sent out on new tyres too early, the peak of the tyres was reached way before the end of the day. With the track becoming quicker towards the end of the session Van Dam dropped back in the standings. He was however much quicker than his Finnish team-mate of the day, Henri Karjalainen, who was 1.8 seconds behind Van Dam.

Carlo van Dam: "It was a great experience. After fitting a seat last Thursday in their workshop near the Circuit de Catalunya, I made my debut in the GP2 Series car last Tuesday. When I drove out of the pit lane for the first time, the powerful car really launched me like a catapult. A splendid feeling! The team changed the set-up several times, but it did not work out the way we wanted. We suffered from oversteer problems the whole day and were unable to get rid of them."

"I was given the test by the ATS organisers and was limited to 200 kilometres of testing. I specially want to thank Bertram Schäfer from the ATS Formula 3 Cup organisation for this free test. I also want to thank team-owner Enrique Scalabroni of BCN Competicion for the nice cooperation. Next week I will get back in action again in a World Series Formula Renault 3.5 car for Red Devil Team Comtec and then I will travel to Macau for the Formula 3 races with HBR Motorsport. We are already working hard to make another step in my motorsport career next year."

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