Ups and downs for Carlo van Dam in F3 Euroseries debut15-10-07
On the Hockenheim circuit in Germany Carlo van Dam experienced an eventful race weekend. The Dutchman had a strong start in the final two races in the highly contested Formula 3 Euroseries championship, but the rookie lacked the luck to convert his potential in a decent result. A thirteenth position in the opening race and a collision in the second race kept the German Formula 3 champion away from a good score. Nevertheless Van Dam was pleased with his first run at RC Motorsport, which is supported by Volkswagen Motorsport.
Before Van Dam drove his first metres in the F3 Euroseries at Hockenheim he tested at the Oschersleben circuit last Tuesday to get used to the car. It was the first time he used the Volkswagen power source, as he is used to have the OPC-Challenge engine behind him. The only free practice session on Friday did not go without problems. The Dutchman suffered a lot of oversteer in the one-hour session, which meant he had to put up with the nineteenth place. On Friday afternoon the qualifying session took place. With a set of new tyres Van Dam set some good lap times and tried to improve his fastest time on the second set of new tyres. He only had two laps to peak his tyres, but the parts of the puzzle did not fall on the right place. In his first flying lap he made an off-track excursion and in the second run he was hampered by traffic on the track. A twentieth place (1:34.531) was the result.
When the lights went out on Saturday Van Dam had a decent start. Together with Maximilian Götz and Harald Schlegelmilch he slowly moved forward. The RC Motorsport driver got into the right rhythm as the race progressed and was able to pass his team mate Götz. After 24 laps Van Dam crossed the line of his debut race in a respectable thirteenth place. He was the best placed Volkswagen driver. In the second race, on Sunday morning, Van Dam had a good start again. Despite a set of tyres that lacked grip he was able to work himself up into eleventh place. During the race the conditions of the tyres deteriorate, which meant the German ATS Formula 3 Cup winner was forced to drive defensive lines. In an exciting fight that lasted several laps he was able to keep Renger van der Zande and Edoardo Piscopo behind him. In the final stages of the race it was suddenly over for Van Dam when he was hit from behind by Basil Shaaban, ripping of the rear wing. With three laps remaining in the race he was forced to retire.
Carlo van Dam: “I am looking back at this weekend with mixed feelings. Despite only making the first kilometres in the car this weekend, I had expected more of it. I went out for a top ten result but it was not to be, due to several causes. In the qualifying run I was blocked several times and I was unable to peak my tyres. In race 1 things went better and better and I worked myself up to the thirteenth place. In the second race I raced with a bad set of tyres, which put more and more pressure on me. I had to fight for my position in every possible way. I was able to thwart the attacks until Shaaban hit me from behind. That is what ended my first meeting with the F3 Euroseries. I really want to thank Kris Nissen of Volkswagen Motorsport again for offering me this opportunity. The Volkswagen engine is really reliable and extremely fast. The team was really satisfied with my results and the data we collected here at Hockenheim. It only gets better as in a month from now I will be racing in the famous F3 race in the streets of Macau. There I will be racing in the HBR Motorsport colours. To be continued!”