Summer interview with Carlo van Dam09-07-08
Carlo van Dam made an unexpected switch to the Japanese Formula 3 championship. During the first 5 racing weekends (10 races) he managed to take three race victories, take four pole positions and two fastest laps. The TOMís Toyota Team driver made it to the finish every single race and did not have one single DNF.
Having 47 points youíre leading the championship and youíve also achieved a good track record this year. How do you reflect on the past half year?
Ofcourse Iím reasonly satisfied with the results so far. After 10 of 18 races weíve done really well. Maybe the results donít tell, but it wasnít always simple, you know. Especially during the preparations for the first couple of races I was having a lot of trouble adapting to the Bridgestone tyres. But every race I improved bit by bit and after my first victory at the Suzuka track I kept on building on my confidence.
You have returned to Japan after visiting your home country (The Netherlands) for a couple of weeks. How was your stay there?
It was really good to see my family and friends again. We had some time off before the next races and I wasnít obliged to stay in Japan. So I went back to The Netherlands for three weeks, where I have been following the European Championship football, Iíve met a lot of old friends and had a lot of fun during my stay. Together with a couple of sponsors and business relations we enjoyed a bit of karting. Itís really great knowing that a lot of people care about what you do and that is really good to know. The weather was really nice so it almost felt like a holiday.
What do you do in between races?
Ofcourse I try to prepare myself fysically as good as possible for the next race. Together with my teammates I work out a lot at the gym and play football on a pitch here in Gotemba. After that we have a bit to eat with some other Japanese drivers who live just around here in the neighbourhood. Sometimes I visit the workshop to discuss some things with the mechanics or my engineer. During the weekends I usually visit Tokyo where I have met some friends. We go out for drinks or have dinner together. So as you can see Iím enjoying my time here very much.
With four race weekends left and a strong championship to win, what will be the most important thing for you to take the title?
The main thing is to keep focussed on what is really important, and that is driving really fast. We have to make sure that we have a good race pace every weekend to fight for the win. Every race is different. I know three of the four tracks we are about to visit, so that could very well be an advantage for me preparing for these races. My goal is to score som more victories this season and try to take the title.