Review: Carlo van Dam extends championship lead in Assen!03-09-07
Under the eyes of more than 61.000 spectators Carlo van Dam did a good job in the ATS Formula 3 Cup, which was part of the Champcar Grand Prix of Holland weekend. The Dutchman won the first race on Saturday and ended up on the podium again on Sunday after finishing in third place. Van Dam increased his lead because his nearest rivals did not do too well. After fourteen races the Dutchman has scored 124 points. He is now 31 points ahead of the number 2, Vervisch. In the Rookie Cup Van Dam has an ample lead over the rest with 118 championship points.
After his successful Formula 3 weekend three weeks ago in Assen during the Rizla Racing Day (two pole positions, twee victories and a fastest race lap), Carlo van Dam returned to action at the TT-Circuit again. In the free practice session on Friday Van Dam went out on an old set of tyres and was able to equal his Rizla Racing Day lap times immediately. On a dry track he set the fastest lap on a new set of tyres (1:33.2). Moments before the important qualifying sessions it suddenly started to rain. On rain tyres Van Dam recorded the second quickest time. He wanted to improve his lap time even more, but ran out of fuel. Van Dam ended second behind Récardo Bruins Choi, who qualified on pole position. The second qualifying session on Saturday morning was also driven on a wet track. Van Dam’s race car was set up for a dry track, but nevertheless Van Dam decided to start the session on rain tyres. Van Dam tried to get a pole position, but his times were not fast enough to clinch it. Once again his team mate took pole position.
The first race took place under perfect weather conditions. Van Dam had a great start on Saturday afternoon and overtook Bruins Choi immediately. The Dutchman increased his lead to two seconds in the opening lap. Because his Christian Vietoris collided with Bruins Choi, Van Dam was able to increase the gap to the rest even more. In his fourth lap he set the fastest lap of the race, adding another championship point to his total. Van Dam was in a league of his own and won the race, over eleven seconds ahead of the rest. Matteo Chinosi and Nico Verdonck finished second and third after sixteen laps.
When the lights went out for the second time Van Dam did not get away well. He kept his second place though, before making a small mistake a lap later. He dropped to third place and defended his position against Vietoris. Van Dam held on and eventually finished the race in third place. This result meant the twelfth podium finish of the season. Because he kept his biggest rivals Frédérick Vervisch and Nico Verdonck (both JB Motorsport) behind him, Van Dam increased his championship lead even more. With two race weekends to go (Sachsenring and Oschersleben) the title in the ATS Formula 3 Cup is getting nearer.