Formula Master - title fight still on

No title for Van der Drift yet :

"Drive shaft broke! What a shock!"

Chris van der Drift has to wait for the 2008 International Formula Master title for the moment. After grabbing pole position and a neat second place in the first race, Van der Drift could have clinched the title with a good finish in the second race on Sunday. However luck was not with the Kiwi driver. In the warm up lap before Sunday’s race the drive shaft suddenly broke and forced the New Zealander to watch the race from the sideline. Championship rival, former F1-tester Michael Ammermüller, finished only in fifth position and as a result Van der Drift maintains his lead of 13 points with two races to go.

That it was to be a tense weekend became obvious in the qualifying session. Despite the small qualifying gaps in the competitive field, Van der Drift scored his sixth pole position of the season. No one previously in this class has gained so many pole positions in one season. And the JD Motorsport driver wanted to convert that into a victory. At the start however Fabio Leimer got away better and Van der Drift had to tuck in behind him and follow, looking for an opportunity to pass. Towards the end of the 16 lap race, the Kiwi was much quicker than his rival, setting the fastest lap of the race which was also quicker than his original qualifying time. “I started on the dirty part of the track and that was definitely a disadvantage.

During the race the car kept getting better, and I was lapping considerably quicker than Fabio, allowing me to put him under pressure. Ultimately it was because it was wet on Friday that we hadn’t been able to set-up the car totally to our liking, bu! t nevertheless it went very well. After the race we knew exactly what we had to do for the second race”, said Van der Drift. The New Zealander was to begin the second race of the weekend from grid seven, courteous of the top eight reversed grid format of the Formula Master rules. Unfortunately however his race came to a swift end when during the warm-up lap before the race the drive shaft broke. “That was really a shock and disappointing because I knew that we had a good car and it was certainly possible to take the overall championship title in that race” said Van der Drift. “The drive shaft was still rather new, being replaced at the previous round, so that’s a bit of a concern.

Before we compete at the last round in Monza in two weeks, I’ll be travelling to the UK for the next set of A1GP Powered by Ferrari tests. And on Friday I’ll be in France at the Paul Ricard circuit in a one day GP2 test.” The eighth and final round of two races in the International Formula Master championship will be hosted by the Italian circuit of Monza over the weekend of 3-5 October.

Championship Overall : International Formula Master after fourteen races:

1 Chris van der Drift, (NZL), J.D. Motorsport, 83 points 2 Michael Ammermüller, (GER), Iris Project, 70 points 3 Fabio Leimer, (SUI), Jenzer Motorsport, 61 points 4 Harald Schlegelmilch, (LAT), Trident Racing, 42 points 5 Vladimir Arabadzhiev (BUL), J.D. Motorsport, 29 points

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