Chris van der Drift has shown that he belongs with the best after testing at the French High Tech test Track Paul Ricard.
The 22 year old New Zealander tested together with former F1-driver Narain Karthikeyan for the Italian GP2 team of Trident Racing.
Van der Drift ended the Friday morning session fifth fastest overall, and then in the afternoon session was fourth fastest and best ‘rookie’ of the 24 drivers testing. “The test went very well”, said a very pleased Van der Drift.
“On Thursday we made a new seat and at the end of the afternoon I could still get out on the track for the last hour. We used that time to ensure everything was working as it should and gave me a chance to get to know the new car. It was also very pleasing that after a few laps, on old tyres as well, that I was quicker than Narain Karthikeyan. He is of course someone with a lot of experience including sometime in Formula 1.”
The test was continued on Friday and it was then that the Kiwi left the biggest impression.
“My lap times were very good straight off, and with a new set of tyres I took what was ultimately the fifth fastest time of the session. I know that there are a couple of tenths I can grab as in my quick lap I came across some other cars. I did try again to do a quicker lap, but because the tyres were past their peak, that was not possible. But all in all a very good time.”
“In the afternoon session I began with a set of good tyres and was able to set the fourth quickest lap before it began to rain later in the afternoon. Of course I am very pleased with that effort. The team was really enthusiastic and I want to thank Trident racing very very much for making the test possible! I have been able to prove that I am capable to mix it with the top drivers and I know that there are still a few tenths that can be found. This is certainly not a bad effort for a first test with the new GP2 car”, said the young Kiwi.
Van der Drift must now set his sights on taking the title in International Formula Master. With two races left on the calendar, to be hosted at the Italian circuit of Monza on 3-5 October, the Kiwi leads the championship by 13 points from his nearest rival.
With only 20 points on offer it seems that the New Zealander is heading towards the title and the attached grand prize : a Formula 1 test with the Honda Racing F1 team. Chris van der Drift is proud to be one of New Zealand motor racing's Black Bullets.
To find out more about our Black Bullets go to blackbullets.com
GP2 - morning test session : Paul Ricard, 26 september 2008:
1 - Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) - Dams - 1'12"828 - 34 laps
2 - Andreas Zuber (UAE) - FMSI - 1'12"844 - 41 laps
3 - Davide Valsecchi (ITA) - Durango - 1'13"105 - 31 laps
4 - Sam Bird (GBR) - Dams - 1'13"395 - 46 laps
5 - Chris Van der Drift (NZL) - Trident - 1'13"468 - 48 laps
6 - Luca Filippi (ITA) - DPR - 1'13"483 - 39 laps
GP2 - afternoon test session : Paul Ricard, 26 september 2008:
1 - Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) - Dams - 1'13"266 - 25 laps
2 - Jerome D'Ambrosio (BEL) - Campos - 1'13"618 - 22 laps
3 - Luca Filippi (ITA) - DPR - 1'13"725 - 26 laps
4 - Chris Van der Drift (NZL) - Trident - 1'13"761 - 21 laps
5 - Davide Valsecchi (ITA) - Durango - 1'13"788 - 28 laps
6 - Diego Nunes (BRA) - ART - 1'13"852 - 42 laps