Overtaking is an art
After a victory in Morocco, Chris van der Drift was eager to put the Auto GP car of Manor MP Motorsport at front again. The pace was there all weekend, but the 26-year old ran out of luck. Loosing drive to the wheels in qualifying and a car going into ‘safe mode’ at the start of race two didn’t contribute to any success, but decent overtaking manoeuvres was quite nice to watch. Two deserved point finishes came his way after hunting down his rivals on the narrow Hungaroring circuit.
Van der Drift was already up to speed in free practice by setting the third quickest time on old rubber. But when he wanted to attack in qualifying, when the best times matter, the car suddenly lost all drive. “As I started my flying lap after the first corner, I was in gear and my foot was down, but I wasn’t going anywhere. The right rear upright failed and qualifying was over”, van der Drift grumbled.
OvertakingA disappointing result to start the first race from last, but everyone knew it was this was his next chance to attack. And he did, flying to seventh position despite some experimenting with the cars’ setup. “We gambled with the setup, which did not really work. But it was our only goal to finish in the top eight, which would gave us a chance for the second race”, van der Drift explains. “Including a good strategy and pit stop we came out in seventh. That’s what we needed.”
No luckA seventh place is equal to second on the starting grid of the next race. “Being able to finish on the podium and duplicate the win like the last event wasn’t even out of the picture”, he said. Getting a jump off the line when the lights went out was the first mission, he was alongside his rival challenging to take the lead when he ran out of luck. Again. “I got in second gear and the car jumped into safe mode. The water temperature was too high and it automatically shut down the power to save the engine. I couldn’t believe this was happening”, Chris continued.
From last to fifthWhile dropping down the order, the car got out of the safe mode after the first corner. From almost last van der Drift was able to fight back to fifth. “This was even more disappointing because I knew a podium was in the bag and I could have put money on the win. I got some points, but I’m only left to think what it could have been!
The car was much improved for this race, thanks to Manor MP Motorsport for making this happen and also a big thanks to Valvoline Europe for their support. Without them, I wouldn’t be racing.”
The Auto GP Championship continues during the weekend of 3 June on the Portuguese Portimao track. Van der Drift remains fourth in the championship standings with 83 points.