Fourth Auto GP Podium Of Year For Manor MP

Chris van der Drift secured Manor MP Motorsport’s fourth podium finish of the Auto GP season with second place during an incredibly hectic 10th round of the season at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal, Sunday, 3rd June.Beginning the encounter on the ‘reverse grid’ pole position alongside team-mate Daniël De Jong, by virtue of finishing eighth and seventh respectively in round nine on Saturday, 2nd June, van der Drift was leapfrogged off the line by his faster-starting team-mate but held second on the run to turn one.Sparking a monumental battle between the pair during the early laps, van der Drift took the lead on lap two into the first corner but the advantage the duo managed to establish over the chasing pack was eradicated soon after due to the appearance of the Safety Car.Racing resumed after just a single lap under caution and this time 19-year-old De Jong managed to slingshot past the sister Manor MP car to move back into the lead but van der Drift hit back again on lap five. Then, the Safety Car swiftly returned to the track following an incident so the team took the decision to pit both drivers for their mandatory stops at the end of the lap.The strategy worked a treat and the pit-crew did a fantastic job, van der Drift and De Jong emerged back on track in first and second as the Safety Car continued to circulate. At the second re-start on lap eight though, championship leader Adrian Quaife-Hobbs was able to benefit from a major tow from both Manor MP cars as they jostled for position and he passed on the inside line for the lead.De Jong held on to second, despite having picked-up front wing damage from debris on track, while van der Drift was bundled back to fourth. On lap 11 though, as De Jong battled hard with Sergey Sirotkin, van der Drift surged past both to smartly take second at turn one but as the race wore on De Jong’s pace was compromised more and more by the wing damage and so he slipped to seventh.Van der Drift finished in second place for his third podium of the year, despite serious pressure from Sirotkin during the latter stages, and he also posted the third fastest lap of the race. There was also some consolation for De Jong, he posted the fastest middle sector of the race to confirm his speed.“Overall we’ve had quite a good weekend in Portugal”, said team principal Sander Dorsman, “The speed was there with both Chris and Daniël, they both did a fantastic job, and we’re all really happy to be back on the podium. It could have been a one-two finish in the second race, the Safety Car just worked against us but we showed we had strong pace.“The guys in the pits did a really great job, we had to bring both drivers in at the same time so they didn’t lose out under the Safety Car but we managed to do really good stops and get them back out in first and second. It was a big pity Daniël had the problem with his front wing, our guys were the first to pass through where the accident happened so it was just bad luck he hit some debris.”For round nine on Saturday, van der Drift and De Jong both started on the fourth row of the grid and the former held station in seventh for the first four laps which marked the point when some drivers began to take their mandatory tyre change pit-stops.Van der Drift’s strategy was to make a relatively late stop and he ran as high as second prior to pitting at the end of the 12th tour. De Jong slipped to 11th on the first lap but he climbed back into ninth before making an early pit visit on lap five.When van der Drift rejoined the race, he did so just ahead of his team-mate as De Jong had reeled off some particularly impressive laps – including the fastest of the race at that point. On lap 14 De Jong got ahead and the pair circulated in that order to the finish, claiming seventh and eighth place results. De Jong also ended the race with the second fastest lap, 1m35.478 seconds.In terms of the championship, Manor MP Motorsport remains second in the team standings while van der Drift holds onto fourth in the driver classification and De Jong is seventh. In the Under-21 points table, De Jong has held on to his top six placing.Manor MP Motorsport’s Auto GP squad now has a seven week break from competitive action with rounds 11 and 12 of the season – the penultimate event of the championship – set to take place on 21st/22nd July at the Autodromo Internacional de Curitiba in Brazil.2012 Auto GP Team Standings (after Rd10):2nd Manor MP Motorsport, 155pts2012 Auto GP Driver Standings (after Rd10):4th Chris van der Drift, 102pts; 7th Daniël De Jong, 53pts2012 Auto GP Under-21 Driver Standings (after Rd10):6th Daniël De Jong, 73pts

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