Jeroen Slaghekke vice-champion after impressive finale

Jeroen Slaghekke begun the last weekend of the British Formula Ford Championship third in the championship. At the GP-circuit of Silverstone, the talented driver from Wassenaar won the season’s final race, after finishing second in the other two races. The reward for the impressive final weekend: the 2011 British Formula Ford vice-championship.

“This weekend, I was completely focused on the task at hand: drive as quickly as possible, while also racing as smart as possible”, the 19 year old tells us.  “Which wasn’t easy, because there was quite a bit of pressure. I had to close a gap of 23 points to my teammate Nick McBride.”

With the weekend starting with a small off into the barrier during the first free practice, it wasn’t particularly the best start Jeroen would’ve planned. The next free practice however, Jeroen came back to top the timesheets. On the back of this, Jeroen then delivered in qualifying as well by taking pole position for two of the weekend’s three races. Making it a total of 8 pole positions for him this season.

In the first of three races, Jeroen Slaghekke was passed under yellow flags, which was detrimental to his chances of winning the race. “I was passed under yellows by three drivers, who got a time penalty after the race was finished. Not that that mattered, because I passed them back during the race, but it seriously hurt my chances of a victory having to get past them again and losing valuable time.”

Australian Geoff Uhrhane won the race instead. Jeroen did however post the fastest lap of the race in 2:08,182, which is a new laprecord.

The second race took place in tricky conditions, with the track being half dry, half wet. “Very exciting and very intense”, Jeroen typifies the race. Together with Scott Malvern, he drove off into the distance. They finished over four seconds ahead of everyone else, with Jeroen choosing for the much needed points in the championship settling for second place.

“To me, the last race of the season was also my best race of the season”, says Jeroen Slaghekke. “Everyone was racing with a win it or bin it mentality, which made it a very exciting race!” The Dutchman got the better of Geoff Uhrhane (second) and Scott Malvern (third) with a last lap overtake into the vale chicane after racing wheel to wheel for the preceding laps.

It rewarded Jeroen Slaghekke with his fourth win of the season and more importantly, the vice-championship. “This has to be my best victory of the season. Not only because it rewarded me with the vice-championship, but also because I’ve beaten my teammate Scott Malvern on the track on racecraft and speed, which only very few people have done this year”, Jeroen Slaghekke exulted. “It has been a great weekend with a fantastic endresult.”

After eight raceweekends, the final standings in the British Formula Ford championship look like this:
1. Scott Malvern 610;
2. Jeroen Slaghekke 510;
3. Nick McBride 507.

Sunday Oct 16, 2011
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1, 2, 3 for Jeroen Slaghekke

Dominating qualifying claiming pole position for all three races of the weekend, Jeroen Slaghekke proved to be one of the best drivers in the 2011 British Formula Ford championship. In the three following races, the Dutchman further demonstrated his intentions with a dominant victory and two strong drives to second and third in the other two races. After posting fastest lap in the final race as well, Jeroen has climbed to second place in the championship. 

The sixth raceweekend of the year got off to a great start on Friday’s qualifying session for Slaghekke. During the twenty minute qualifying session on the short Brands Hatch Indy track, nobody could match the Dutchman’s pace.

“The team had provided me with a fantastic car, that felt great right from the moment my tyres were up to temperature”, Jeroen tells us. “The moment there was a gap, I went for it. The most challenging part about this qualifying session was keeping cool through the traffic. Which worked well! At some points on the track I could even get a slipstream.” The result was a pole position time of 46,6 seconds. His second and third best lap were also good enough to claim pole position for the other two races of the weekend.

Jeroen’s already took his first podium of the weekend in the first race, finishing behind Scott Malvern after being nose to gearbox for the entire race. The margin between them was only 0,088 seconds at the finish line. “I have tried everything I knew and more to get past Scott; left, right, on the inside and round the outside. It didn’t work, because it’s incredibly hard to pass around Brands Hatch and Scott did a great job. I should’ve done a better job at the start, and keeping that in mind, I’m already looking forward to the next race.”

On the first Sunday race, the Dutchman turned his pole position into a dominant win. Even though Scott Malvern came past at the start again, this was only because of a jumpstart that he would later get a drive through for. It didn’t matter though, as Jeroen passed him before he Malvern had to come in to serve his drive through penalty. With Malvern now gone, Slaghekke drove into the distance to finish over 8 seconds ahead of his nearest competitors Dan de Zille in second, and Antti Buri in third.

Wheelspin on a wet part of the track at the start ensured Slaghekke of a tough race. “Because of the rain before the race, there was a wet part of track right in the pole position grid slot as it’s located in a dip in the track. I had too much throttle and therefore too much wheelspin at the start, which left me standing still before rejoining in fourth place.” So the Jamun driver went to work to improve on his lost positions. During the final stages of the race, Jeroen went round the outside at turn 2 to finish on the podium.

“Buri was defending on a wet part of the track, so I tried going round the outside on the dry line and it worked.” Jeroen made it three from three possible podiums with the overtake, after a second, first and now third place behind winner Scott Malvern and second placed Geoff Uhrhane. Jeroen Slaghekke also took fastest lap along the way to score an extra point.

Jeroen’s podium run of first, second and third place pushes him up to second place in the championship.

“it’s been a very good weekend, three pole positions, three podiums, including a dominant victory, a fastest lap and on track for the vice-championship!”

Friday Sep 02, 2011
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