Jeroen Slaghekke directly at the front after long winter stop

During collective Formula Renault 2.0 UK testing at Donington Park, Jeroen Slaghekke was directly among the fastest drivers. The racing driver from Wassenaar didn’t get distracted by the fact that he had not driven a racing car, let alone a Formula Renault 2.0, since December, when he injured his hand in a testing incident in Spain. The 2011 British Formula Ford vice-champion furthermore highlighted his ambitions by finishing the day 3rd overall, leaving much of the more experienced competition behind him.

After being invited by Mark Burdett Motorsport, Jeroen arrived at the Donington Park circuit last Thursday. Even though he had nog driven since December, and his inexperience with the Formula Renault car, the Dutchman was rapidly on the pace.

“This is only the third time I’ve ever driven a Formula Renault car, but it felt great right from the first lap. It’s a fantastic car to drive”, Jeroen tells with a big smile on his face. “The Renault car not only has 45 hp more than a Formula Ford, but the car also has downforce, which pushes the car down onto the asphalt, and thereby ensures much higher cornering speeds because of the extra grip in fast corners.”

Jeroen’s quick adapting from the simple Formula Ford to the higher tech Formula Renault car shows on the stopwatch. Jeroen Slaghekke laps the track in a 1:04,161, which is the 3rd fastest lap of the day. Only the experienced British drivers Jake Dennis and Josh Webster were fractionally quicker, while Jeroen left Josh Hill, who scored all pole positions of the winter championship and won races in Formula Renault before, behind him.

“It was still not a straightforward testday though”, Jeroen insists. “I was only able to do a handful of laps in the morning, because a part of the suspension broke at a high speed section of the track and the car got damaged from being launched into the gravel trap. The car had to be repaired with damage to the floor and of course the broken suspension itself had to be replaced.”

It was only in the afternoon, about an hour before the end of the day that Slaghekke was able to get out on track again, and he put himself over the dissapointment of a somewhat shortcut day in good fashion. “My fastest lap was a good lap, but more important was the fact that I could consistently be quick. Which is very important for the races. I was only two tenths off the lap record. It’s fair to say that I know the basics of driving the Formula Renault car now, but there’s still plenty to improve upon once I feel more comfortable with the car and get to know the characteristics of the tyres a bit better.”

Jeroen Slaghekke is eager to demonstrate his qualities the coming season, but he has not yet signed a contract. The 2011 British Formula Ford vice-champion is hoping to land a drive in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup or the British series. “There’s a lot of interest from some good teams, but unfortunately, I still don’t have a full budget. The next couple of weeks will be therefore filled with more hard work to get the budget together for a good season.”

Monday Mar 05, 2012
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