Breakthrough for Jeroen Slaghekke at Zandvoort

After a pole position, a second place and a fourth place finish Jeroen Slaghekke looks back at his latest raceweekend with mixed feelings. “This weekend in Zandvoort was the first time this season that most things went according to plan.

The car was competitive and I could really attack”, the talented rookie from Wassenaar says. “Resultwise however there was a lot more to achieve than we eventually managed.”

Together with the Van Amersfoort Racing (VAR) team, Jeroen Slaghekke has been working hard all season to be a top competitor in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup. On his home track, the team make a major breakthrough in set up in the two practice sessions. In qualifying, Jeroen is surprised with the much improved handling. “The balance of the car was fantastic, a real pleasure to drive.”

The result shows on the stopwatch: Jeroen Slaghekke grabs his second pole position of the season. In the following session Jeroen is on his way for another fast lap, but saw his attempt disrupted by a red flag. “Unfortunately that’s all part of racing”, the driver says, whose first traffic filled flying lap was still enough to line up sixth on the grid for the second race of the weekend.

The opening race of the weekend on saturday morning was in difficult conditions with a drying track on slicks. After a good start for Jeroen, Josh Hill (son of ex-F1 world champion Damon Hill) would still eventually pass Jeroen in the treacherous conditions. “It was my first time with this car in these conditions, and I thereby lack a bit of experience.” Nonetheless, the rookie was still happy with his second place finish, which meant another podium and more points.

In the second race of the weekend the VAR-driver has a great start and catapults himself from sixth on the grid to fourth by the first corner. “The car felt very strange from the start, and I eventually went off the track in the Kumho corner.” Jeroen is launched by the holes in the grass, causing the rear suspension to break. “The team then worked extremely hard all night to repair the damage to the suspension, resulting in lining up on the grid with a competitive car for race 3.”

The last race of the weekend was filled with safety cars, and ended after only four laps. In those four laps, Jeroen changes position three times. “Just before the first safety car I had passed Jake Dennis, but on the restart he overtook me back. A lap later however I overtook him again.” His successful fight brings a fourth place from fifth on the grid. “It’s a shame that the race was over so early, because the car felt great and a podium was definitely possible.”

With two races to go Jeroen Slaghekke is fourth in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup standings. The season’s finale will be at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.

Standings Northern European Cup Formula Renault after 18 of 20 races:
1. Jake Dennis 363 points, 2. Jordan King 307, 3. Josh Hill 273, 4. Jeroen Slaghekke 233, 5. Steijn Schothorst 190.

Monday Sep 24, 2012
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