Jeroen Slaghekke makes giant step forward at Oschersleben

Taking pole position in only your third raceweekend as a rookie. Jeroen Slaghekke did just that during the third raceweekend of the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup at Oschersleben, Germany. The much wanted first podium in Formula Renault 2.0 didn’t happen this time for the talented driver from Wassenaar, but with a fifth, sixth and fourth place respectively for the three races, the rookie could take the fight to the fastest drivers in the series.

Monday Jul 09, 2012
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More points for Jeroen Slaghekke at the Nurburgring

Jeroen Slaghekke had some work to do at the famous Nürburgring during the second raceweekend of the NEC Formula Renault 2.0. After a difficult qualifying the racing driver from Wassenaar was on a charge for points in the races. The 2011 British Formula Ford vice-champion fought back from midpack to salvage some points from midpack with a 14th and 13th place. 

‘’It’s been a difficult weekend. The races were very intense”, as Jeroen describes the culture during the second raceweekend of the Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0. He had big issues with his tyres in qualifying at the German circuit.

As a consequence, Jeroen had to settle for a starting position in midpack: P20 for race 1 and P21 for race 2 in a field of 36 drivers. “You know it’s going to be a tough weekend if you have to start both races from midpack. The problems we had with the tyres in qualifying were not going to be solved easily, and overtaking around the short circuit of the Nürburgring also isn’t simple.” That proved to be an understatement, as in midpack no driver has anything to lose and they all drive with excessive risk to get to the front. 

“I needed eyes in the back of my head. Halfway through the first race I saw a driver brake way too late for the chicane. I decided not to turn in to avoid an accident. He shot past, missed the corner and spun. If I had turned in, my race would’ve been over.” Jeroen stayed out of trouble and meanwhile made up 6 places to finish 14th. 

The second race consisted of two parts after a red flag following a crash. After the restart, Jeroen had 19 minutes to make up some places from 21st on the grid. “It was quite a difficult race, because for most of the race I was stuck in packs with a lot of turbulent air from the cars in front of me.” Nonetheless, Jeroen still managed to make up 8 places to finish 13th.

“This was absolutely not what we were aiming for this weekend. We have homework to do, because we know we don't belong so far off the pace. As a driver, I learned a lot from having to come through the field from midpack and keep the car in one piece at the same time avoiding all the trouble. Which isn’t quite the easiest thing to do with so many drivers around you trying to make up places as well.” Jeroen and his team Van Amersfoort Racing were rewarded with 15 points after the two races. 

After the second raceweekend of the season, Jeroen Slaghekke is now 6th in the championship, one place up since his last raceweekend. The next races are at the Oschersleben circuit in Germany from the 5th of July until the 8th of July. 

Photo: Chris Schotanus

Saturday Jun 23, 2012
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Jeroen Slaghekke in top ten during debut weekend

During his debut weekend in Formula Renault 2.0, Jeroen Slaghekke has directly demonstrated his talent. On the German Hockenheimring, the 2011 British Formula Ford Vice-Champion finished sixth, eleventh, and seventh in the Van Amersfoort Racing (VAR) Formula Renault 2.0 car with a grid of 39 cars.

The talent from Wassenaar got a crash course in racing in the Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0. “Racing on slicks in the wet, safety car situations, restarts, competitors crashing into each other, and starting from pole position”, as Jeroen sketches his adventure at the famous Hockenheimring that took place only two days after signing a contract with the Van Amersfoort Racing team.

The goal of the rookie was to lay a solid foundation of points on which to continue the season, but it clearly became more than just that. It all started with a great qualifying session. “Conditions were very tricky with a drying track, but I kept my cool, pushed where it was possible and was cautious where it was needed.” That strategy brought Jeroen a 4th place starting position in an ultracompetitive field of 39 cars including the top Eurocup runners.

Jeroen would eventually go on to finish his debut race in Formula Renault 2.0 in sixth place. “I made a good start, but was eventually passed by some more experienced Formula Renault drivers. I chose to settle for the points in sixth. Furthermore, sixth place means pole position for the final race of the weekend.”

Jeroen started and finished the second race in eleventh place, after being caught out by traffic and red flags in a tough qualifying session. “On my flying lap, the session was red flagged and I had to abort. Tough luck, but that’s racing. Considering the circumstances, it could’ve been worse than eleventh so I wasn’t too disappointed. The race was rather boring, everyone was pretty much on the same sort of pace, and overtaking was therefore very tough. I did however score some more points.”

On the Sunday, Jeroen Slaghekke started the last race of the weekend from pole position. I am not that happy about my start, the car was starting to creep so I had to come off the throttle to avoid a jumpstart. Right at that moment, the lights went out. Needless to say, my start wasn’t very special and I lost a position.’’ While fighting to regain first place, Jeroen lost another position and was lying in third place before it started raining heavily and the safety car was deployed.

“Just before the safety car came out and it was already raining, I got a little sideways and in doing so drove over a wet cerb. I made a full 360 degree spin before rejoining in 9th place. A costly mistake that I very much regret, and has been a tough lesson.” Jeroen however recovered back to 7th place on a track that was completely soaked for the rest of the race.

“Scoring some more points was great, but thinking about the fact that a podium finish would’ve been possible hurts”, Jeroen admits. “But I have to be realistic, I have barely tested the past winter, and the tracks are all new to me. Finishing in the top ten twice, and scoring points in all races is therefore not too bad, and a reason to be happy about the weekend. It is also a solid base for the rest of the season.”

After the opening weekend at the Hockenheimring Jeroen Slaghekke is currently seventh in the standings and the highest ranked of six Dutch drivers. The next races are at the Nurburgring during the weekend of the 21st of June.

Monday Apr 23, 2012
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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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