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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