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Good performance and bad luck in the duins of Zandvoort

Already in the Friday test sessions on the demanding track in the duins of Zandvoort Nicolas found a very good performance with his engineers and impressed with the 8th best time in the field. Next morning he continued the good work in the Free Practice to find the perfect set up for the following Qualifying. Finally he did an incredible good lap and finished 7th, best result for a 2004 car in this season ever, and surprising most of the people positively. But also Vanina did a great job on the track and finished 17th as second best 2004 driver.

In Qualifying unfortunately Nicolas got destroyed his best lap by traffic as he had to overtake other drivers, what coast him about one second and finished 17th. ”We didn’t achieve the best time we could have today. Too bad that I had the misfortune of three cars leaving the pit lane in front of me while I was out on the second set of tyres. I managed to overtake two of them but for the third car, I had to leave the racing line and that cost me time in front of the chicane. My tyres picked up dirt, locked, and I had to stop my lap.”

Vanina finished 18th and for the first time she was quicker in a Qualifying Practice than Mercedes´female driver Susie Stoddart. "Today I’ve got reason to celebrate because I didn’t finish in the last position! Considering the gap when we started on Friday, we’re now pretty close to the guys in front of us. We’re not lacking a lot. We improved by three seconds overnight. That’s great!”

Sunday afternoon, after a rainy morning, the race started with sun. Vanina did an excellent start again and jumped up to 14th, but unfortunately after a collision with another car lost again positions. At breaking at turn 8 Vanina locked the wheels and couldn´t avoid a crash with Nicolas. So Vanina´s race was already finished before it really started. "It seems like I'm having a streak of very good starts but a problem with crossing the finish line. My engineer was satisfied with the performances this weekend - except for the early ‘end' of the race of course. Now I need to start doing better in qualifying.”

Because of too much wheelspin Nicolas couldn´t gain positions in the start. During fighting he ended in the grabble, lost one lap and his rear right wing. Nevertheless he continued driving. Till the first stop he got more confident with the car and already showed good laptimes. With the new tyres Nicolas again showed his impressing performace of the last two days and always did laptimes as the Top Ten drivers did. Last stint, after a very fast second pitstop, Nicolas was really familiar with the car and was the fastest man in the field. Finally he finished 16th but with fifth fastest lap time of all he showed the real potential for this race and what would have been possible.

Audi driver Tom Kristensen won the thrilling race ahead of Bernd Schneider, Martin Tomczyk got third. With his victory, Kristensen reduced Bernd Schneider’s margin in the championship standings to ten points, with another three rounds to go and 30 points at stake.


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