Das leaves Spa with double top five finish

Das leaves Spa with double top five finish

Cameron Das has impressed on his Spa-Francorchamps debut in the BRDC British Formula Three Championship this weekend – securing two top five finishes and another consistent weekend of racing in the highly competitive championship. The 17 year old rookie had little time to get up to speed with the intricacies of the challenging circuit however once again took them in his stride to not only qualify in the top ten but also improve throughout the weekend to finish seventh, fourth and fifth respectively in the three races.

The long and infamous Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium threw a new challenge in the mix for reigning Formula Four US Champion Das this weekend. At seven kilometres qualifying on Friday was always going to be a tricky affair when a tow around the circuit is ever important – the long lap time obviously meant fewer opportunities in which to really find the perfect lap. However Das dealt with the challenge presented to him well and although he was unable to take advantage of the slip streaming effect to enhance his lap time, took the flag in tenth to set his position for the opening race of the weekend.

Race one later that day on Friday afternoon was surprisingly dry despite Spa’s reputation for extreme and fast changing weather conditions. Das was once again a solid runner through the field – gaining two positions on the opening lap and crossing the line in a strong seventh position which ensured him not only good championship points but a great starting position for the reverse grid race on Saturday.

Lining up on the front row of the grid in second Das had a brilliant start to the reverse grid race. The Rockingham victor stayed close behind his Carlin team mate and race leader James Pull as the field streamed through the complicated corners the circuit has to offer. However his other team mate Enaam Ahmed was thrown in to the mix as he took position from Das; the young American would cross the line in an impressive fourth position – fighting hard and battling well with those around him until the end.

The third race of the weekend, set using the drivers’ fastest racing laps, saw Das start from fourth place having once again proven his envious race pace. The opening laps of the race were full of overtakes as everyone took advantage of the slip stream effect; this was also true for Das who, running well within the top five, was trying to take advantage of this himself – battling to get ahead of those around him and break the all-important tow. Following a fast-paced and exciting final race of the weekend, Das crossed the line in fifth position – ensuring two great top five finishes at arguably one of the most challenging circuits on the 2017 calendar.

Das reflected on the weekend, “I think this weekend went pretty well not having raced at Spa before. Two top five positions is a good result but I had hope for a little bit more. Through free practice, we developed the car quite a bit and in qualifying the car was really hooked up. Unfortunately a tow didn’t come at the right time which put us farther down the grid than we wanted despite having pace for the first or second row.

“I did my best to move forward in the rest of the races and I learned a lot of valuable information for racing at Spa specifically. When it comes to racing, it is so different than other tracks because of how massive the straights are so it took some really aggressive defending and attacking. The starts of each of the races were the most memorable though – everyone but the race leader has a tow, so it’s just everyone close together coming out of Eau Rouge and trying to get track position before Les Combes.

“Now that I’ve been at two “F1 style tracks” I feel like my track knowledge has expanded quite a bit, but I’m excited to go back to some tight and narrow English circuits that have greater similarities to the American tracks I’m more accustomed to.”

Das will be back racing in the championship in August when racing gets underway at Brands Hatch for round six of the season.

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Legendary Spa on the horizon for Das

Legendary Spa on the horizon for Das

The next round on the BRDC British Formula Three Championship calendar will take American driver, and up and coming racing star, Cameron Das to the legendary Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium. The circuit, known for its changeable climatic conditions which inevitably lead to exciting and dramatic racing, will host the fifth round of the 2017 season. Das currently sits joint third overall in the standings and looks ahead to the weekend which will see him make his racing debut at the Belgian circuit.

Das, a rookie in the championship, has already tasted an impressive victory this season and will once again take on a brand new circuit in the form of Spa-Francorchamps with some of the most famous corners on the calendar. The seven km track is also the longest of the season meaning that every second on track will count in helping Das get up to speed and in tune around the circuit. Its position within the Ardennes forest also provides some extremely exciting and fast-changing weather conditions – such can be the extreme nature of the weather that one side of the circuit can be perfectly dry while the other drenched in rain.

The circuit has played host to a myriad of racing series including Formula One as well as countless junior category races making it perfectly placed on the calendar for young drivers like Das. The circuit also benefits from multiple overtaking opportunities around the course of the long racing lap.

The weekend will mark the start of the second half of the BRDC British Formula Three season which has already seen Das take part in four rounds, where he’s taken pole positions, a race victory and set fastest race laps in the process. The strong start to his maiden season in the championship ensures that as a rookie he currently sits in a great joint third position as the field leave British circuits for the first time this year. Das’ consistency throughout the four rounds so far at Oulton Park, Rockingham, Snetterton and Silverstone has easily seen him become one of the drivers to beat in the series.

Das said of the upcoming weekend, “Spa is a long track so we have less total laps than we would at a normal track during practice. Maximizing each lap is really important for the overall data collection of the weekend as well. Spa really is at the top of my list of the tracks I’ve been to so far; the combination of high speed and low downforce means that drivers are on the edge all of the time.

“Because of the extent of distance covered at Spa, exits are key in order to maximize the straights and according to data from when we tested there before, I was able to manage that well.  Pouhon is one of the fastest corners in motorsport, so mastering it with a low downforce car will be key for a good middle sector time.”

For the reigning US F4 Champion the fifth round of the season will see him pushing to be back at the front and challenging for wins. He added, “At this point, I’m more than familiar with the car and the format of European racing; now I’ll be focusing on the details of my race craft and Spa is one of the best places in the world to do that. Every day, I’ve learned something new and the quality of my driving from the beginning of the year to now has massively improved. I’ve attained staggering amounts of knowledge from the team, my teammates and competitors, so I really couldn’t have picked a better championship for this stage in my career.

“The points are really tight at the front end of the field but I certainly think I’m capable of a top three or even championship winning year as long as I continue to grow as a driver during this crucial final half of the season.”

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