Challenging weekend but recovery drives for Das

Challenging weekend but recovery drives for Das

It was a tough weekend of racing for Cameron Das as he took part in the third round of the 2018 Castrol Toyota Racing Series (TRS) New Zealand at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park. Despite this, the American pulled on his experience to recover well and claim a top-eight finish in the final race of the weekend. A mechanical issue in the opening race, stopping him from accomplishing his trademark fast start, followed by contact in the second race summed up a tough third weekend in the five-round series. 17-year-old Das can be consoled by his clear pace during practice which saw him top the timesheets of the fourth session – once again proving his raw speed.

The third round of the TRS New Zealand took place at the Hampton Downs Motorsport Park – a challenging clockwise circuit with the short but fast lap providing exciting racing. Enjoying the circuit from the word go Das was immediately on pace and enjoying the track – setting the second quickest time in the opening session the 2016 F4 US Champion went one better and topped the fourth practice session in his Victory Motor Racing Toyota FT50.

Bringing everything he had learnt in to qualifying, the up and coming racer qualified in tenth position to start the first race of the weekend but was left feeling as though something was missing from the overall performance in the changing conditions. Disaster then struck at the start of the race when a clutch failure sadly saw him to fall down the grid. Full of determination, Das refused to let it define his race; working his way back up to 11th position in a solid recovery drive.

However his luck would take a further knock in race two when, while attempting an impressive overtaking move, a competitor turned in on him, sent him on to the grass and ultimately ended his race. Putting the disappointment of the previous races behind him, Das lined up at the back of the grid for the final race of the weekend and was able to manoeuvre his Victory Motor Racing car nicely to gain positions. Initially gaining well on the opening lap, Das kept up his pace and efforts to continue his strong progress throughout the course of the 25 lap-race right up until the end to show grit in his recovery drive up to eighth as the flag fell.

Das reflected on his weekend, “We were up to speed really quickly this weekend. In the new tire session of FP4, I was P1, so I was feeling fairly confident going to qualifying. Unfortunately, we didn’t adapt to the rapidly changing track conditions as we should have, and the results put the whole team at the back of the field. I knew that on used tires the pace would come back to us somewhat, but it’s a tough track to pass on so the start was crucial.

“Unfortunately, I had a clutch failure at the start of race one so I had to work back up to 11th. In the second race, while attempting to overtake two cars, one of them turned into me on the straight when I was already pinned against the grass on the outside which resulted in the termination of both of our races. Race three was a bit more positive than the first two though. I started 13th, and through good positioning on lap one and a race-long battle to the final laps, I was able to recover to eighth position.

“Obviously 8th isn’t the result any of us want, but my head is up and I’m looking forward to Taupo where we know we can show our pace again and enjoy a strong weekend.”

The penultimate round of the 2018 TRS New Zealand gets underway next weekend (1st – 4th February) at Taupo.

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Das improves championship position with three top ten finishes

Das improves championship position with three top ten finishes

Cameron Das has impressed with three top ten finishes in the Toyota Racing Series (TRS) New Zealand this weekend following the second round of the competitive Championship at the Teretonga Circuit. Back behind the wheel of his Victory Motor Racing Toyota FT-50 car, Das made the most of his second appearance in the five-round series and was impressive in the racing action which was once again full of strong starts and great overtaking moves for the young American. Achieving three top ten finishes over the course of the weekend, Das gained a position in the overall Championship standings as he now looks ahead to the third round of the 2018 season, upcoming in just a few short days.

Taking to the track for the second round of the season Das was sure to make an impression from the word go. Getting up to speed immediately, the 17-year-old was fully focused on the practice sessions on offer and improved well to finish comfortably within the top five.

In the opening qualifying of the weekend, Das was strong in his eighth position but felt that his pace was faster than had been proven on track however he was once again notable in his race pace throughout the weekend.

For the opening round of the weekend at the short 2.57km Teretonga circuit, Das lined up on the grid in eighth and finished well after 20 laps in ninth. After his first taste of racing action, Das then lined up for race two and enjoyed a fantastic show of action from start to finish. Already known for his fast starts in previous series, the 2016 F4 US Champion didn’t disappoint as he sped past those ahead in the initial stages. Sustaining his strong pace, which he had already proven earlier in the weekend, the young American continued to impress and was soon up to sixth position. As the flag fell, Das finished in seventh collecting great points for his championship campaign and continuing a weekend of strong results.

Rounding off the weekend, Das then lined up in eighth on the starting grid and made his way out for the final race of the weekend. In another strong showing, the up and coming American star finished in eighth position marking three great top ten finishes and once again proving his race pace and his consistency; consistency which has seen him gain a position in the championship standings this weekend.

Das reflected on the weekend, “This weekend we made really strong improvements that allowed us to recover a bit from the last round. After being in the top five in practice, we were a bit disappointed to qualify eighth because our race pace was really good, but it’s such a difficult place to overtake with all the aero wash that comes with the high-speed nature of this track.

“The highlight of the weekend was certainly in Race two when I made a lightning start and passed two cars before two further cars. Then on the second lap, I made an overtake for sixth place going into turn one and almost captured fifth with an “around the outside” move in turn one.

“While mid-pack results aren’t what I want, I know I have the potential to be up there with a bit more fine-tuning. Once again, a huge thank you to my sponsors: Autobahn Indoor Speedway, Bertil Roos Racing School, and Meguiars Polish.”

The third round of the season takes place next weekend at the Hampton Downs Motorsport Park as Das takes on the 2.63km circuit.

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Das enjoys first taste of TRS New Zealand

Das enjoys first taste of TRS New Zealand

Cameron Das has started the 2018 season in New Zealand as he takes part in the Toyota Racing Series (TRS) five-round event. The young and talented American racer was back out in competitive action this weekend for the first time since the conclusion of his 2017 campaign in October. Racing for Victory Motor Racing in the five-round series Das got the first taste of his 1.8-litre Toyota FT50 car as he participated in three races this weekend at Ruapuna Park, Christchurch.

Relishing the prospect of another new challenge, Das embraced the weekend from the off and went in to the five practice sessions with the intention of getting to grips with the 3.33km, anti-clockwise Ruapuna Park circuit. However, it was a challenging task facing the 2016 F4 US Champion, and the rest of the field, with wet conditions to contend with. Das took the changeable conditions in his stride and on Friday afternoon, in the final practice of the weekend, he posted the second fastest lap time as he looked forward to qualifying and the first of three races on Saturday.

The first qualifying of the weekend threw a further challenge in the mix as the tricky decision between slick and wet tires loomed over the field. As it was, this dilemma would also roll in to the second qualifying session later in the day adding an extra dimension to the already tense shoot-out. Das maintained his focus well to classify nicely in ninth as the flag fell on both sessions.

The opening race of the weekend saw Das launch off the line for the first time in earnest in his Toyota FT50 Victory Motor Racing prepared car; initially gaining well the American enjoyed a solid debut race of the season crossing the line in 11th place. However bad luck would hit following an unfortunate engine issue which forced him to retire prematurely during the second race of the weekend.

Picking himself back up from the disappointment, and starting from an improved eighth on the grid, Das was keen to finish the weekend with a strong result. Fighting well throughout the race the rising American star gained a position to seventh where he would eventually cross the line – showing his strong potential for the remainder of the upcoming 2018 series.

Das said of his first taste of the TRS New Zealand event, “This was certainly one of the more challenging race weekends I’ve had in a while. Even though we had three days of testing, all were wet and one was wet enough to cancel the session. Our first time on slicks was during qualifying in damp conditions which presented a great challenge for all the drivers. For the races, the sky finally cleared up, and we had our first proper dry tire runs.

“In each of the races, I managed to move forward on the opening laps despite having mechanical issues the first two races. In the second race, the engine had a loss of power which forced me to retire. While I’m certain we had the potential to fight at the front this weekend, I feel as though I gained a plethora of experience that rarely occurs in one race weekend.

“I’d like to thank Victory Racing for working so diligently throughout the weekend, and to my sponsors, Autobahn Indoor Speedway, Meguiars Polish, and the Bertil Roos Racing School for granting this incredible opportunity.”

With little time to spare, Das will be racing at Teretonga Park, Invercargill next weekend as the second round of the Series takes place from the 18th – 21st January 2018.

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