Cameron Das has enjoyed a promising start to his 2018 Euroformula Open Championship campaign claiming a strong podium position during the opening round of the season in Estoril, Portugal. Das made a storming start during the first race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon to immediately gain positions and work his way in to third place to signal his intentions for the rest of the season. Race two saw Das score more valuable points as he sits fourth overall in the driver standings.
Heading to Estoril for the very first time, Das looked to make the most of two days of official pre-season testing which took place on Thursday and Friday. However it was a challenging couple of days for everyone with wet conditions in the morning giving way only in the afternoon to a drying track. This in turn meant that little was gained regarding car set up as his Carlin team headed in to the Saturday morning qualifying session.
The first 30-minute shoot-out in dry conditions was a frustrating session for American racer Das, despite showing great speed during his first stint. Coming up against traffic when he fitted his new tires for the second run, Das found his fastest lap compromised which left him somewhat out of position having qualified in sixth.
In true form, Das didn’t let this get to him. The talented 18-year-old set his sights on the challenge ahead, got his head down and launched incredibly well off the line to immediately tick two cars off his list. Receiving a small tap in the first corner, Das continued on his way and began closing in on Marcos Siebert ahead. Cutting the advantage down over the next lap, it took no time at all before Das was able to pull off a brave move heading in to the first corner of the second lap to steal third position as his own. This allowed the 2016 US F4 Champion to really show his pace – setting the fastest lap of the race in the process. The rest of the race was a processional affair for Das; his fastest lap stood the duration and he crossed the line in third to collect his first podium of the 2018 Euroformula Open Championship.
Das said of the race, “I had a bit of bad luck in qualifying with traffic so wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be on the grid, but I had a great start to the race and was able to gain two positions by the second corner despite getting a little tap out there. Then I passed Siebert the following lap and focused on tyre management from that point and got my first podium of the season.”
Sunday’s qualifying saw a return to the wet conditions. Das pushed hard throughout and set the fifth quickest time ahead of the second and final race of the weekend. Launching well again on his slick tires during the afternoon’s race Das looked to make a move at the first corner however found himself squeezed, having to pull out and slot back in to fifth in the slippery conditions. The rest of the 19-lap race saw Das cut down the gap to Petru Florescu ahead who seemed to be struggling in the latter half of the race; despite closing in well, Das ran out of laps and settled for sixth position – scoring strong points in the second race of the weekend.
Das said of the weekend, ““We’ve had a really solid weekend as a team. Matheus [Iorio, Carlin teammate] and I are tied for fourth in the standings, and we know we have the pace to run at the front. Race two was quite tricky with a drying track, but we gained valuable data for future weekends.
“I want to add a huge thanks the team and to my sponsors Worldeye, Ignitio, Didthat, Autobahan Indoor Speedway and the Bertil Roos Racing School for all their support during this opening weekend of the season.”