Cameron Das has impressed with his raw speed at Spa-Francorchamps as the third round of the 2018 Euroformula Open season concluded. The talented American racer was immense with his one lap pace in qualifying to line up on the front row of the grid for the opening race of the weekend and stormed in to the lead. Despite his brilliant race pace, heartbreak was to come when he was unceremoniously taken out of the lead of the race following a move from a competitor which was only ever going to end in tears. As a result, Das found himself a passenger as he was thrown into the barriers; devastatingly seeing what would have been well-deserved maiden win fall away from him.
From the very start of the weekend it was clear that Das was going to be a force to be reckoned with. Throughout practice on Friday he was consistent and fast in his Carlin car – topping the time sheets for the day. On Saturday morning the 2016 F4 USA Champion was once again one to watch throughout the 30-minute qualifying session. Das was a constant challenger and in the very final moments jumped up to secure second place as his own.
Starting on the dirty side of the grid Das held his nerve well as he ran up Eau Rouge and Raidillon to get a fantastic slip-stream effect and take the lead of the race with a brilliantly brave move. However his progress was halted a little when a safety car came out on track which also cut his lead down as the field bunched up. In turn, this allowed Marcus Siebert to close in on him and the pair fought over the next few laps – trading positions with Das holding the upper hand throughout.
Siebert made a challenge on Das for the lead of the race a short while later as the pair went in to Les Combes. Unfortunately, Siebert out-braked himself, speared out of control across the track and sent Das hurtling into the barriers; ultimately out of the race.
Putting the disappointment of Saturday behind him Das picked himself up and had another shot at things on Sunday. Once again, his pace was clear to see but traffic on his final flying lap would hold him back and see him qualify out of position in tenth for the final race of the weekend. Focusing on the challenges ahead Das was determined to prove his pace again and collect some well-deserved points. Getting a great start to the race he was fully lit as he made his way through the field – fighting with his team mate, who he cleverly overtook on the penultimate lap at the last chicane, Das took the flag in fifth position.
“It’s been a roller coaster of a weekend,” Das said of his first Euroformula Open race weekend at Spa. “Right from the word go, we were quick. On Saturday, we qualified second despite catching a slower car during the fast lap. In the race, I took the lead going into Les Combes and I held it until the safety car came out. Siebert and I battled back and forth for a bit until Siebert out-braked himself while trying to overtake around the outside into Les Combes. He unfortunately didn’t take safety into account when re-entering the track and ended up sending me into the wall while I was leading the race. I was quite disappointed that it ended that way, but our pace was undeniable.
“On Sunday, we were once again rapid in qualifying with a projected pole position time but we were unfortunately blocked by another driver who was preparing his own fast lap in the chicane. As a result, we started tenth for race two. Together with my teammate, we quickly worked our way up to fifth and sixth. Through ‘bump-drafting’ and ‘leap-frogging,’ we managed to close the gap significantly to the podium positions in final laps, but it wasn’t enough. Instead, we battled back and forth on the last lap for fifth which I ultimately was able to secure.”