Podium signals season intentions for Das

Podium signals season intentions for Das

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.”

Das ready for lights out in Estoril

Das ready for lights out in Estoril

The opening round of the 2018 Euroformula Open Championship will get underway this weekend as Cameron Das returns to the cockpit of his Dallara F312 car in Estoril, Portugal. In anticipation of the brand-new season, Das has already taken part in three successful pre-season tests bringing home the first trophy of the season for his Carlin team following a strong podium in the Winter Series event at Paul Ricard.

2018 has already been a productive one for 18-year-old Das; heading to New Zealand in January, the 2016 US Formula 4 Champion raced in the five-round Toyota Racing Series. This event saw Das work on his race craft and produce a stand-out performance during which he impressed with a daring last corner overtake on the final lap while approaching the chequered flag –  the bold and brilliantly executed move was recognized at the Championship’s conclusion as being the best overtake of the Series.

Since then, Das has kept busy with his pre-season preparation after announcing his return to the highly competitive Euroformula Open Championship. Over the course of three pre-season tests in Barcelona, Paul Ricard and Jerez, Das has not only been strong with his pace but has also been providing crucial information back to his Carlin team in regard to car set-up and handling ahead of the season.

Das now looks ahead to the opening round of the season which gets underway at the Autódromo do Estoril, Portugal this weekend. The 2.5-mile circuit, 30 minutes west of Lisbon, will provide a new challenge for the talented American who once again takes on the intricacies of a track unfamiliar to him. Das has been working hard in the simulator ahead of the season and will have two action-packed days of testing on Thursday and Friday in which to get back up to speed, before the first qualifying session of the 2018 Euroformula Open season gets underway on Saturday morning. This will set the grid for the race on Saturday afternoon before Das will have to do it all over again on Sunday with a second qualifying and race to look forward to.

Das said of the upcoming weekend, “I’ve greatly enjoyed my time back in the car recently during winter testing. While it has been cold, I’ve gained tremendously valuable experience on the Michelin dry and wet compound tires. We’ve made progress with the setup as well for a variety of circuit types which we will encounter this season. Estoril seems to be an exciting track with a good mixture of high speed and technical bits, so I’m eager to see our ultimate pace. The forecast looks mostly wet this weekend, but I think that will provide the perfect opportunity to show our slippery condition performance.

“During the testing ban in January and February, I had the opportunity to race in the Toyota Racing Series which utilized the same Michelin compound as Euroformula Open. It was good to get the racing “cobwebs” off and to enter that mindset early in the year. I honestly can’t wait for the starting lights to go out on Saturday!”

To find out more about the championship, or to keep up to date with all the action this weekend, head over to the official website: www.euroformulaopen.net.

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Das completes successful final pre-season test in Jerez

Das completes successful final pre-season test in Jerez

Cameron Das has completed a strong and successful final pre-season test ahead of the 2018 Euroformula Open Championship. Taking on two days of official testing in Jerez, Spain, Das was once again at the sharp end of the grid as he and his Carlin team worked through a full and productive test programme ahead of the eight-round series. This will be the final test before the start of the 2018 Euroformula Open season which gets underway next month in Estoril, Portugal.

For American racer Das, who recently turned 18, the two days of testing at the Spanish circuit allowed him to jump back in to his Euroformula Open car and get to grips with the 4.428km Jerez circuit. Using the two busy days to his advantage he worked through a full programme of both qualifying and race runs in anticipation of the season – as well as providing vital feedback on the performance of the car.

Starting the test on old, used tries Das was quickly on the pace and cemented his championship aspirations; despite the tire disadvantage he was still able to impress and set the third quickest time during the morning and ended the day in fourth overall having completed a total of 84 laps. Using new tires for the second day of the test, Das was at the very top of the time sheets for a large portion of the afternoon before a red flag drew a conclusion to proceedings with the talented racer in fourth position overall.

Over the course of the two days, Das completed a total of 149 laps equalling over 650km; gaining valuable experience and track time ahead of the season opener in Estoril.

Das said of the test, “We made good progress during the past two days here in Jerez. We started on Wednesday with a good car following on from testing last time out at Paul Ricard, so I was quickly up to third overall despite being on used tires that morning. Then for the second day on new tires we were in the top four again.

“Throughout the rest of the test we made multiple changes to the car to give us a better knowledge as we head in to the season for future rounds – and Jerez specifically. With all this information gathered, I’m confident that we can be on top for the first round in Estoril.”

The 2016 F4 US Champion now looks ahead to the season opener at Estoril in April where he will be looking to replicate his strong winter testing form.

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Das claims Winter Series podium at Paul Ricard

Das claims Winter Series podium at Paul Ricard

In his first on-track appearance since announcing his 2018 season plans, Cameron Das has once again impressed with his pace during the Euroformula Open Winter Series Event at Paul Ricard, France. The young American finished the two-day event with a podium finish for third place having been a protagonist throughout testing on Friday and Saturday morning. The Winter Series event marks the second Euroformula Open official test of the 2018 season with Das now looking ahead to the third and final test at Jerez later this month before the season gets underway in April.

The two-day event at Paul Ricard consisted of a full day of productive testing beginning on Friday for Das and his Carlin team. Using the six sessions on offer to his advantage, Das immediately became a driver to watch and had set the second quickest time of the third session as he successfully reacquainted himself with his Dallara F312 car. The 17-year old Baltimore native continued his strong form throughout both Friday and Saturday morning to set the third fastest time overall.

With the successful test plan complete, his focus quickly turned to Saturday’s qualifying and double-header race event at the French Formula One spec circuit. The 30-minute session was a strong shoot out event for Das who made sure that he lined up on the third row of the grid in sixth overall ahead of the opening race of the weekend; and as the lights went out, Das once again had the mentality of improving on his grid position. True to form, the 2016 F4 US Champion fought well throughout the 14-lap race to gain position and take the flag in fifth overall.

Keen for another strong result, Das was back on the grid for the final race of the weekend just a couple of short hours later. In what is becoming a trade mark for the young American, Das launched brilliantly off the line and took the lead of the race on the opening lap. A tough battle ensued between the top three drivers over the next few laps and, despite some fantastic defending from Das, the positions changed as the fight raged on. Crossing the line in third place Das took a strong podium, signalling his talent and intentions for the upcoming season in the highly competitive Euroformula Open championship.

“I think we’ve had a solid showing this weekend at Paul Ricard,” Das reflected on the event. “While we would’ve liked to be on the top step, I think a podium finish is still a good result. I do think we had the potential to be on the top, but as a team we focused more on testing changes to benefit us in the future. The conditions we had this weekend will probably never happen during the race season, so we focused more on changes that would benefit the conditions we will see later down the road.

“I want to say a huge thanks to the Carlin boys for their commitment as always, and to my sponsors Data Federal, Bertil Roos Racing School, and Autobahn Indoor Speedway. Now, on to Jerez!”

The final official pre-season Euroformula Open test takes place at Jerez later this month.

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Das confirms full Euroformula Open campaign for 2018

Das confirms full Euroformula Open campaign for 2018

Cameron Das has confirmed today that he will compete in the 2018 Euroformula Open Championship this season with British team Carlin. Up and coming race star Das has already tasted the Championship having participated in a handful of races last year however turns his focus to a full eight-round campaign where he will compete on world-class circuits over the course of the season.

Following a solid winter campaign in the TRS New Zealand, Das is straight back at it with the announcement of his full-time 2018 plans – and has already been testing with his Carlin race team in Barcelona. Das, who already has a good relationship with the team after a stellar season racing in the BRDC British Formula Three Championship, will continue the partnership as he embarks on a pre-season test programme continuing with Paul Ricard later this week.

17-year-old Das has enjoyed an enviable career to date despite his young age. In 2016 the Baltimore-native was crowned the very first Formula Four US Champion taking an astonishing nine race victories along the way. This incredible achievement at such a young age catapulted his career and led to a switch to Europe for the 2017 season.

Making the most of the year, Das competed in the BRDC British Formula Three Championship with Carlin – enjoying a brilliant race win at Rockingham and a further six podiums.  Das followed this up with his debut in the Euroformula Open Championship for the final four rounds of the season. Using the experience to get to grips with brand new tracks, Das was a regular top ten finisher and impressed in a field with drivers who had been competing throughout the entirety of the season.

In anticipation of the 2018 season Das made the call to race in the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand, a five-round event one-mark series. Das endured some bad luck throughout the event with a couple of mechanical issues however ended the season with recognition for his stunning last-lap, and last-corner, overtake to claim the Best Overtaking Manoeuvre of 2018 award of the series.

“I am elated to announce my involvement in Euroformula Open with Carlin this year,” said Das. “The championship is incredibly strong, and it offers a platform which I believe will prepare me well for other European championships in the future. I’m glad I have the opportunity to work with Carlin which has had an incredible influence in my development thus far. I have no doubts that we will be championship contenders from the start. They truly have an A-list group of people working on our 2018 effort.  I am especially excited to work with Harvey Spencer as my engineer, so I feverishly anticipate our results this year.

“Personally, I’ve been working incredibly hard during this off-season to best prepare for this championship. I believe my participation in the Toyota Racing Series, recent winter tests, and off-track physical training have put me in better form ahead of a season than ever before. I am incredibly grateful for my sponsors, the Bertil Roos Racing School and Autobahn Indoor Speedway, for helping to make my wildest dreams a reality.”

Trevor Carlin added, “We are thrilled to welcome Cameron to our Euroformula Open team for the 2018 season. We’ve enjoyed working with him since he first starting testing with us before he raced in the BRDC British F3 Championship in one of our cars. He’s already had a taste of the Euroformula Open car in racing conditions so we’re very much looking forward to the upcoming season working together where we know he will be a podium and race winning contender throughout.”

Das will be on track later this week for the second Euroformula Open test at Paul Ricard.

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Das ends TRS as recipient of Greatest Overtaking Manoeuvre

Das ends TRS as recipient of Greatest Overtaking Manoeuvre

The final round of the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand has yielded a solid result for 17-year-old racer Cameron Das as he took part in the final three races of the 2018 Championship at Manfeild. Das, who stormed in to seventh place in the second race of the weekend, leaves New Zealand having enjoyed some brilliant wheel to wheel action over the course of the five-round event. Das also rounded off the series with recognition for his fantastic last corner overtake at Taupo as he was awarded for pulling off the Greatest Overtake Manoeuvre of the entire series – an accomplishment and testament to his race-craft.

In what has been a hard-fought and exciting 2018 championship, Das headed to the Manfeild Autocourse full of anticipation for the final round of the season. Taking to the 3km circuit for free practice Das once again endeavoured to get up to speed quickly – learning the intricacies well, he placed his Victory Motor Racing FT40 car strongly in the top five as he looked ahead to the rest of the weekend.

Qualifying was a tense affair for the entire field, a damp but drying track meant that slicks were the way forward. However, the drama was two-fold for Das as he struggled with a brake issue which seemed to intensify as the track dried out. This left him down the order on the timing screens and also unfortunately followed him in to the opening race of the weekend which became a case of damage control.

However race two was where Das once again made his mark on the field. Starting from 11th position, the 2016 F4 US Champion was keen to get away quickly and gain progress. A brilliant start meant he was positioned perfectly to improve on his weekend. Making quick work of gaining four positions early on and challenging those ahead, Das was once again impressive with his race craft and took the flag in seventh position. He finished the season off with an 11th place in the final round.

For 17-year-old Das the Championship was rounded off with recognition at the end of season banquet as he was honored with the award for the Greatest Overtaking Manoeuvre of the entire TRS New Zealand for his astonishing last corner dive at Taupo. Das’ lightning starts, and strong race craft have been a staple of the series; enjoying the wheel to wheel action with his competitors and not giving up when things looked tough the talented American has gained a raft of experience from the event and leaves New Zealand full of confidence for the season ahead.

“This final weekend at Manfield was another with many highs and lows” reflected Das. “In practice, we were looking really strong on both new and used tires. Qualifying threw us yet another challenge with a drying track on slicks, but I felt confident in these conditions. Despite having the confidence to qualify well, I was hindered by a brake issue that progressively became worse whilst the track was drying. We believed we found the issue before race one, but only a few laps in it became apparent that it wasn’t solved. Race one was primarily about surviving the race with limited stopping ability.

“With the issue diagnosed and addressed, race two was truly enjoyable. Having to start in 11th, I made my way to seventh in just a few laps and I was challenging the two cars in front of me all the way to the checkered flag. Being a part of the New Zealand GP was truly a humbling experience; I’ve only been to a few countries that cherish Motorsport the way Kiwis do, and to be associated with the pinnacle of it is mind bending.”

Having taken part in 15 races, enjoyed incredible racing action and impressed with his lightning reactions on the starting grid Das said of the experience, “Looking back at these last five weeks, I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time. We had a lot of bad luck which forced us to show tremendous strength as a team in positions of weakness. I was honored to be the recipient of the Greatest Overtaking Maneuver Award of 2018. Improving my race craft is exactly what I came to this championship to do, and I believe this award proves I succeeded in that task. I’ve also met so many incredible people, including the entirety of the Victory Racing team.

“I must thank Mo, Julian, and Jose for giving their all this season and always keeping their heads up. I must also thank Toyota, Nico, and Sarah for organizing such a well put together championship. I honestly feel like I’ve never been more prepared for a race season. I also must thank those who are responsible for bringing me to this spectacular country: my sponsors – Autobahn Indoor Speedway, Bertil Roos Racing School, and Meguiars Polish. And I also must thank my parents, of course, who continue to allow and assist me in pursuing my ultimate dream.”

Das, who finished the event in 12th position overall, now looks ahead to returning to Europe where he will be announcing his 2018 season plans shortly.

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Best result for Das in Taupo with fantastic last-minute move

Best result for Das in Taupo with fantastic last-minute move

Cameron Das has clinched his best finish in the 2018 Castrol Toyota Racing Series New Zealand following the conclusion of the penultimate round of the Championship. The up and coming American racer pulled off a supreme last corner move on the very last lap to steal sixth position as his own at a track he has clearly enjoyed racing on this weekend. The strong haul of points sees the 2016 F4 US Champion move up a position in the Championship standings with one final round to go this coming weekend.

Racing at the Taupo circuit 17-year-old Das was immediately a challenger in his Victory Motor Racing car. Using the practice sessions on offer to his full advantage, Das once again proved that he had the pace within him. In free practice, he topped the time sheets as he and the team looked ahead to qualifying on Saturday morning.

But changeable weather conditions ensured that this would be no simple task making the prospect of qualifying an even trickier affair. Running on slick tyres in the wet conditions Das was able to deal with this well and put in a stellar performance to see him start the first and final races of the weekend in eighth and fifth respectively.

Lining up for the opening race of the weekend Das once again jumped off the line well and was making strong progress within the field. Up to sixth in no time at all, Das’ race was then shattered with a front wing failure which ruled him out of the race completely. As a result, he was forced to start out of position and from the back of the grid for the second race of the weekend.

Keeping his focus well and truly on those in front of him, Das’ trademark launch off the line was another impressive feat and saw him brilliantly manoeuvre his way past those in front and on to the back of the top five challengers. However an uncharacteristic mistake saw him run off track and fall to the back of the grid before he was later spun around by a competitor leaving him to finish in 11th overall.

Race three provided the strongest result of the weekend for Das, and his best result of the 2018 Castrol TRS New Zealand to date. Starting from fifth on the grid, following his great qualifying performance, Das enjoyed an action-packed, fast-paced race with his shining move coming on the last corner of the very last lap when he pulled off an incredibly brave overtake to clinch sixth position as his own upon crossing the line. The result also sees Das improve on his overall championship position as the final round of the 2018 season faces him this coming weekend.

“This weekend was certainly a positive one from the start,” Das said of the Taupo round. “We ended practice quickest which was a good confidence boost going into qualifying. But then with the inevitable island weather, we had a slicks-on-wet qualifying which made the session a bit of a lottery. In the first race, I had another demon start, and I ran sixth until an unfortunate front wing failure ended my race.

“Starting from the back in the second race, I had another brilliant start and had already gained quite a few positions however I made a mistake, went off track and fell back to last. I overtook a couple more cars to try and get something from the race, but I was spun by another car so 11th was the final position. My start in the final race wasn’t quite a strong as the other two, but I methodically worked my way back through the pack. On the final lap, I made an incredibly late move in the final corner that put me just 0.08 ahead of my fellow competitor resulting in a sixth-place finish. It was one of the best overtakes of my career, and it goes to show how much the TRS New Zealand racing series can bring out in a driver.

“I offer a huge thanks to the Victory Racing team for working so hard this weekend, and again to my partners Autobahn Indoor Speedway, Bertil Roos Racing School, and Meguiars Polish for providing this opportunity!”

The final round of the 2018 TRS New Zealand takes place next weekend at Manfeild.

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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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