Dams, WSR, Round 6, Nurburgring
The Sarthe team, which did not have a great weekend in Russia, was back on the winning trail in Germany thanks to Carlos Sainz, who reminded his rivals just who was boss on Saturday, by adding a pole position and a victory to his season’s tally, which helped him to maintain a comfortable advance in the championship (39 points) in spite of a collision that proved fatal to his hopes in race 2 on Sunday. As Norman Nato scored precious points on Sunday the DAMS team also has a good lead in the teams’ ratings.
In free practice the two drivers showed that they were on the pace (Sainz, P5 and Nato P6) confirming that they had the right setups. This was underlined by Sainz’s superb pole position, which demonstrated his exceptional speed. Nato showed a good pace at the start of the session but then slipped back to 15thplace on Saturday’s grid. The young Spaniard, a Red Bull protégé, walked away with race 1, while despite his obvious determination his French team-mate could not finish any higher than twelfth.
On Sunday, the capricious weather in the Eifel Mountains played a trick on the drivers with a heavy shower in qualifying. Sainz clinched third place while Nato was caught up in traffic and finished twelfth although he was sixthall along the session . Race 2 ended in the first corner for the championship leader after a collision with Oliver Rowland. Nato, on the other hand, put on a strong performance helped by a good strategy and fought his way up to sixth place by the chequered flag.
There will now be a long summer break as the next round will take place on 13-14 September on the Hungaroring where DAMS did pretty well last year with two top-3 finishes. Its main characteristic is the fact that overtaking is very difficult in racing conditions. In other words, qualifying on the first two rows is crucial to finishing on the podium, which the team is well capable of achieving.
François Sicard, Managing Director: “Overall it’s been a good weekend, but it could have been better had Carlos not retired on Sunday. It was a race incident, nothing more. This being said, I’d like to congratulate the team on another victory. Carlos scored it in masterly fashion. Norman was not helped by the circumstances in qualifying although he’s got the speed as his brilliant comeback in race two proved. Now we can enjoy some holidays and come back in fighting form to finish the job in the last three races!”
Carlos Sainz: “First of all a big thank you to the team as my car was perfectly set up and I was able to control the first race. At the end the rain could have caused some problems, but it all ended well. On Sunday I made a good start and when I wanted to take up the line for the first corner, I was hit by Rowland and I found myself stopped off the circuit. I’ve still got a good lead in the championship and I feel confident for the rest of the season.”
Norman Nato: “Once again a mixed weekend. My problem is still qualifying. I was delayed in the final laps when it mattered. In free practice I’m in the same tenth as Carlos and in the race I managed to fight my way into the points. So there’s a positive side, but starting further up the grid with this level of performance and this car I can aim for a top-three finish almost everywhere. In any case, thank you to the team for its unfailing backing. I hope I can reward them after the holidays.”
Next round: 13-14 September, Hungaroring (Hungary)