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JAPANESE GRAND PRIX
Suzuka International Racing Course. 24 September 2019
May 06, 2013

 

At least as far as the Supercup goes. Kindness levels towards Tanskanen Racing still to be determined...

Round 5 - Spain
Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
23rd-24th April 2013


The open-wheel teams of VB Motorsport truly are having a topsy-turvy season. As any... sorry, every talent show contestant may describe it, five rounds in and it's already been a real emotional up-and-down-speedy-amusement park-thingy, and it shows no sign of stopping.

For the boys of Tanskanen Racing, race day at Spain presented a great many things to celebrate. Potentially.

At the time of writing, Mikko Jakonen has a pleasant distinction of being awarded three points finishes in one day, having had his Race 2 finishing position at the previous round at Hungary upgraded into a points-paying position, following the ruling of the Disciplinary Committee made in the early hours of Race Day itself.

Unfortunately it may yet be down to the Disciplinary Committee to see whether Mikko keeps his, and the team's, only top-10 finish in FC to date.

Certainly the day started on a downer, when due to a problem in communications, or was it customs, Ed Williams was unable to race. With Doug Hilliard unavailable - and probably just as well - Tanskanen only ran one car.

Mikko started well, and was able to avoid the startline carnage. Mikko kept a strong place and was well within the top-15 for most of the race, until an unfortunate spin cost him several positions not far from the finish. Mikko recovered to 14th, right behind Paul Joseph, and rewarded himself with two points.

14th also earned him third on the grid for Race 2. Again Mikko started well and avoided the pileup that broke out in turn three. Mikko lost a few positions but was still running strong in the top six when he came into the pits. After rejoining the track, Mikko then became one of several drivers to become stuck behind the Ice Cold of Mike Bell.

Through a combination of having the fastest straight line speed, and an aggressive policy to defending his line, Bell was very hard to get by, despite being generally much slower in the corners. Unfortunately Mikko and Bell would tangle twice, the first time with Bell running into Mikko, just as the Finn looked to have passed him on the outside - the resultant half-spin cost them both several more places ? then they collided once again a few corners later. The second time, Bell spun while Mikko continued on to finish sixth, by far the best result for the team and Mikko since their re-entry into the league, and yet Mikko was left rueful of the damage his clashes with Bell had caused to his race. With both drivers protesting against the other, the mood in the Tanskanen camp was far from celebratory, and Mikko's otherwise-excellent drives were sadly overshadowed somewhat. The team awaits the ruling of the Committee with bated breath.

Quotes
Mikko Jakonen #34

"Coming to Barcelona, I wasn't sure what to expect. The track is very technical and really needs the car to be set up properly. We had very limited team testing before the event; the only improvements I had were some adjustments to the wheel and pedal settings which had previously been a bit off."

"After Free Practice I had a pretty good feeling. My first lap beat my PB by half a second which gave some confidence. I was going to get four tenths off still on my last run but got held up in the last sector. Altogether, I was quite happy with the result. After Hungary penalties this meant I ended up P20, but the differences were really small in the mid pack."

"Got a good start in Race 1; there were again some stalled cars and bits and pieces flying around on the main straight but I managed to dodge all the bullets. A lot of action and spinning going on during the first few laps but I was able to steer clear. By the time of the scheduled pitstop I was in P10 and after the pitstop, P14, which was quite ok. As I had no tyre issues during the race thanks to the strategy, it seemed I was able to get and hold P11 comfortably to the end. Then I somehow managed to lock the rear wheels braking into Turn 9, not sure what happened there; dropped 4 places with only two laps to go. Managed to get P14 at the end, but compared to the potential P10 without the spin it felt a bit disappointing. I had really nice, tight and clean battles all along the race with Paul Joseph, I thoroughly enjoyed racing against him. Managed to cross the line just a few tenths before him in the end."

"P14 meant P3 for the start of Race 2 which was interesting. I opted for the same pit strategy as for R1 as the car felt good through the race. At the start I got off the line a bit better then Paul on P2 and managed to overtake him before Turn 1. As Jeremy on pole was running with a heavy car I managed to stay close and hold P2 for a few laps, but then I had to surrender to P4 as we still just don't have quite the pace we need. But all looked good, I drove consistently and cleanly to the pitstop and at this point it seemed P4 should be feasible."

"Then I caught up with Mike Bell who had not stopped... He had extremely low downforce and worn tires, I was a lot faster but he defended very aggressively, weaving about and blocking all corners. I could not get him on the straights as the downforce difference was massive. He made a braking error and cut the chicane on Lap 12 Turn 12, I thought he'd slow down to compensate but not. We're asking the RDs about this. Finally on Lap 13 Turn 5 I got past him on the outside but he then made contact with me which cost 2 more positions and almost a DNF for both of us. I then finally got past on the inside of Turn 9, we touched there again and he span out. At this point I could resume my normal pace but had lost 2-3 positions. Ended up at P6, best result of the season, but as P4 or even P3 would've been there I feel a bit disappointed again."

"Altogether, we did better results wise than I had hoped for. This hopefully boosts the team spirit and we can get things going for Monaco as well, which should be a very interesting race. It's too bad that Ed had some visa problems, apparently, and could not show up for the event, leaving me driving the only Tanskanen car this weekend."

=========================================

Luckily for Vod:Bul, prayers for a clean and uplifting result were answered when Morten Wernersen and Dan Rusu took to the track the following day. Dan returned to the cockpit after withdrawing from Hungary; his faulty steering wheel was still a hindrance, though less so around the sweeping Spanish curves.

Both drivers would prove that the team as a whole could swiftly bounce back from the unpleasantness of Hungary's race, though this was not immediately obvious as the field fought to establish their starting positions on a wet Barcelona track. Dan struggled, and missed out on his ultimate pace, and Morten didn't so much leave his mark on the grid but in a wall. "Who needs Qually anyway?" the Dane said.

As it happened, Morten truly didn't. Steadily gaining a reputation as a charger, who fights his way up the order regardless of what series he?s in, Morten made steady progress right from the off, picking off cars ahead of him one by one, benefiting slightly by others' retirements and ultimately netting himself seventh, another excellent result, especially after starting on the second-last row of the grid. Morten celebrated by playing Robbie Williams music throughout the pit garage.

Dan also drove a strong race, particularly so considering his steering wheel problems. After a great battle with Ben Warren, Dan managed to keep ahead and drove a steady final stint, looking after his car and keeping it on the nice shiny stuff, while so many others took too much interest in the unforgiving walls. 12th was Dan's reward, and an excellent return for the team. A pattern is slowly emerging, with every race since Malaysia being a double retirement followed by a double points finish. The Vod:Bul boys will certainly be looking to break the cycle at Monaco!

The tight, sodden streets of Monaco...

Well, we travel hopefully...

Quotes
Dan Rusu #20

"Qualification started with it raining and the track was damp. Towards the end of the session I was improving by one second after two sectors but I pushed a little too hard and lost the car; otherwise would have been a 11-12th place."

I had just one day of practice and I want to thank Ghovand Keanie for staying and practicing with me and helping with my setup. Still, I knew the lack of practice would matter and beside that wheel issue I knew it would make me slow on a track that I like and I hated that. The start was OK; I gained some positions; after a few laps I saw Morten behind me; I knew I had to let him pass but in the same time not lose more positions, so I let him go on the straight and kept my car on the right side of the track in a way that no one could pass as both our cars were almost next to each other."

"After two laps I couldn't keep Dale Stone behind and he passed me. During the next lap I saw Scott Bennett off on the right; I suppose he spun and I did my best to get by him before he was up at full speed; it was quite close but I made it. I knew he was damn fast so I told myself to give my absolute best to not let him pass."

"For three laps he kept attacking though luckily I had a huge straight-line speed advantage; I guess he got angry and he spun again. After that I knew that I could not make the time up to the guys in front; the others behind were about 30-35 seconds back so I just focused on keeping the car safe and hoping that others retired; this then happened and I got 12th, which I think is more than I hoped for; by my standards it was a poor position but in the circumstances I think it was a good drive and I?m glad the I got more points."

"Congrats to Morten; again, a splendid recovery race, and I'm glad that Vodbul got both cars in points after Hungary's double retirement."


Morten Wernersen #21
"Qualifying; had a good out lap - Then I smashed it on my first flying lap; who needs qually anyway? P24; no time."

"Took it easy in the start; still gained about five spots on the first lap, I think. Then I slowly started to pick up more places as I went; first Pestovs; I thought he was a bit far in front of me, when we went down the start/finish straight, but I started to catch him as we went further down the straight, and caught him right in the breaking zone and got past. I thought 'that was nice, let's do some more', so I caught up a pack of cars in front and started to pass them one by one; the last one was Davakos who got a bad exit out of Turn 11 and I managed to just squeeze my way past him, and then he pitted."

"Then had a good scrap with Ben Warren; he took his pitstop one lap earlier than me. Roy (Schroten) just nudged my diffuser, which made my pitstop about five seconds longer; got out just behind Ben and reeled him in but I couldn't really get a run on him, so I stayed behind him for almost the rest of my stint, until he pitted. I took my pitstop a lap later than Ben again, on lap 24 or so, and switch to primes, but when I got back out I saw he was gone; I later learnt he DC'ed; so now I was in 9th, had Scott Bennett behind me now,"

"I remembered he said something about being the fastest qualifier on the primes, so I took a quick peek behind, and yes, he was still on primes, so I knew he was gonna do one more pitstop, so I stayed close to him as he passed me. Sure enough, he took his second pitstop a couple of laps later. (Patrick) Gatewood was out so I was up to eighth and Sindre (Grimseth) was in trouble too I think, so suddenly saw myself in seventh, and with no one really catching me behind, I just started to look after my tyres to make sure they lasted to the end.I almost got Roy on the last lap when his tyres gave up, but a nice 7th it was."

"I think with my driving up through the field races, I'm a contender for the unofficial trophy for most places gained during a season!"


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