Jeroen Bleekemolen was unable to score a home podium for the Netherlands as the new A1GP season kicked off at Zandvoort.
Bleekemolen started from pole in the sprint race and held the lead early on but he soon had trouble finding the grip in the difficult conditions and to make matters worse his visor had fogged up, seriously diminishing his sight.
New Zealand's Earl Bamber started to push the A1 Team Netherlands driver and forced an error by Bleekemolen at the Audi-S and took the lead. The Dutchman also lost out to Fairuz Fauzy and Loic Duval before the race was stopped, leaving him with fourth place.
Conditions had got worse for the feature race but Bleekemolen made a good start and was soon able to climb to third. However, he lost time in his pitstop and was the forced to deal with a gearbox issue which meant he slipped back to fifth place, where he finished.
“Of course you always want to win and especially from pole in your home race,” Bleekemolen reflected. “It was too bad that we were unable to take victory this morning. The car was not perfect and my visor also fogged up. This afternoon we just had bad luck. We had a real good shot at winning the second race. It also went very good, the car was a lot better than in the Sprint race and the sight also was much better. Then you start to think; “This could well be the one'. I was behind France and we were really competitive. On a certain moment we were the fastest on track. Then the gearbox broke and I did everything in my power to keep the car on the track.
“Sometimes it would go into neutral and then you can easily go off. It was hard and we have made it, but this was the maximum possible. To drive in these conditions was unbelievably hard. I have to say that I also deeply respect all the spectators who fought this weather to cheer us on”.
Bleekemolen will be replaced by Robert Doornbos for the next race in China.