24 August 2013
Belgian Grand Prix: van der Garde accident mars Caterham day
Giedo van Garde suffered an accident in FP2 on the opening day of the Belgian Grand Prix, but still emerged as the fastest of the Caterham drivers.
Caterham's return to action after the summer break was rudely interrupted as Giedo van Garde suffered a heavy accident in Friday afternoon practice at Spa-Francorchamps.
The Dutchman, racing as close to his homeland as possible this weekend, was already lapping faster than team-mate Charles Pic when he lost control at Stavelot, sliding sideways into the tyre barrier and badly damaging his car.
“The weather had improved from the morning session, but the car didn't feel great on the first run,” van der Garde reported, “We had a lot of oversteer on run one and not great traction, so we made a change and went out for run two on the medium tyres. The first run on those was ok but we weren't really able to get everything out of the softer rubber so there's definitely more to come from the softer rubber.
“On the long run on the mediums, the car felt pretty good, deg[radation] levels were okay but then, in turn 15, the back end got loose and I unfortunately made contact with the barrier, ending the session.”
With Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso suffering punctures in the same section of the circuit, they tyres have be listed as a possible cause, although van der Garde admitted that nothing was apparent immediately after the session.
“We're not sure why that happened yet, but we'll have a look at the data and investigate more tonight,” he confirmed.
The Dutchman remained quickest of the Caterham drivers at the end of the day, out-pacing Pic by a tenth in the dry afternoon session as the Frenchman also reported handling problems.
“We went straight out in FP2 on the hard tyres and the car was okay, but the main issue on run one was mid-to exit oversteer,” he explained, “We made a couple of mechanical changes for the second run, but still had the oversteer issue. With more changes, it had improved slightly for run three when we put the medium tyres on for the first time. The car was more calm on mid-to-exit, but we found we had some issues on entry into the corners so, for the long run, we put on a bit more front wing and it did feel like we made some progress.
“We still need to make more improvements to the stability of the car on entry into the corners, but we can look at that more tonight, as well as keeping an eye on the weather forecast for tomorrow - and even more for Sunday.”
The regular pairing was once again joined by Heikki Kovalainen, who took over Pic's car for the morning session. With steady drizzle affecting the track surface, however, the Finn was mired at the bottom of the combined timesheets, despite having edged van der Garde earlier in the day.
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