Liam Venter just misses out on points at Nurburgring
5 June 2013
Liam Venter just missed out on points during the third event of the 2013 European Formula 3 Open championship at the Nurburgring in Germany last weekend (June 1-2).
Liam, who is competing with Team West-Tec and running in the Copa class, was strong in practice on the Friday, and in the second session - which like the first was wet - he was second in class and tenth overall in the 31-strong field.
However the Johannesburg-born youngster missed most of the third dry session, when one of his rivals rear ended his F308 Dallara.
That left him with his work cut out the next day, as he had had no dry running, and combined with a few issues - including problems with his clutch and dampers, it meant in qualifying for race one he had to settle for eleventh in class and 29th overall.
Despite that though, the 18-year-old made a storming start in race one and on the opening lap made up twelve places. He then gained another position during the remainder of the race and even though he still had some problems with the car, he eventually brought it home 17th overall and sixth in class - frustratingly just missing out on Copa class points, as only the top-five score.
Sunday started more encouragingly, and Liam was fifth in class in qualifying for race two - and 18th overall. However, his race ended before it had even begun, when he suffered a driveshaft failure as he pulled up on the grid.
“It was really a tricky weekend. I liked the circuit but things just didn't work out for us,” said Liam. “On Friday it was wet and we were consistently up there. But in the last session, when it was dry and we put on slicks, as I was about to get going, someone missed their braking point and drove into the back of me. It didn't damage the car too badly. But obviously I couldn't carry on.
“That put us on the back-foot on Saturday. We could only qualify eleventh in class and because there were 12 cars between us and the guys higher up in the Copa class, in order to get some points, I needed to make up something like 15 places in the race. On the first lap I got 13 places, and while I managed one more after that, and finished sixth in class it wasn't quite enough.
“Sunday qualifying was much better and we managed to take fifth in class. We were looking forward to the race. But as I pulled up on the grid my driveshaft snapped. So I stuck my hands out the cockpit to let the marshals know and they put out the yellow flags. Then I just sat on the grid, with my rain lights flashing and hoping no one would crash into me.”
“It's a shame - there is so much potential in the team and they worked really hard all weekend. My thanks go to all at Team West-Tec and to Craig [Dolby, my driving coach] for his help. We just need everything to come together and when it does, I am sure we will be super quick,” added the Accelerate Driver Development Ltd (ADD)-affiliated youngster.
“Although Liam made some good progress leading up to the race and with the satisfaction of knowing that his new engine felt strong, it was a cruel blow after the wet and fog to find that the car needed more work,” Dolby chipped-in. “The driveshaft failure on the start line of race two was no one's fault - it was just one of those things! I am happy with Liam's progress though, and the way he picked his way through the field in race one and passed so many cars was great. We look forward to a stabilised climate for some good racing in Jerez.”
Liam will now continue his campaign in the 2013 European Formula 3 Open championship next week, when the series heads to Spain for round four (June 15-16).