Beijing street race winner Jeroen Bleekemolen is forecasting a challenging weekend ahead, as the A1GP circus pitches up its tent in Indonesia for the third stop on its South East Asian adventure.

The Dutch ace has so far this season helped Team Netherlands to amass a total of 17 points, leaving them eighth in the nations' standings with four of the 12 rounds completed. Aside from his Chinese triumph, the 25-year-old former DTM and FIA GT star has also troubled the scorers in each of the other meetings at Sepang, Brno and on home soil at Zandvoort.

Following a hot and humid outing in Sepang two a fortnight ago, similar conditions are expected in Sentul, with Bleekemolen saying it will be too early to predict form before the cars take to the track for the first time.

"Again this will be a new challenge," he admitted, "on a track which is new for me. We learned a lot in Malaysia and have made some steps forward with the car. It is also rain season here and a lot can happen.

"We have grown since the last race and I feel confident. The asphalt here is quite different from what we are used to in Europe - very abrasive with lots of stones. It will not generate a lot of grip."

The 4.12km-long circuit is situated 42km outside the Indonesian capitol of Jakarta and boasts a spectacular backdrop of volcanoes and thick rainforest. A fast track with long straights and flowing, wide turns, it has hosted both Moto GP and Asian F3 in the past.

Renger van der Zande will be the first one out for Team Netherlands on Friday, and the F3 ace says he will be aiming to show a clean pair of heels to the other two 'Dutch' drivers hitting the track in the rookie test, Ho Pin Tung for Team China and Chris van der Drift for the New Zealand entry.

"I know them and they are nice guys, but of course I will have to be in front of them," he joked. "It is very warm here again, but it could also start raining without much warning. We have discussed some things with the team that we will be trying during the rookie session. I will do my best to inform the team as well as possible and try to make sure Jeroen has got a good car straight away. Of course I will also try being the fastest rookie."

Team manager Dave Stubbs, meanwhile, is optimistic improvements have been made since Sepang to cope with the conditions, and is hopeful of more points come the end of the weekend.

"We have come here using our best set-up from Malaysia as a base and will work from there," he explained. "Other things we have done because of the abrasive asphalt here are mounting some protective shields to the undertray of the car and various layers of helicopter tape on the wings and the drivers' helmets. When the cars go out on track stones are kicked up which are quite sharp and can cause a lot of damage, so protection is quite important here as will be tyre wear."

 

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