Netherlands have moved up to tenth in the A1 GP standings after experiencing their strongest overall weekend of the season at Taupo, Jeroen Bleekemolen taking nine points with a fourth and fifth place finish.

Describing it as a rather frustrating weekend for the former DTM driver, Bleekemolen claimed a mechanical problem in qualifying prevented him from starting on the front row, something he insists would have seen him claim a pair of podiums.

Nonetheless, Bleekemolen was pleased with his solid performance, holding Switzerland off in the sprint race, only to spend the feature event looking at the back of Sebastien Buemi's car when he managed to get past through the pit stops. Together with Great Britain putting pressure on behind, Bleekemolen was unable to push his way past.

"All through the weekend we were really competitive and that was nice," he said. "We were just a bit unlucky. When we did not have that problem in qualifying we might have been up one row at the start and then you are on the podium twice, because the pace was certainly there.

"The Feature race was hard, because you get held up by cars in front of you and there are other cars on your tail. In one corner you are right behind Switzerland, then you loose some. At that moment Great Britain is on your rear wing straight away. You then have to fend him off, after which there is a gap with Switzerland which you have to close. You are somewhat of a yoyo."

Having managed the fastest pit stop of all the teams, Netherlands principal Jan Lammers instead blamed traffic on Bleekemolen's out-lap as the reason why Buemi was able to leapfrog past. Nonetheless, he was happy with the solid result, the first time Netherlands have scored in both races this season.

"This fifth place is just good. Of course our ambition is always wanting more, but when you see that after 50 laps Jeroen is just 3 seconds behind second place, then we are just really competitive.

"Unfortunately Jeroen encountered some traffic on his outlap, which made us lose some time and enabling Switzerland to just go in front. I think that we did have the fastest pitstop. We have moved up some places in the Championship and if we can keep this form the podium is in reach."

 

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