Round 2 of the Euroformula Open championship took place in France on the Paul Ricard F1 Circuit. Cam Das completed the weekend with a brilliant win and two podiums, reinforcing his top spot in the championship standings.
The Paul Ricard Formula 1 Circuit in the South of France hosted the second round of the Euroformula Open Championship. The races were preceded by an official Thursday test, which was followed by two official free practice sessions on the Friday. In the last of these two sessions, Cam managed to pull away from the rest of the field by a healthy margin, which put him in strong position for achieving a pole position on Saturday morning.
Qualifying was well prepared and all looked likely that Cam would manage to get the first position sealed. But a slow puncture on the second set of tyres, together with the ever-changing track conditions restricted Cam’s ability to extract the last bit of grip the tyres had to offer, and he settled for second position on the grid.
Race 1 also took place on Saturday. Cam had a solid start, matching the pole sitter, but not enough to challenge for the lead off the line. Challenging the lead driver was going to be difficult since the team made the decision to set the car’s aero at a slightly higher level in preparation of a potentially damp track to a prediction of light rain. This restricted straight line speed, so Cam would have to drive a strategic race to ensure he maintained his position. He did so brilliantly, finishing in second place and securing a healthy number of championship points.
“Race 1 was tough. I knew I had the pace to challenge for the win, but we gambled with the higher downforce level expecting a downpour which never came. It was a risk that didn’t pay off, but I’m happy to have still managed to bring it home in 2nd place.”
The second race was a reverse grid exercise with Cam starting 5th. After a good start, and battling a slightly unbalanced car, Cam managed to push forward, gaining 2 positions and finishing once again on the podium in P3, while also managing the 3rd fastest lap time of the race; positioning him on the second row of the grid for the final race.
“Everyone was struggling with tire graining massively in R2 since the race started damp, and the air temp dropped significantly from Saturday. My graining came in earlier than the others with the balance choice I had opted for ahead of the race, so it was a really hard race to finish let alone finish on the podium. We hunted down the 3rd spot even with the issues, so it was a decent result in the end.”
The third race was the one everybody was waiting for. It was all about advancing the setups, and giving the drivers the opportunity to show their best. Until now, issues, although small, had made just enough of a difference in Cam not being able to show the pace demonstrated in the practices. The team had worked relentlessly to turn the car around after identifying the deficiencies in race 2, and felt confident Cam had the weapon he needed to challenge for a win.
What resulted was arguably one of the best races the Euroformula Open has ever put on display. On a circuit known for its highly processional racing, the first three drivers on the grid managed battles worthy of any racing compilation, with Cam coming out triumphant. It was a very strategic race for Cameron, who waited for the right moment to make his moves, and clinch the win. Cam overtook on the outside for second twice, then was forced to concede the position each time, and in the end secured the lead with 6 laps before the end and never looked back, winning in his usual controlling fashion.
“Race three was awesome. It was a true display of pace, race-craft, and strategy every single lap. At one point, I had made an overtake on Jak around the outside of the high-speed double right hander of T11. The following lap, I made a mistake and gave the position back in T15. I was super upset with myself for making that error, and I knew the only way of rectifying it was to win the race. The rest of the race was about executing calculated and precise overtakes and driving at the absolute limit every single corner until the checkered flag was waived. It was honestly one of the best races I’ve ever been a part of, and being the winner of it is just the cherry on top.”
Cam now leads the championship with a total of 137 points, managing 4 wins and 6 podiums in the first 6 races in the Euorformula Open series. The next event will take place on the legendary Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium, one of Cam’s all-time favorite venues.