Cam delivers a masterful drive in the wet to win in Hungary after a very eventful weekend with many highs and lows.
Round 4 of the Euroformula Open Championship took place on the Hungaroring track, the Formula 1 track in Hungary, next to Budapest. As the slowest, yet most technical track of the calendar, this circuit has often been described by the Formula 1 drivers as “a street circuit without walls” because of its layout, which means overtaking is virtually impossible if the drivers are evenly matched and do a half-decent job at defending. The qualifying position and a good start are very important at the Hungaroring.
The race weekend started with a collective test on Thursday, in which teams and drivers had the opportunity to assess the track, tune the cars and master the driving. Cam was fastest on this day by a good margin but knew he would have to continue pushing in the official sessions to come on Friday.
Friday was reserved for the official free practice sessions ahead of Saturday’s qualifying. Unfortunately Cam’s chassis was damaged surprisingly quickly because of a very small contact with a kerb in the first session of the day. The Team Motopark crew did an amazing job changing chassis in record time and truly demonstrated their strength under enormous pressure. They managed to get Cam back out in a fully rebuilt car at the end of the second free practice session. The car had just been “bolted together” and there wasn’t any time to apply any setup elements.
Qualifying the next day meant the “new” car was a bit of an unknown, as the chassis element is pivotal to the behavior of the car. Even so, Cam managed a solid session with a strong second in qualifying and front row starting position for Race 1 which was going to take place that same afternoon.
A brilliant start from Cam and a trademark getaway from the pack meant Cam was comfortably leading Race 1 and heading for a clear victory. Until disaster struck and his brakes failed spectacularly, and he had to retire in a sandpit.
Race 1 quote: “We did everything right, but sometimes the result is still out of your control. After the perfect start, and six laps running away from the field, it was looking like the perfect start to the weekend. The brake failure came suddenly with no warning, so it was a bit of a shock. I’m really glad there was enough run-off at the part of the track where I went off, and thankfully no damage was irreparable for Sunday’s races. ”
Because of the nature of the weekend format, the result in Race 1 meant Cam would start Race 2 at the back of the pack, but a good performance in that race could bring him back to the front for the start of Race 3. Unfortunately Race 2 started with bad luck and Cam had to pit after the warmup lap because of an electrical problem. The team quickly adjusted what they could and changed Cam’s steering wheel, but the young American was now chasing the pack which had already started the race.
The very strong pace Cam had in this race meant not only did he catch and overtake a couple of drivers to get back into a points scoring position, but he also set the fastest lap time of the race, which earned him pole position for the final race of the weekend in an epic twist of faith.
Race 2 quote: “I was hoping and praying for the thunderstorms which were forecasted, but they came a little bit later than expected. The Hungaroring is such a difficult place to overtake in the dry, so I made sure to put my focus on maximizing Race 3 by setting the fastest lap of the race. Luckily, all that pushing for fastest lap also allowed me to catch the pack to regain my position in the points, even after pitting with the steering wheel issue.”
After an already incredibly abrupt weekend, filled with unknowns and last minute changes, Race 3 threw another curve ball at the drivers who now had to face an horrendous storm after running in nothing but sunshine the rest of the weekend. Cam was in a good position for it though as he was now starting on pole and knew the Motopark car is strong in wet conditions. The race began behind the safety car, which lead the drivers around a couple of laps before letting them race. Immediately at the launch, Cam set off and got away from the other drivers in a truly commanding way. An incident further down in the pack later on meant the safety car came back out which canceled Cam’s advantage. The restart was again under complete control of the Baltimore native who got away from the pack once more and managed to score an incredible win in very tricky track conditions to turn the weekend around and secure his top spot in the Championship standings, which he now leads by 19 points at the mid-way mark.
Race 3 quote: “Race 3 was the recovery drive we needed. There was a crazy amount of standing water on the track, but that’s my favorite kind of wet condition to drive in. I followed my gut in terms of picking a wet line early on, and then I adapted to the drying track later on in the race. I believe that is my first win in the wet, so it definitely put a massive smile on my face!”
The next race will take place on the 24th and 25th of July at the legendary Enzo & Dino Ferrari track in Imola, Italy. This will be the first time Cam will be driving on this epic track, which he only knows from his simulator preparation sessions.