Jehan Daruvala, from Sahara Force India Academy, tookÂ his first Formula car victory in the Toyota Racing Series last weekend. He won the Lady Wigram Trophy after he won Race 3 at the Ruapuna Park circuit in New Zealand. However, the race weekend didnât start with as many smiles for Daruvala. With a slow practice run and some electrical issues with his car, Jehan went into Qualifying 1 and managed to finish eighth. The second session was even worse as Jehan decided to stay on wet tyres on a quickly drying track. While he did manage to set the fastest time when the track was still damp, he was pushed all the way back when it dried, to finally qualify fifteenth.
The first race of the weekend saw Jehan have a fairly good race as he made his way up to finish eighth. Race 2, which started on a reverse grid, saw Jehan on pole. But with quite a horrendous start, he was pushed back eight places. Things didnât get any better as he was rear-ended under a yellow flag that sent him further back to sixteenth. However, he did manage to get to thirteenth before the chequered flag.
Race 3 started under damp conditions, with all the drivers on slicks. By the time Jehan gained a few positions, the drizzle had gotten worse, and his team mate Pedro Piquet pitted to swap his slicks for wet tyres. Seeing Piquetâs lap times improve, the team called Jehan in for a tyre swap as well. By the time he was out of the pit lane, race leader Lando Norris had lapped him. With wet tyres on, Jehan was back in the game, as he first got past Norris and then continued to overtake the others.
Jehanâs chance to shine came when the Safety Car was deployed and all the drivers were bunched up. As the Safety Car went back into the pit lane, Jehan immediately got back to business as he made his way up from seventh to first within a lap. The race was stopped when the Safety Car was sent out again, with Jehan in first place.
âMy first two races were not ideal. Race 3 was really enjoyable. I really have to thank the team for making the right decision of putting me onto wet tyres at the right time. The Safety Car helped me close in the gap and from then on I just had to make sure I made no mistake. I am very happy to have finally won my first race. I really need to thank the Sahara Force India Academy for their continued support. Going forward, I still need to gain some pace and also work on my race starts,â said Jehan.
Jehanâs next race will be held this weekend at the Teretonga Park Raceway in New Zealand.
Press release - Maiden Formula Car Victory for Jehan
|Christchurch, New Zealand: Sahara Force India Academy Racer Jehan Daruvala, started his 2016 campaign on a high, winning one of New Zealandâs most prestigious events â the Lady Wigram Trophy. It was Jehanâs maiden victory in Formula Cars since making the switch from karting to cars last year.
Jehanâs debut in the Toyota Racing Series at the Ruapuna Park circuit, did not begin in an ideal fashion. He took time to come up to speed in practice and some downtime due to electrical issues did not help his situation. In Qualifying 1 Jehan managed eighth position. Qualifying 2 proved to be worse as the session was red flagged for a brief period. Most drivers used this period to change from wet tyres to slicks (dry tyres) but Jehan opted to remain on his wet set. This initially proved to be the right decision as, once the session started, Jehan was soon fastest. However the track dried faster than he had expected and he fell rapidly down the timesheets, ultimately qualifying fifteenth out of eighteen racers.
At the start of Race 1, Jehan lost a position, but soon recovered and had a straightforward race to finish eighth. The reverse of the top eight would be the starting positions for Race 2. Jehan therefore started on pole for Race 2, but made one of his worst starts and fell down all the way to ninth position. The situation got even worse for Jehan after he was hit from behind under a yellow flag and he fell to sixteenth. He made his way back to finish in thirteenth position.
Jehan was most determined to make the most of Race 3 starting in fifteenth. The race started in damp conditions with all drivers on slick tyres. After losing slightly as the lights went out, Jehan soon made up a couple of positions. The consistent drizzle on track increased and Jehanâs team mate â Pedro Piquet (Son of Former F1 world champ â Nelson Piquet) pitted for wet tyres. He gained a lot of time on wet tyres and the team soon called Jehan into the pits as well. After the pit stop, Jehan was one lap behind race leader Lando Norris. Jehan on wet tyres started carving his way up the field as he first unlapped himself from the race leader and then started overtaking others. A few drivers in front, also pitted for wet tyres which gave Jehan a further advantage.
The turning point for Jehan came when the Safety Car was deployed negating the advantage of the drivers in front. All the drivers were bunched up and only Pedro Piquet was on wet tyres in front of Jehan. The safety car pulled into the pits and Jehan did not put a foot wrong. He overtook Pedro and then one by one overtook the others, including some from around the outside of the hairpin corner. Within one lap, Jehan had moved from seventh to first and continued to pull away.
The safety car was deployed once again, and soon the race was stopped, earning Jehan his maiden victory in Formula Cars as he won the premier race of the entire weekend â the Lady Wigram Trophy. Illustrious Formula 1 greats like Jackie Stewart, Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss, Jim Clark and Bruce McLaren were all former winners of the Lady Wigram Trophy.
âMy first 2 races were not ideal. Race 3 was really enjoyable. I really have to thank the team for making the right decision of putting me onto wet tyres at the right time. The safety car helped me close in the gap and from then on I just had to make sure I made no mistake. I am very happy to have finally won my first race. I really need to thank the Sahara Force India Academy for their continued support. Going forward, I still need to gain some pace and also work on my race startsâ said Jehan after the race.
Jehan will continue with his participation in the rest of the Toyota Racing Series, which has one of its toughest driver line ups. Lando Norris (Former World Karting Champion and Current F4 Champion), Pedro Piquet (2 Time Brazilian F3 Champion and son of F1 World Champ â Nelson Piquet), Guanyu Zhou (Ferrari Academy Racer), Artem Markelov (GP2 racer) , etc. who are some of the notable names on the grid. The next race will be this coming weekend at the Teretonga Park Raceway.