22/08/17

Race Result: A weekend to forget for Tom Blomqvist

Zandvoort (NED) Zandvoort (NED)
Race 1 DNF Race 2 13th

Tom Blomqvist’s difficult season continued this weekend after a troublesome weekend in Zandvoort saw the BMW driver leave the track empty handed.

It was a weekend full of disappointment for the 23-year old after a combination of car issues, on track errors and lack of pace resulted in Tom having one of his worst race weekends in recent time.

Hoping to put his 2017 struggles to bed, Tom headed to Zandvoort with increased confidence after impressive showings in his last two rounds – which included topping the timesheets in two of the four qualifying sessions and picking up the majority of his season’s points.

The weekend in Holland started well for the Thunderhead-sponsoredwho showed good pace in the first practice session in Zandvoort. Tom’s lap time of 1:30.363 was enough to put him inside the top-ten, still with a lot of time to be found.

Saturday

Saturday saw warm temperatures in the morning but the overnight showers resulted in the little rubber, that had been laid down on the new track surface, being washed away. A quicker lap time of 1:28.948 was an improvement on Friday’s time but was not where the 23-year old wanted to be as he finished the session in 11th place.

Into the first qualifying of the weekend, Tom’s session got off to a good start; putting in a solid banker lap time of 1:28.351, Tom looked like he had the potential to be in a closely fought battle for pole position.

However, the weather had different ideas as Tom entered the pits for the mid-session tyre change. As quickly as the skies turned grey, the rain began to fall and soon enough the rainfall meant there was absolutely no chance of improved lap times and Tom finished the session in 7thplace.

As the sun returned for race one at Zandvoort, Tom lined up next to Gary Paffett and just behind the Audi’s of Rene Rast and Loic Duval. Getting off the line strongly, Tom was already straight onto the tail of the Audi drivers and had pulled out a gap to Gary Paffett who was preoccupied with Mattias Ekstrom behind him.

A premediated pitstop saw Tom come into the pits at the end of the first lap and a good stop from his BMW team saw Tom rejoin the action just in front of Mike Rockenfeller, who had followed Tom into the pits.

As the front running cars battled hard for positions, Tom was making the most of the clean air and was lapping almost two seconds quicker than the leaders.

However, as the track evolved Tom begun to experience problems with his car and his pace was dramatically disappearing – losing four seconds in the first sector alone on the 11th lap. Bemused by the sudden loss of performance, Tom shot into the pits for the second time and after a quick inspection from his team, and a change of tyres, Tom returned to action.

The pitstop had not resolved his issues and despite being on fresh tyres, Tom still struggled to post competitive times and eventually retired the car on safety grounds.

Tom reflected on a tough first race.

“I don’t know exactly what was going on. My start was very good, and I then came in early for my stop. Then the tyre suddenly degraded dramatically. After that, I had a really strange feeling in the final corner. I had massive understeer and no longer really had a feel for the car. It was simply dangerous to continue. We must analyse it and find out what was wrong before tomorrow.”

Sunday

Tom’s struggles continued into Sunday as he finished the morning’s free practice down in 14th place and seven tenths off the pace - leaving himself with lots of work to do before qualifying.

Tom’s qualifying saw an improvement from free practice but the TPS-sponsored driver still not where he wanted to be and his best time of 1:28.292 meant he lined up in 12th place for the second race of the weekend.

Tom’s second race got off to the worst start possible before even starting. A spin on cold tyres on the formation lap saw Tom have to take an escape road to catch back up with the pack. However, Tom’s door had fallen off in the collision and he was forced to start from the pitlane.

If starting from the pitlane wasn’t hard enough, Tom’s start was delayed further as Maxime Martin stalled on the grid and Tom was required to wait for the Belgian to pass the pit exit. Finally getting out of the pitlane, Tom eventually made it round the first corner as the rest of the field headed round the third turn.

To add further insult to injury, Tom would then receive a drive through penalty for ‘leaving the track and gaining an advantage’ on the formation lap.

With his race now over, Tom conservatively drove his BMW home for a 13th place finish to round off a disappointing weekend.

“Unfortunately, I lost control of the car during the formation lap and hit something. That caused the driver’s door to come loose, so I had to come into the pit lane and start from there. On top of that, I was given a drive-through penalty. It was simply a race to forget.”

Tom will now look to put this weekend well behind him and begin to focus on the next round of the season at the Nürburgring, 8th – 10thSeptember.

#31 Tom Blomqvist | Round Six - Zandvoort

FP1: 9th (1:30.363, +0.857)

FP2: 11th (1:28.948, +0.883)
Q1: 7th (1:28.351, +0.528)
Race 1: DNF

FP3: 14th (1:29.112, +0.786)
Q2: 12th
Race 2: 13th