Tim Sandtler - Duelling in Monza Park

08.10.2008: Tim Sandtler - Duelling in Monza Park

Place: Monza (ITA) Dates: 4th - 5th October 2008 Track length: 5.7km

Race 1 Race 2

Grid Position: 8 Grid Position: 1

Result: 8 Result: 7

An exciting season in the Formula Master series came to an equally exciting conclusion in the royal park of Monza. In the first race, cars went flying in all directions on the historic circuit and the number of laps where the safety car was not leading the way were in the minority.

Tim was one of the few drivers who kept his cool and avoided getting involved in any of the spectacular accidents. "On the long straights, you could get sucked into the slipstream and then you’d have anything up to three cars jostling with each other. It got pretty hairy at times," he says. An additional factor was the desire of all the drivers to make a good impression in the final race of the season.

In free practice, Tim certainly boosted his own credentials: P2 on a wet track in the first session and P5 in the drier second session. "In slightly damp conditions, we kept up with the front-runners really well," he recalls.

"Fifth position in the second session was also reasonable, as we weren’t on new tyres." In qualifying, though, his performance was only enough for eighth on the grid. A lot of yellow flags and two interruptions didn’t exactly make it easy to clock a decent lap time. "We weren’t quite able to reproduce the good form that we had shown in free practice."

The first race didn’t get off to the start that the team had been hoping for: Tim’s revs fell away dramatically and he dropped back two places. Then the first of many accidents took place: "Cars were coming at me from all directions and standing side-on in the chicane. All I could see was dust and the track was blocked," he says.

When the chaos was sorted out, he emerged in 14th position. "Then, as a result of various incidents and passing manoeuvres, I worked my way up to P8." On the last lap, he overtook fellow German Michael Ammermüller to secure pole position in the second race.

"This time, I got off to a really good start," Tim tells us. "Unfortunately, Schlegelmilch cut the chicane and overtook me on the first corner. Over the first few laps, I thought I might at least hang on to third, but then I started to fall back with each successive lap." Pronounced oversteer caused by a technical fault was making the car more and more difficult to control.

"As a result, I spun in the Parabolica, lost momentum and saw my chances disappear." His opponents came sailing past one after another. "There wasn’t a lot I could do. I was out of ammo." The most likely cause was a slow puncture on the rear right tyre. Even so, his seventh position in the first race brought him a few additional championship points.

"We have got better with each successive race. We’ve often been up at the front but we’ve also had a lot of bad luck, which meant that we weren’t able to turn our good work into good results," says Tim, summing up his season. "I had hoped to finish in the Top 3, so in this respect, we have fallen short of our expectations. And yet, there were some highlights such as my podium finish in Estoril. I feel that, with just a bit more luck, we could have gone one better in quite a few more races."

 

www.tim-sandtler.de  

- Stephan Heublein-

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08.10.2008 / MaP

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