The Starworks Martini team, which includes Dutch driver Renger van der Zande, had to deal with a disappointing setback on the splendid Indianapolis circuit last weekend. Only half an hour into the race, it was game over for Starworks. Renger’s teammate Mirco Schultis had to park the Oreca Chevy back in the pit lane for good. Van der Zande hadn’t even had the opportunity to drive yet.
Indianapolis, 28 July 2014
The Brickyard Grand Prix in Indianapolis, which is held in the last weekend of July, is nothing less than a racing extravaganza. Over the course of four days, fans are treated to a chock-full programme that includes both an instalment of the TUDOR United SportsCar Challenge and a race in the legendary NASCAR Cup. Indeed, the Starworks Martini team, with drivers Renger van der Zande and Mirco Schultis, were keen to make their mark this weekend. But things turned out differently: after 30 minutes of fast-paced driving, Starworks kicked the bucket. An irreparable engine problem in their Oreca Chevrolet meant ‘game over’ for the team. As a result, Renger van der Zande didn’t get a chance to show his stuff on the Motor Speedway. The free practice sessions and the qualifying had been promising enough. In contrast with the other teams, Starworks hadn’t held any practice sessions over the past few weeks. So the team used the trainings and the qualifying to fine-tune their car’s set-up. Mirco Schultis would be handling the first stint of the 2’45” race. After half an hour of driving, things were looking up, with Starworks in P4/5 – only 13 seconds behind on front runners Diaz/Rayhall. What’s more: the team’s main rivals in the Championship, Bennett and Braun, were still 36th in the field at that point. In the team’s strategy, , Renger van der Zande would take over from Schultis in the second half of the race to make good on his reputation as go-getter and land Starworks a victory. Unfortunately, the Dutch driver never even got near the wheel of the Oreca Chevy. It was ‘game over’ for Starworks in lap 22, with the race ultimately won by Cumming/ Hawksworth for Junqueira/ Ende.
Renger: “Yeah, that’s racing too… a mechanised sport in which your equipment occasionally lets you down. As a professional, you should take it as part of the game. It’s a shame, but then there are worse places in the world to spend your weekend… There was a silver lining though: a lesser performance by my Championship rivals Bennett and Braun. Which means I’m still third on the board for the title. Hopefully, my luck will return during the next race at Road America/Elkhart Lake.”