NORTH SEA WEATHER DOMINATES ZANDVOORT RACES
MONDAY 19 MAY 2014
Wild weather was the dominant force at the Dutch seaside circuit of Zandvoort last weekend, where Nathan Morcom took his Farnbacher Racing Porsche GT3R to an 11th and 13th place finish aided by his more experienced co-driver Mario Farnbacher.

The Zandvoort circuit is steeped in tradition having previously been the home of the Dutch Grand Prix.

It gained popularity because of its fast, sweeping corners such as Scheivlak as well as the "Tarzanbocht" (Tarzan corner) hairpin at the end of the start/finish straight.

Tarzanbocht is the most famous corner in the circuit with such camber, it offers excellent overtaking opportunities. One can pass around the outside, as Nathan would do, demoralising his opponents in the process.

Interestingly, the corner is reportedly named after a local character who had earned the nickname of Tarzan and only wanted to give up his vegetable garden in the dunes if the track's designers named a nearby corner after him.


Circuit Zandvoort is a drivers' favourite and used to run a much longer track.

Rewinding several days, we find our hero hurtling across the countryside in the ultra low performance Hyundai ATOS, dodging large semi trailers, enroute to Heilbronn, where a rather dubious rendezvous point had been arranged to meet the Asch Family for a road trip to Holland.

An hour late, Roland, Sebastian and Rebecca Asch arrived in their luxurious Ford Transit and soon we were off on a high speed trek to Zandvoort, punctuated only by a stop at Burger King where the most senior member enjoyed his meal with a knife and fork.

Arriving in Zandvoort we headed immediately to a local Argentian/Italian restaurant were many stories were invented of DTM racing over steaks, pizzas and wine. And it was only Wednesday!

Tricky weather conditions were present all weekend.

With no need to be at the circuit until late Thursday afternoon, Nathan along with his regular thirsty sidekick ventured by bus into the local village of Haarlem. First thoughts conjured up parts of New York city that one would not venture to, but this was a wonderful contrast offering the best shopping in The Netherlands.

Canals
, bicycles, herrings and thousand year old buildings were there to be enjoyed and it was a most pleasant day, before the beginning of the North Sea weather moved in.

Weather conditions at Zandvoort were extreme yet Nathan adapted to the challenge with true bravery..

Friday morning saw the first practice session get underway and immediately both cars were performing strongly on a slightly damp circuit. As the day progressed so did the team with car confidence much higher than at Oschersleben. By afternoons end the weather had almost closed in and with qualifying set for just after 5:30pm it was clear that one needed to bank a laptime early on.

Nathan is always one to be in his race attire earlier rather than later and this would have a profound effect on his weekend.

"I could see the rain was coming and it was vital to get on track as soon as qualy started, but for some reason I was held back a minute or two and didn't really achieve what I'd hoped for because it was only green for seven minutes. My tyres were just coming on as it wenet red so I am annoyed that I didn't get the full use of them.

Organisers deemed that the qualifying session was too wet to allow slicks so it red flagged at the seven minute mark. This has a disasterous effect on car 6, with Sebastian Asch only on his out lap which resulted in no time set and with the rest of the session fully wet there was no chance to improve the time. Its fair to say there was some very frustrated indivuals on the other side of the FBR garage.

Nathan would start the first race from 15th despite having a 15kg success ballast added from his last round result.

Nathan pulled off some excellent outside moves at Tarzan

On Saturday morning the weather was so bad no fans even bothered to show for the 20 minute autograph session. That didn't make it much fun either having to sit on the grid for 30 minutes in the squally rain. Eventually the grid was cleared and the formation lap was underway.

"I couldn't see much on the warm up lap and even less on the start. in fact i could see absolutely zilch. After the start line crash at Oschersleben everyone was pretty nervous but amazingly we all got through it but the only way to see my brake point was to use the end of pit lane! It was pretty hairy stuff.

Nathan drove an excellent race, making no mistakes before handing over to Mario who brought the car home in 11th place.

Sunday was a copy cat event – the weather even worse again, now with Mario performing the start. Nathan would take over at the 32nd minute mark and drove to 13th.

In some ways it was a landmark event for Nathan in that after all the testing and ups and downs of weather and shunts, out of his control, he appeared to have the Porsche under full control and that was borne out by several outside passing manoevres, at Tarzan.

It was a satisfying weekend indeed and one to be proud of given the lack of vision available.

Two weeks time and we're off to the EuroSpeedway – Lautsitzring, where the Porsches should have the upper hand.


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