Kaufmann conquers the dunes & makes the podium

Two strong races in the Historic FIA Formula 2 Championship at Zandvoort for Wolfgang Kaufmann.

A pleasant weekend by the sea? Ocean waves and sandy toes? Not as an option for Wolfgang Kaufmann! The man from Molsberg in Germany was in action again at the Zandvoort circuit, right on the North Sea shore, in the Historic Formula 2 championship. It was the first time Kaufmann got to tackle the track among the dunes with a single-seater racecar, so he prepared himself for an eye-opening couple of laps driving the March 782 BMW. As it turned out, there would not be many of those. Timed practice on Friday only offered 20 minutes of driving time, which meant hurrying to get some driving done. Two red flags as the result of other competitors' mishaps additionally shortened the session. „In qualifying, I used up our old tyres from Hockenheim“, Kaufmann explains.

This careful approach was still enough for 10th place on the grid that featured 37 cars.

Race 1 on Saturday saw perfect weather, and a standing GP start – „the way it should be in real racing“, Kaufmann adds with a grin. The demanding track, without the paved run-off areas that have become de rigeur in motor racing, proved to be a challenge for the professional driver; but that was just what the „Piranha“ had signed up for. He fought his way up into the top 5 positions, and had major fights first with Britain's Martin Stretton, then with his compatriot Martin O'Connell. „Both are dyed-in-the-wool racers, with plenty of Formula 1 experience; they are not easy to beat. It was trememdous fun fighting my way past them“, said a happy Kaufmann. The penultimate lap saw him secure 3rd place, and a spot at the podium ceremony.

Sunday brought different conditions. As the grid was ligned up, a light drizzle set in. It was too late to change to grooved tyres, so the whole field took the start on slicks. „The rain went around the entire track, and it got very slippery at times; I was sideways more than once“, Kaufmann recalled the ensuing laps, „I had never driven this car on slick tyres in the wet before, so I eased off a bit. Under these circumstances, a podium result was out of reach“ – nevertheless, the March 782 driver asserted himself among the lead group, and crossed the line in 5th spot.

„Those were two really great races, with superb fights, a great crowd of spectators, and a whole lot of fun“, Kaufmann summed up his weekend. And it almost didn't happen! On Thursday, a storm destroyed Kaufmann's tent in the paddock; and he almost left the event prematurely. But the organisers of the  FIA Masters Formel 1 Historic Serie secured him a place in the pit garages. Weekend saved!

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