DAMS dominates home Feature Race at Paul Ricard with Ayumu Iwasa
Ayumu Iwasa took an incredible Feature Race victory for DAMS during the team’s home event at Circuit Paul Ricard, his first in the series in his rookie season.
The Japanese driver qualified in second place, just 0.006 seconds from pole position. Starting ninth for Saturday’s semi-reverse grid Sprint Race, Iwasa put in a strong performance to take eighth with a bold move on the final lap, which became sixth after post-race penalties for other drivers had been applied.
In the Feature Race, the Red Bull Junior made a strong start and took the lead with a stunning move around the outside at the Turn 8 and 9 chicane. After a Safety Car period, Iwasa pulled ahead and was always in control, continuing to stretch his advantage throughout the entire race to eventually win by over eight seconds, claiming the team’s first victory of 2022.
Roy Nissany also put in an excellent showing in the Feature Race, making up 11 places to take ninth and two more points for the team.
Ayumu Iwasa: “I’m very happy for this result, and winning at Paul Ricard means a lot, it’s a special track for me and for the team. I had a lot of confidence in the car and I could push throughout the race. We managed the tyres and the Safety Car restart well, which put us in a great position. Recently we’ve had speed but not quite been able to put everything together but here it all worked really well and we took the win. It’s my first victory in F2, so the feeling is amazing. The result gives me and the team a lot of confidence and now I’m looking forward to Hungary, I had great pace there last year so I hope we can have a strong weekend again.”
Qualifying: 2nd | Sprint Race: 6th (+3 points) | Feature Race: 1st (+25 points)
Roy Nissany: “We had good pace this weekend, after a tough qualifying we recovered well in both races. On Saturday it was more difficult to overtake but we still made up six places and then on Sunday we did a great job to get into the points. The car was really good, it wasn’t easy but I had a brilliant start to gain nine places on the first lap. The crew also did well with the pit stop, which helped us move even further forwards. I’m so pleased for Ayumu and the team for the win. It’s the home race for the crew so they’re especially happy. We’ve proven our pace, so we just need to do some fine tuning ahead of Budapest.”
Qualifying: 20th | Sprint Race: 16th | Feature Race: 9th (+2 points)
Charles Pic, Team Owner: “This is the sort of race we dream of, we had great pace, Ayumu drove brilliantly and took a well-deserved victory. To win like this makes us think of Jean-Paul Driot, we’re proud of his legacy and thanking him today for giving us the chance to enjoy these moments. We also have to congratulate François Sicard who laid the foundations for this season.
“Today we were fast on both compounds of tyre and entirely controlled the race. Even under the Safety Car, Ayumu got the perfect restart and quickly pulled a gap to the cars behind. The crew also did a great job this weekend. We had a short turnaround after the race last night, but they prepared the cars brilliantly and did two perfect pit stops under five seconds so we’re very proud of their hard work. We’re delighted to take this victory at our home event, we couldn’t have dreamed of a better result. Also on Roy’s side, he showed his speed and how quick he can be, moving up 11 positions to finish P9 and score some more valuable points for the team.”
Image: Dutch Photo Agency