DRIVER NEWS: Engel wins season opener at Oulton Park
Maro Engel Talks about the first win of 2007
DRIVER NEWS: Engel wins first race of the season at Oulton Park Maro Engel started off his 2007 championship campaign in the best possible fashion today, taking a stunning victory in the first race of the season at Oulton Park.
The 22 year old German led from start to finish, after securing pole in Saturday’s qualifying session. It was a faultless drive from Engel, who led the field from the start and maintained his position after a safety car period in the early stages of the race. Engel also withstood pressure from second-placed man Marko Asmer to cross the line with a comfortable margin.
Conditions deteriorated for the second race of the day, with track conditions becoming damp and slippery. Engel made a good start off the line to challenge for second place into the first corner, but had to be satisfied with third. With just a few corners completed however, the race was red flagged due to an incident further down the field.
Engel made another great start off the line at the re-start, challenging for third place, but again the race was red flagged. At the second re- start, Engel was squeezed at the first corner and did well to maintain his starting position of fifth. With the race now reduced to just 10 laps, Engel had little chance to improve his position further, and fought hard to maintain track position when the car’s fire extinguisher went off half way through the race. Racing with reduced visibility and an open visor, Engel remained focused and kept team mate Sam Bird behind him to take away a further eight points and leave Oulton Park second in the championship.
Commenting on his first race weekend of the season, Engel said, “It feels awesome to win the first race of the season, I couldn’t have asked for a better start, the guys gave me a perfect car. In race two, I had a great start again, but there wasn’t really anywhere for me to go. That’s the problem when you have three starts, people know what line you’re going to take! “The fire extinguisher went off a few laps from the end in race two, it went off in my face and I couldn’t see anything! So I’m very pleased with this fifth place, because I was driving with an open visor and the foam in my eyes, couldn’t see where I was going, and managed to maintain track position.
“Overall I’m very pleased. The win showed our true pace, and I’m confident we can carry this momentum into the next event at Donington. I didn’t seem to be able to extract quite as much grip from the tyres in the race two, so we’ll have to look into that. But this has been a really good start to the season.”