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Crawford: Double F2 podium in Barcelona “huge” for DAMS

by Peter Allen

Photo: Dutch Photo Agency

Jak Crawford says the double podium finish for DAMS in the Barcelona Formula 2 feature race is “huge for the team” after overcoming recent qualifying struggles.

The American driver qualified second on Friday in Spain, just 0.002 seconds off pole, having lined up 22nd, 21st and 18th on the grid in his previous three feature races. At the time he admitted that starting position was a relief given the strong race pace he had shown in the preceding rounds.

“We’ve been doing so much hard work, we’ve been really fast,” he told media including Formula Scout. “I made a mistake in Melbourne, and the other two [poor qualifying sessions] were just unlucky problems with the car. It gives a lot of confidence for the team, and it’s definitely something we needed going into this span of European races.

“The expectations were very low for the session. We wanted to come away with the top 10, we wanted to be in that reversed grid, and we just wanted to just improve and be there. Obviously, this is a big bonus for us to be in the front row and in fighting for the big points on Sunday.”

In the feature race, Crawford successfully undercut Hitech GP’s poleman Paul Aron by pitting three laps earlier, and was released to take victory after his rival oversteered off the road at the final corner. He said it was “even better” to have DAMS team-mate Juan Manuel Correa join him on the podium in third.

“Everyone in the team is super happy,” Crawford said afterwards. “Morale is already really high this weekend after qualifying, and after this, it’s huge for the team. We have been really quick the last three rounds, it really hasn’t gone our way especially in qualifying but it is great to finally qualify well, and we can see what the race [then] does.”

Asked by Formula Scout if April’s in-season test at Barcelona was important in DAMS putting its strong weekend together, he said: “I wouldn’t say we found actually a whole lot in the test that helped us for qualifying.

“We were both of us, I think, six and seven tenths off after the first round of qualifying. And honestly, it was a bit of a shot in the dark and it worked for both of us, we were both within two tenths of pole and both in the top eight.”

While he would not be drawn into more detail, Crawford said the team found something in its changes between the two runs of qualifying that had been “the missing piece of the puzzle”.