Tveter Records Consistent Results in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC Tripleheader at Hockenheim
HOCKENHEIM, Germany, June 16 — American Ryan Tveter finished all three Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup races last weekend at the Hockenheimring and he was extremely consistent in doing so, placing 12th in the first 25-minute race on Saturday and 11th in both Race 2 and Race 3 on Sunday.
There were no full-course caution flags in any of the races, and as the events progressed the fields got spread out over the 4.574-kilometer (2.842-mile), 17-turn, very flat road course. Tveter also had to deal with front-wing damage in two of the races, which compromised his car’s aerodynamics.
Tveter, of Oyster Bay, N.Y., started 14th in the first 25-minute race on Saturday with the Game Ready Injury Treatment System #16, which is also supported by Switzerland’s Autobau conference center and racing museum. The car is fielded by Josef Kaufmann Racing, which ironically was the only German team in the paddock. The very tough, 25-car field consisted of drivers from 16 countries.
Tveter got a fabulous start, advancing three positions. He passed Jorge Cevallos and point leader Steijn Schothorst; he got two more spots when Raoul Owens and Seb Morris dropped back, and he lost one position to Ukyo Sasahara in the always-chaotic start.
“The front wing took a hit at the start in the first corner, so I struggled a lot with the car throughout the race because of that,” Tveter said. “It was left-front damage and there are a lot of right-hand corners at Hockenheim, so I had a lot of understeer throughout that race.”
Tveter remained in 11th place until lap three when Schothorst got him back. He stayed in 12th place through lap eight until he was pushed wide in one of the turns, dropping him to 15th with nine laps down and about 9 minutes remaining in the 25-minute race.
He didn’t give up, however. He passed both Julio Moreno and Cevallos working lap 11 to move up to 13th. He got one more position with 3:04 remaining and 13 laps down when he passed Roy Geerts to move back into 12th. With no full-course yellows the field got strung out at the end, and he was still in 12th place when the checkered waved with 16 laps complete. He was 5.8 seconds behind the driver who started eighth and finished 11th, Martin Kodric, at the finish. One of Tveter’s teammates, Gustav Malja, led every lap to win that race from the pole.
Tveter also started 14th in the second 25-minute race, which was held on Sunday morning. The driver who started beside him in Row 7, Matthew Graham, had a problem at the start and had to pit, which moved Tveter up to 13th. Tveter passed Kodric, who started right in front of him, on lap two to move into 12th. He moved into 11th place two laps later by passing Cevallos. That put him behind Owens, and he chased Owens the rest of the way. He took the checkered flag after 15 laps just 1.853 seconds after Owens crossed the finish line. He was 5.545 seconds ahead of the 12th-place finisher, Kodric.
Once again the winner was the polesitter, as Ben Barnicoat led every lap and the top three positions never changed.
“There weren’t really any incidents in that race,” Tveter noted. “I made a few good overtakes at the start and then it was pretty constant for the rest of the race. Hockenheim is difficult for overtaking and after the field spreads out a bit it’s almost impossible.”
The starting grid for Race 3 on Sunday afternoon was determined by the finishing positions in Race 1, except the top-six finishers were inverted. That put Tveter in 12th place for the start, and gave him his best chance for a top-10 finish.
He almost pulled it off.
Seventh-place starter Jake Hughes dropped to 12th on the first lap, which gave Tveter 11th place. He got ninth on the second lap when the two drivers directly in front of him, Stefan Riener and Kodric, made contact and spun while dicing for position. Tveter was able to avoid the incident, but during Reiner’s spin Reiner’s wing made contact with Tveter’s front-left flap and broke it.
“It was just small front-left damage and not quite as bad as the damage I had in the first race, but it still definitely affected the car’s handling,” Tveter said. “I was still able to fight and keep up with Hughes, as well as hold off some strong challenges from the guys behind.”
Morris passed him on the third lap to put him back in tenth place, where he came under attack almost immediately by Hughes. Tveter held Hughes off until Hughes got by him working lap six, and he was still in 11th place, chasing Hughes, when the checkered flag waved on lap 15. He was 2.801 seconds behind Hughes at the end and 0.460 of a second ahead of the 12th-place finisher, Owens.
The polesitter, Aurelien Panis, the son of former Formula 1 driver Olivier Panis, led every lap of that race and the top four positions never changed. All the podium positions were taken by drivers on the ART Junior Team, although Tveter’s team still leads the team point standings, 154 to 149. There have been seven different winners in the first seven races, and Tveter is 12th in the driver point standings with nine races remaining.
Tveter said he felt he might have been able to qualify sixth or seventh this weekend, but he ended up 14th in both qualifying sessions. “My sector times were good, but I had a couple of small mistakes, a couple of yellow flags and traffic on my last lap,” he said. “I had the pace to be higher, but I just wasn’t able to put it all together for one really good lap. That’s something every race driver focuses on.”
Tveter’s next event is a Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup event slated for Moscow, Russia June 27-29. It will be his first visit to that country.
For more information on Tveter, who is currently on a leave of absence from his engineering studies at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., see his website at RyanTveter.com. He is also on Facebook at Facebook.com/RyanTveter and he’s @RyanTveter on Twitter. He posts on-board video on his YouTube channel too.
For more information on the team, see jk-racing.de. The series’ Web site is at necup.com.