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Jaap van Lagen ‘very happy’ with first race despite botched start

Jaap van Lagen says he is very happy with his first race in the TCR Europe series at Zandvoort, despite a poor start that saw the Leopard Lukoil Team driver slip from pole position to fourth on the opening lap.

An issue with revs prevented the Dutchman from making the most of his pole position at Zandvoort, allowing Mikel Azcona, Attila Tassi, Josh Files and later Dušan Borković through as van Lagen slipped to fifth on lap one.

But the Audi driver valiantly fought back during the race, first passing Borković around the outside at Turn 8 before throwing a late move up the inside of Files for the final podium position at Turn 1 late in the race.

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Van Lagen was pleased with his performance, despite missing out on the chance to fight for victory in front of a huge home crowd.

“In free practice I did three practice starts, but you do it at the end of the pitlane, and all my starts were fantastic, they were really good,” explained van Lagen to TouringCars.Net. “We decided to keep this RPM for the race.

“But my RPM was too low; I released my clutch and I nearly stalled the engine. I lost four places to P4. After that I had a very good race. The car was really quick with a good balance and good traction, so I could fight back to P3 with some nice moves on Borković and Files.

“After the start I was very happy with the race, but the start destroyed my race.”

Van Lagen believes he could have passed Tassi for second if there were more laps in the race which was curtailed by an early safety car phase.

“After the safety car we has only 14 minutes left, which is not a lot, and I needed more laps to overtake Tassi – I was a lot quicker than him. I’m sure I could have overtaken him.

“Overall with the weekend I am very pleased with everything, so the only mistake was a misunderstanding with the launch control at the start, that’s it.”

Van Lagen explained that he was approached about a wildcard entry for the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) races at the Zandvoort circuit, but that the budget required was too high.

“They asked me first, but they needed a big budget for this race or a famous name. In motorsport I am quite famous in Holland, but they needed a famous name so they took the Prince from Holland.

“The other guy [Michael Verhagen] is paying a lot of money for that, so [there was] no chance! It’s not a shame, it’s just the way it is.”

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