Dennis Olsen, who drives his first season in Formula Renault 2.0 finished strongly in the last race and secured an third place finish in the NEC Championship. The goal-oriented 17 year old is the only one of the 50 drivers who have completed all races with points. This weekend’s race in Zandvoort proved to be a thriller where points distribution, weather and tactics could make a big difference. Nothing was decided until the last meter and amazingly enough Dennis once again showed his capacity as a driver.
Five riders fought hard for the prestigious medals and Dennis was the only newcomer among experienced drivers who competed for medals. It was to run three races before it was settled. During Friday’s training Dennis was among the three fastest in the pouring rain. On Saturday morning the rain gave up and qualifying which was divided into two groups ran on a drying track.
- I was in the first group and had to drive on a track that was faster with every lap we ran. I pushed hard from the start as I knew a red flag on the slippery circuit was likely. Eight minutes and halfway through the qualifiers, I was in the top when a car ran off the track and the red flag came out. When we came out on the track there were four minutes left that gave us two laps to do it. In the very last lap I was set for a new best time but had to brake and steer away from a car spun in front of me and tumbled down to fourth place – says Dennis
Dennis had a very strong second best time and ended up second. Group two qualifiers got a drier track and the two groups were therefore merged to give Dennis starting position 8 in the first race and 4 in the second race. Since the result of Race 1 was to determine the starting position in Race 3 the team had to make some strategic choices.
- The result in the first race on Saturday was to determine the starting position in Race 3 on Sunday. The first six on the list gets reversed down to sixth place in race 1 would give the pole position in race 3. I started eight and ran controlled into sixth place, securing pole position in race 3. This gave me the unique chance in the championship – says Dennis.
Was sure of an overall second place in the championship…
With good points in the first race and pole position in the third race he started from the fourth starting position in race 2. Jack Aitken was behind Dennis then there were two turns again . Jack lying on an overall second place in the championship and was threatened by Dennis took a chance and drove past the yellow flag . This would give Jack Aitken a penalty of 30 seconds and placed Dennis in second place in the championship.
- I realized immediately that overtaking on yellow flag would mean that I caught up to a combined second place in Championship. I rejoiced to be able to finish the last race from pole position. The team was quickly on the radio and said that second place was virtually assured. They did Stewards advised offense but unfortunately for us it was never awarded a penalty. What a shame for us but we still had a chance in the very last race Sunday night.
That didn’t happen though as bad weather continued in full force and the Stewards decided to cancel the very last race. Dennis finished the year with a sensational third place, rookie of the year and the only one of the 50 drivers in the championship who have completed all races with points. As part of the prize the Valer boy will get one test day in Formula Renault 3.5, a class below F1.
- Anyway I’m very happy to be able to finish the season in third place among drivers with many years experience. It would of course be fun to settle the championship in the last race but as it turned out, we could not have done it better than this. EVEN Management along with Junior Team Norway has given me every opportunity for a strong performance and I am very grateful that they give me this chance – says a satisfied Dennis .
EVEN Management is responsible for a broad focus on young talents and has several good drivers in his stall. Andreas Mikkelsen, Esapekka Lappi, Ole Christian Veiby and Pontus Tidemand run rally while Dennis driving a Formula car . Roy Snellingen’s sports director in EVEN Management and was very impressed with his debut season in Formula cars.
- There were few who believed in our goal of a third in the championship for newcomer, among the far more experienced drivers. We set sky-high goals and he has really proven that anything is possible . He is a hardworking and determined young boy and has shown very good progress in its first year as a formula car driver. This bodes well for the future.