Nadeau Scores Stunning Victory in Fastest Heat Race

Written by Team USA. Posted in Team USA News

Published on October 23, 1993 with No Comments

Oct 23, 1993 (by David Aronson)
Dartford, Kent — Jerry Nadeau was the star performer from today’s six preliminary heat races as part of the Formula Ford Festival & World Cup at Brands Hatch, England.

Nadeau, 24, driving the Valvoline/Ford Team USA Van Diemen RF92, started from pole position and scored a dominant victory as his rivals slipped and slithered in his wake on a treacherously slippery surface.

The young man from Danbury, Conn., moved expertly away from the start, making light of the fact it was the first time he had ever made a standing start.

“The track was so slippery (after morning rain) that I didn’t want to give it too many revs,” said Nadeau. “Actually I nearly stalled because I almost didn’t give it enough, although it worked out perfectly because I didn’t get any wheelspin.”

By the end of the third lap in his 12-lap race, Nadeau had pulled out more than 14 seconds. When the checkered flag finally fell, he had stretched his advantage to more than 26 seconds over his nearest challenger, Denmark’s Jan Neumann. Nadeau also established the fastest lap of the day at 59.90 seconds, for an average speed of 72.36 mph.

Incredibly, Nadeau achieved his victory despite being handicapped by a punctured right-front tire toward the finish.

“I was going through Graham Hill Bend with about four laps to go and suddenly the car almost got away from me,” said Nadeau. “Luckily the problem was on the right side of the car and this is primarily a right-handed circuit, so most of the weight is taken on the left side of the car. It didn’t affect us nearly as much as it might have done.”

Nadeau’s superb performance also netted a first British victory for American engine builder Ted Wenz, who has provided engines for Valvoline/Ford Team USA for the past three seasons in the most prestigious race on the British Formula Ford calendar.

“It feels good,” said Wenz. “I hope we can pick up one or two more tomorrow.”

Nadeau will start from the pole in his 15-lap Semi-Final race on Sunday afternoon, by virtue of winning the fastest heat race of the day. The top 14 finishers from each of two Semi-Finals will progress through to the 20-lap Grand Final later in the day.

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