The Dutch Grand Prix will return next season at Zandvoort after a 35-year absence, Formula One organisers announced on Tuesday.
A deal to stage the race at the historic seaside resort circuit near Amsterdam has been signed for at least three years.
“I am pleased to see that Zandvoort will be part of the proposed calendar… and thankful for the hard work of Formula 1 to bring the sport back to the Netherlands”, Jean Todt, president of the sport’s ruling body the FIA, said.
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Red Bull’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen, born 12 years after Niki Lauda took the last chequered flag in a McLaren in 1985, hailed the prospect of lining up in his home race.
“It’s just an iconic, historic track,” Verstappen said in a team statement.
Formula One chief executive Chase Carey said the return of racing to the Netherlands was in line with their twin policy of “respecting the sport’s historic roots in Europe” whilst also looking for new venues.
“Next season therefore, we will have a brand new street race that will be held in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, as well the return to Zandvoort, after an absence of 35 years,” Casey said.
“In recent years, we’ve seen a resurgence of interest in Formula 1 in Holland, mainly due to the enthusiastic support for the talented Max Verstappen, as seen from the sea of orange at so many races.”
However, focus quickly shifted to the Rins-Marquez fight, which was exhilarating — so much so, that Rins tried to steal the win on what he thought was the final lap.
Rins led across the start-finish line heading into the final lap by a scant 0.001s, but lost the lead immediately as Marquez held firm following the initial overtake attempt.
On the penultimate lap — or what Rins thought was the final lap — Marquez had been met with an impossible round-the-outside challenge at the sweeping Woodcote right-hander.
Rins indeed crossed the line ahead but was off the circuit, and Marquez moved in front, albeit sliding on his rear tyre into the high-speed Copse turn where Quartararo and Dovizioso came to grief.
On the final lap, Rins took a wider line and outfoxed Marquez, who ran tighter. Rins snuck down the inside, Marquez stayed on his line, and 0.013s was all there was.
With the chequered flag waving, Rins took a glance to his left and saw the margin to Marquez, and celebrated a well-earned victory.
However, it could have been much different.
“My tactic during the middle of the race, I was able to recover a lot of tenths on the last corner,” Rins said after the race.
“On the [previous] two corners he was much faster, he go like 0.5[s quicker] every lap on T16, T17, [but] I recover a lot of time on the last corner.
“At the end last lap I was recovering a lot of time to him, and I did a very big mistake, two laps to the end I was thinking [it] was the last lap, I tried to overtake him on the outside and I saw him [still] going full gas.”
Back then, McLaughlin was just three years old and could only harbour dreams of racing success. Now, he’s living those dreams to the fullest, and a second drivers’ title is all but a certainty with the New Zealander building a massive 573-point lead.
Lowndes achieved the mark as a 22-year-old rookie with the Holden Racing Team in 1996, and went on to take 107 career victories alongside three drivers’ titles and seven Bathurst wins.
Sunday’s Race 22 win at The Bend Motorsport Park marked McLaughlin’s 41st career victory, opening a door into where the 26-year-old sits in ATCC/Supercars history.
McLaughlin is now sixth all time on the race winners’ list. Only Jamie Whincup (114), Lowndes, Mark Skaife (90), Garth Tander (54) and Peter Brock (48) have won more races.
Think of names like Glenn Seton, Mark Winterbottom, Allan Moffat and John Bowe. McLaughlin is ahead of all of them, and he’s continuing to rise up the list.
Master qualifier McLaughlin is already second all-time on the pole winners’ list with 60, behind just Whincup (80). Winterbottom (36) and Shane van Gisbergen (18) are the closest active drivers in the ballpark.
This is all before McLaughlin’s 100th round start, which fittingly comes at his home event at the Auckland SuperSprint across September 13-15.
Joining Lowndes is “awesome”, but usurping him on home soil would be even sweeter in such a competitive era.
“You never think that you can probably, in this day and age, win 16,” McLaughlin said.
“I’m so proud of the team to give me a car I can be able to do it.
“I’ve been saying the whole time, it was a privilege to drive this.
“Trying to stay humble, and drive the thing as fast as I can and thankfully it provides some results from time to time.
“Very lucky and hopefully [with] my 100th round in New Zealand coming up, maybe we get a win there and get maybe pass him [Lowndes]. We’ll see.”
The fast and ferocious Pukekohe Park Raceway holds special memories for McLaughlin, who as a teenager in 2013, became the youngest ever driver to win an ATCC/Supercars race.
It was a special moment for the then Garry Rogers Motorsport young gun, who shared the podium with Lowndes on that very special day.
Career win No. 1 was tough as the then 19-year-old held off a fast-finishing pack which included Jason Bright, Lowndes, van Gisbergen, current DJRTP teammate Fabian Coulthard and Will Davison.