Switching from Go Kart Racing to Formula One racing brought fruits of patience for Jehan Daruvala this year as the racer of the Sahara Force India Academy won Lady Wigram Trophy, which is a prestigious event in New Zealand. Jehan was indulged in Go Karting a year before.
Jehan took a while to catch up with the winning speed at the Ruapuna Park Circuit on January 18, 2016, and shocked everyone as he finished first even after starting far behind that.
In Qualifying 1, Jehan managed the 8th position. Qualifying 2 proved to be worse as the session was red flagged for a brief period. Most drivers used this period to change from wet tyres to slicks but Jehan opted to remain on wets, which was a wise decision.
Jehan was soon fastest, once the session started. However, the track dried faster than expected and he fell rapidly down the timesheets, ultimately qualifying 15th out of 18 racers.
At the start of Race 1, Jehan lost a position, but soon recovered and had a straightforward finish at eighth.
The reverse of the top-eight would be the starting positions for Race 2. Jehan therefore, started on the pole for Race 2 but made one of his worst starts to fall down to ninth. The situation got even worse after he was hit from behind under a yellow flag and fell to 16th. He made his way back to finish 13th.
Jehan was most determined to make the most of Race 3, starting in 15th. The race started in damp conditions with all drivers on slicks. Jehan made a couple of positions at the start.
The drizzle increased and Jehan’s teammate Pedro Piquet, son of Former F1 World Champion Nelson Piquet, pitted for wet tyres. He gained a lot of time on wets and Jehan was called into the pits.
After the stop, Jehan was a lap behind race leader Lando Norris. Jehan started carving his way up the field as he first unlapped himself from the race leader and then started overtaking others. A few drivers in front also pitted for wet tyres which gave Jehan a further advantage.
The turning point came when the safety car was deployed, negating the advantage of the drivers in front. All drivers were bunched up and only Pedro was on wets in front of Jehan.
The safety car pulled into the pits and Jehan did not put a foot wrong. He overtook Pedro and then one-by-one overtook the others, including some from around the outside of the hairpin corner. Within one lap, Jehan had moved from seventh to first and continued to pull away.
The safety car was deployed once again and the race was stopped, earning Jehan his maiden victory in Formula cars.
“My first two races were not ideal. Race 3 was really enjoyable. I really have to thank the team for making the right decision of putting me onto wet tyres at the right time. The safety car helped me close the gap and from then on I just had to make sure I made no mistake,” said Jehan.
Jehan further expressed his happiness after winning his first race. The man also agreed on more need to gain some pace and also work on his race starts.