Dutch delight for Midland stars 21 Aug 2006
Christijan Albers, Tiago Monteiro and the Midland Formula One team thrilled a crowd of approximately 500,000 motorsport fans who converged on the streets of Rotterdam in Holland on Sunday to witness the second-annual Bavaria City Racing event.
Despite heavy rain at the start of the event, both Midland drivers completed four laps of the temporary street circuit without incident - unless one includes the exuberant burnouts, lurid slides and doughnut spins that each driver used to punctuate his stint behind the wheel of the M16.
Local hero Albers, who originally hails from Eindhoven in the south of Holland, capped off his run on the drying track with an outrageous, nine-rotation doughnut that left the car engulfed in a cloud of tyre smoke for minutes afterward. Upon climbing out of the cockpit, Albers doffed his helmet and threw it into the crowd of appreciative fans.
"Wow, that was just incredible! he said afterwards. I knew it would be fantastic, because I participated in this event last year, but the enthusiasm of the Dutch fans never fails to amaze me. They turned out in record numbers today - in the rain, no less - so I hope they enjoyed what they saw here today.
Albers also found himself on executive chauffeur duty, driving extra laps in the safety car with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Rotterdam Mayor Ivo Opstelten as his passengers.
For my part, it was certainly a pleasure to be part of it, he added. I'm looking forward to more Dutch motorsport events in the future - including, hopefully, a Dutch Grand Prix!"
For Monteiro, it was his first appearance at the Rotterdam spectacular, and the Portuguese star thoroughly enjoyed himself, despite the somewhat difficult weather conditions.
"What an amazing day! he said. I had such a fantastic time. Rotterdam has an amazing little street circuit and extremely dedicated race fans. It's great that we were able to come here and represent F1. The weather was terrible, which made driving the car quite tricky, but I still had a great time. I would like to thank the race organisers and the people of Rotterdam for the warm reception they gave us here today."
The street demo wrapped up three days of intensive preparation and publicity for the Midland team, including a special 'Burning Rubber' gala dinner on Saturday night, which Albers got off to a raucous start by arriving in his M16.