1000 KM SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS
Eric van de Poele posing with Carlos Ghys.
Eric van de Poele (born 30 September 1961 in Verviers) is a Belgian racing driver and former Formula One driver. He participated in 29 Grands Prix, debuting on March 10, 1991. He scored no championship points.
After a difficult 1984 season in French Formula 3, van de Poele then won the Belgian and Benelux Formula Ford titles, also racing in the Belgian Touring Cars Championship. In the next three years he raced in both the British and German Touring Cars Championships, also winning the Spa 24 Hours, sharing a car with Didier Theys and Jean-Michel Martin. He also dabbled in British Formula 3.
For 1989, he moved up to Formula 3000, placing fourth, and then finishing runner-up in 1990.
After this, he signed for the Modena Formula One team for 1991, driving their Lamborghini cars thanks to backing from long-time sponsors Lease Plan. He was unsuccessful in the first two races, failing to pre-qualify, but made it onto the grid for the 1991 San Marino Grand Prix. There he impressed in the rain, running 5th close to the end before the car ran out of oil, dropping him to 9th. The team, in financial difficulties, failed to build on this success, and van de Poele would not race again that year.
He then signed for Brabham in 1992, but the team were low on money. The Belgian qualified for the opening South African Grand Prix, finishing 13th, but then failed to qualify the outdated car again. He frequently matched team-mate Damon Hill in the other Brabham, however. For the Hungarian Grand Prix he switched to the promising Fondmetal team. He qualified the car at the first attempt, only to spin out. He then started an excellent 15th for the Belgian Grand Prix, finishing 10th, and qualified again for the Italian Grand Prix, only for the clutch to break. After this, Fondmetal also hit money troubles and withdrew, leaving van de Poele without a drive.
Aside from a largely-unused capacity as test driver for Tyrrell in 1993, van de Poele has since found considerable success in Touring Cars and sports cars, winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1995 and 1996 and the Petit Le Mans in 1998.
For 2006, van de Poele is competing in the GP Masters Series.
Concentrating on the start grid.
Lola B05/40 - Judd