We departed from Leastone HQ on Wednesday evening and headed for Dublin port for my first journey to Donington Park. We arrived at the track in the early hours of Thursday morning, managed to catch a few hours’ sleep before setting up and preparing for the afternoon test sessions.
Getting to know the track was going to be the first hurdle to overcome, and getting used to such a high powered car was next! Testing went well, with two half hour sessions just enough to get to grips with all I had to learn, both on the track and in the car for now.
We had Friday off, having a break between testing and race weekend was somewhat unusual but we put the time to good use, tweaking the 1000 following my feedback from testing.
On Saturday, qualifying went well, dealing with lots of traffic made it difficult to get a clean lap. However I finished up with P6 on the grid for race 1. Pressure was on now to bring home the silverware which was my goal from the outset of the weekend.
Saturday afternoon. Focused on getting a good start, I was conscious of the importance of warming up my slicks, a new relatively new experience given the Toyos I was used to on the Formula Vee. While waiting for the five second board I got my head in the game and was ready for action, popped it into gear when the board went up and waited for the five red lights to come on and revved up. As soon as the lights went out I dumped the clutch and with some surprise I shot forward to get the start of my life! I’d vaulted from P6 to P1 overall - just like that. The process of holding the field off proved a bit more difficult, as our straight line speed wasn't as quick as the 1400’s or some of the 1000’s either. I managed to settle into P4 for the whole race, concentrating on gaining experience of both car and track. I eventually crossed the line P3 in class, something I was more than happy with in the first championship round.
Sunday qualifying got off to a bit of a slower start, with considerably more traffic and a red flag incident, meant that we didn't get a full 15 mins of qualifying. I finished up with a P7 grid slot for race 2 and I was a bit disappointed with my performance so I built myself up to make amends at the start.
I was fully focused on getting as good a start as yesterday, but was on the dirty side of the straight so a bit more work to do for me. At the start of the race, my traction was not as good off the line, I only got from P7 to P3 by Redgate. My pace was so much faster than the previous day’s race and I managed to hold P3 for most of the race. Following a mistake at Redgate, I dropped to P4 but 4th overall and another 3rd in class meant another trophy coming home with us. My times were much faster than qualifying and day 1 racing, and reached my goal of dipping into the 68 second bracket, which was nearly a second and a half quicker than my previous personal best.
Thanks to my sponsors Selco Hygiene Supplies, to my team Leastone Racing, to Paul and Mark for such dedication to the weekends success. My team mate Morgan also had a good run in Race 2, following a tough Race 1, so it ended up a great weekend all round. Thanks also to Rachel Lovett in the Monoposto Club and the whole Monoposto grid for making me feel at home. Looking forward to the next rounds both home and abroad....