Brilliant weekend of racing and a lot of hard work in between!
Testing on Friday was a great way to get grips with the track, which proved a challenging track to learn with amazingly long straights and a lot of tight and tricky corners. The first two sessions helped me get to know the track, and sessions three and four were planned for pushing myself and my Leastone 1000.
Unfortunately, during the 3rd session I pushed a little too far leaving a lot of hard work for my team on Friday night to be 100% for qualifying on Saturday morning, at this stage we had to forego the last test session.
After a very changeable weather scenario on Saturday we had lots of rain for qualifying, and although I normally am a lover of the wet weather, the challenges on this track made it difficult to get to grips in the rain. I only qualified in P5 for Race 1 which wasn’t the end of the world, but I was disappointed.
For Race 1, the track had dried up and with a shot of caffeine from Little Dragon supplements, I was ready to race! Lined up and waiting for the lights, I mentally visualized how my start would go and seared with confidence, the narrow straight start was in my sights and I tore up the centre gaining a valuable 4 positions putting me in 2nd coming to the first corner. On the inside for the first corner I left my braking as late as possible and managed to snatch the lead! As soon as I got into the lead, I knew I needed to get my head down and try and create a gap. Coming out of turn 4 I could see I had the beginnings of a gap but under braking for turn 6, disaster struck, and the front upright suffered a failure where the steering arm bolts on, which left me crabbing and no longer able to continue. I was absolutely devastated.
Hoping to put Saturday’s race behind me, I got a great night’s sleep and knew that starting from the back of the grid was really going to be a tough drive in Race 2 - challenge accepted.
Again, more rain, although not as heavy as Saturday, there was no doubt as to the tyre choice: full wets.
I got a decent enough start and drove from P19 to P12 by Turn 1, and then tried to quickly drive my way through the field hoping to gain on the race leaders. After a few nifty moves, I got up to P3 with a few laps to go, and the leaders were not in sight, so I needed to keep it cool and make sure that I finished. Despite starting on the backfoot, it was a thoroughly enjoyable race in difficult conditions. I was happy with my performance and was pumped for race 3 on Sunday afternoon.
Once again, the track was still wet and humid, so we were out on wets again. Starting from P3 I had a lot of wheel spin off the line, but controlling the throttle, I managed to get to P1 under braking into turn 1 and defended into Turn 2. I wasn’t on the ideal line, and was too eager to get on the power, meaning too much wheel spin on the exit of the corner put me back to P2 where I battled defensively for most of the race, using my head (as instructed!).
I slowly started to pull a small gap with 3 laps to go and into the first corner with two laps to go, I suffered a chain failure, which was unusual and very disappoint. Until that point though, the battle for second was a thoroughly enjoyable race and I learned a huge amount both about the car and my ability in that race. Despite the difficulties of the DNF’s from this weekend, we still came away with a great podium from the back of the grid.
Once again, thanks so much to my team Leastone Racing, especially Paul and Mark, to my sponsors Selco Hygiene Supplies, Little Dragon Supplements and Adapt Paper. I am looking forward to Silverstone and Brands Hatch next month, two Grand Prix Circuits nonetheless!