Round 2 of the championship saw us visiting the Hungaroring, a track I’d initially dismissed as dull but is now becoming one of my favourites.
I did quite a lot of work for this race and was actually feeling pretty confident going into it. I’d done a practice qualifying and race session the day before with a few other drivers and had a comparable pace. I’d also done a lot of laps and, with the exception of Turn 4 where I often exceeded track limits, could lap consistently and cleanly.
I qualified with a 1:48.618 was qualifying time which was good enough for P9, less than 0.1 behind but 1.8s behind Bazoks that I’d fought so closely with in round 1. This was a bit disappointed as Bazoks had been one of the drivers from the day before and we’d had the same speed.
I made a good start and was able to squeeze past GTRacer84PL and bigyin86 at the first corner. I fought with bigyin86 into Turn 2.
Made up place when there was contact between terence-322 and Bazoks which sent terence-322 off track and then another when Bazoks and Bluefin234 came together after Bazoks was unbalanced after hitting the kerbs at Turn 3. I had a moment of panic when I thought I would be collected but I kept my foot planted on the floor and got through missing both spinning cars. I was now as high as 4th, dropping to 5th when bigyin86 passed me on the inside at 5 and then, in my excitement of having avoided all the carnage I missed my braking pint at Turn 11 and went off on to the gravel. Luckily, I didn’t damage the car but was now back in last place. At the end of the lap I was 1s behind Bazoks and thought that maybe I’d still be able to make race of it.
Bazoks soon passed diddy2112 and I was only 0.5s behind him at the end of lap 2. At the end of Sector 1 I’d fallen back to 1.3s but managed to pass during the lap to cross the line 2.1s behind Bazoks.
Silva_karter87 receied a drive through for track limits on lap 4 which he took immediately and rejoined 3s behind me. It was a poor lap for me and I fell further back, almost 6s behind Bazoks. He soon caught and passed me. As the race continued to unfold, I carried on pulling out a gap to diddy2112 while Silva_karter87 and the others continued to pull away from me. On lap 7 I hit the barrier hard and rather than limp around I returned to the pits, completed my mandatory stop and repaired the car.
After repairing the car I then binned it into the barriers at Turn 4 on my outlap and that was pretty much my race done and dusted. With light damage the car was a long way from optimal. I caught up with diddy2112 and we had a good fight for a few laps until we touched at Turn 1. At that point I must have done more damage as the car got even worse and he pulled away from me.
I tooled around at the back for the rest of the race and was glad when it was over. What a mess… and I’d had such high hopes for it too.
At the race end I was really dis-spirited with the whole thing but on reflection I actually learned quite a lot. The challenge now is to put it into practice.
- It turned out that I’d been adjusting the brake balance incorrectly and actually moving the balance rearwards rather than forwards. This was one of the reasons my rear tire pressures were so high
- I also had the brake ducts set poorly, again causing to much heat and soaring pressures in both sets of tires. At the time, I thought that the colour of the tire in the HUD indicated that it was graining or blistered but it’s actually temperature. My small brake ducts were giving me good braking but affecting my tires
- I’m using to much steering input, sliding the tires and causing graining which is then compounded by the high pressures and temperatures.
- Both of my tire pressure issues were causing poor handling and why I couldn’t get any more speed out of the car.
I set my fastest race lap of 1:49.179 while my pressures and temperatures were good. I should be able to get faster as the race goes on.
I forgot to record the race (again) and need to remember to do that. I know nobody watches them on YouTube but I find them useful to watch back and learn from. If I don’t record it then I lose the opportunity.
Throughout the race I managed to increase my SA slightly to 57/99 while both by CC 61/99 and CN 73/99 took significant hits because of my many errors and poor times.
Next week the race is at a wet Silverstone so it’s likely to be a bit of a lottery. I need to get my tires working properly and just see what I can do. I left Suzuka feeling positive and confident and my goal for round 3 needs to be to get that feeling back.