After a couple of good results as Suzuka last week I was keen to start a run of good results. With only 2pt seperating black306mi and I in the league I really needed to beat him. I didn’t get as much practice in as I would have liked and was averaging lap times in the mid 1:46 bracket by the time the race started. I’d done a race distance the previous night and concentrated on fuel, tire pressures and consistency.
I started the race in P11, between series newcomers P1_PILGRIM and Slow_Seamus. P1_PILGRIM made a mess of the start and was at 90 degrees to me before we’d even crossed the start line. I hit him, doing light damage to the car and dropping right back to P14 behind diddy2112. Blacky306mi, MrDidus and diddy2112 were all fighting closely in front of me and I soon caught up only for P1_PLIGRIM to spin me out The Crocodiles. He carried on, leaving me to recover and finish the lap in P14 while MRC_Dan_Gleeball pitted for some repairs.
I started to chase Slow_Seamus who was 2.8s in front of me. I caught and passed him on the inside at Leeukop, raising me up to P12 (I’d made up another permission when MrDidus had an accident earlier on). Slow_Seamus stayed close to me for a lap until I started to pull away and catch diddy2112. I got past him at Crowthorne at the start of lap 6 and after 9 minutes, I was back where I’d started in P11 with blacky306mi 4s in front of me.
I’d halved the gap within 2 laps and stayed with him until I made the pass at Crowthorne at the start of lap 12 with 9 minutes remaining. I had a big gap to crashtor_maldona in front of me and I concentrated on pulling out a gap to blacky306mi, eventually finishing 11s in front and in P9 after NXGEN_l8ger_f8nny ran out of fuel on the final lap.
I qualified with a personal best of 1:44.067. Although I felt good about the time it was only good enough for 9th on the grid. After a good start, crashtor_maldona and I made contact with each other at Barbecue. I was able to rejoin without losing a lot of time and pressed on, rejoining behind diddy2112. I passed him at Crocodiles and finished the opening lap back in P9 2.7s behind blacky306mi. I’d have to pass him again.
As we crossed the line on lap 4 I’d got the gap down to 1s. At this point, the much faster kitkartman who was behind me started to close up and rather than him them I let him through at Clubhouse Bend on lap 4. I soon regretted it as he didn’t pull away as quickly as I thought he would and the gap to blacky306mi started to increase. On the following lap, blacky306mi made an error at the entrance The Esses and we both went past, putting me in P8.
With 20 minutes to go, I set about extending my lead over him and brought the car home in P8, 30s in front of him.
The biggest lesson I learned here is the value of a good setup. Rather than try and work out a setup myself, for this race I chose to use one of the Coach Dave setups and after getting the tire pressures set correctly for the cold ambient temperature the car was so stable I felt really confident in it and able to push.
I also benefited from the track notes I’d made months before when Id raced here with the ESR crew. It already had all the gears and braking points written down so all I had to do was concentrate on getting quicker.
Across the 2 races I increased my safety rating to 74 (it had started at 73 but taken a hit after the 1st race incidents) which was an all time best for me (later that night I got it up to 77 as a few friends and I practiced at Laguna Seca). I also added a point to my consistency score (82/99) and 5pts to my car control (86/99). These scores are starting to flatten out now as I learn tracks.
The next race is an 80 minute race at Laguna Seca which should be interesting… if I can keep the same levels of consistency that I’ve had recently I might be able to get some valuable points.