The second round of Season 2 was held at Imola with another 2 half hour sprints. Traditionally I’ve never done well at Imola and always had poor results – would this be any better? To compound things, I hadn’t done a great deal of practice and this was the first track that I’d been to in the Lamborghini were I wasn’t a couple of seconds quicker than I was in the AMG.
In qualifying, I failed to set a time so was forced to start the race from the back. The first lap was so chaotic that this actually turned in a blessing in disguise. Even before we arrived at Tamburello on the first lap several cars were involved in collisions and I was up to 7th behind Roger and Matt by Tosa and passing Matt at Aqua Minerale. The following lap, Roger let me through (he was having problems with his rig) and I was up to 5th. All I had to do was hang on!
The next few laps were quite lonely – I didn’t have the pace to catch the leaders and they started to pull away from me by a few seconds a lap. On lap 4, a recovering Ant passed me and after I bungled the Variante Alta on the following lap Any passed me, dropping me down to 7th with Terry right behind me. 4 laps later I took the position back when he left the track at Tamburello. After my spin I’d damaged the car and was struggling to maintain tire pressures. As they started to fall, Andy and Terry started to catch me and both shot past me on the run to Tamburello at the start of lap 15.
On the final lap they collided at the Villeneuve chicane and I was able to catch them. Andy lost control exiting Piratella and slid in front of me. With nowhere to go and with less than a lap remaining I kept my foot down and pushed him out of the way. The car was very badly damaged but I was able to bring it home in 7th place – a disappointing finish really.
I made a better job of qualifying for race 2 and started 5th on the grid between Ben and Chris. By the end of the 1st lap I’d dropped to 9th after some scrappy driving with Andy, Jörgen and Terry. Terry and I fought closely for a while until he made a mistake and I went past, only to lose the place at Rivazza. A few laps later, we both made up a position after Jack had an accident – and 2 more after Andy and Jörgen collided. I stayed close to him, going into Rivazza neck and neck on lap 6. We both went into the gravel allowing Andy through.
Andys Lexus was fast and arriving at Tamburello later on I hammered the kerbs a little to much and span off into the gravel, dropping down to 9th behind Jack. I would have finished there too had I not passed Andy stricken Lexus on the final lap. Another poor race.
All in all a poor evenings racing and I was happy to switch off the PS4 and have a beer. I’d improved my SA and CC by a point but had by CN drop by 3. I didn’t really learn anything either, other than it would have been a good idea to practice. All of my incidents were caused by trying to make up time on a track I knew I should have been quicker than I was.
By the time the results were calculated I’d moved up 2 positions in the championship to 6th so it wasn’t all bad…. but it didn’t feel good either. The next round is at Kyalami, one of my favourite tracks so I’ll definitely be putting in the effort there.