After a 2 week break to watch the football, the season restarted at Kyalami for 2 sprints – one in the dark and one in the day. I was really looking forward to these races as Kyalami is one of my favourite tracks and I was disappointed it didn’t get chose in Season 1. I knew the track quite well from the previous ESR and MRC races (admittedly in the AMG) and didn’t do a lot of practice. I was soon lapping at a similar pace to I had in the AMG and was feeling pretty good about my chances in the race.
After an excellent qualifying session, setting a lap in the low 1:44s I lined up 4th on the grid in between newcomers Stuart and Andy. I lost 4th to Andy in the first couple of corners, concentrating on getting through with cold tires and finished the lap only 0.1s behind him. He ran wide at Sunset and I was able to take the place back but with 4 quicker drivers in front of me I was sure 5th would be the best I could do. I settled down to try and hold my place.
I was surprised to find myself catching Chris in 4th on lap 5 with Ben breathing down my neck. I passed the white Aston on the inside at Crowthorne and pressed on, hoping that Ben and Chris would squabble over 5th and I could open a gap. They did and by the end of the lap I had over a second on them. Then, on lap 7 I clipped the sausage kerb at Cheetah and damaged the front of the car. With the balance affected, I oversteered into the wall at Barbecue on the following lap, losing 4th place to Ben. I didn’t want to stop and repair the damaged but was forced to on lap 9 when I damaged it once again at the Esses. I limped back and pitted for what seemed like an eternity while the car was fixed up, rejoining in last place with 12 minutes to go.
I passed Matt on my outlaw when he ran wide at the Esses and set about chasing Eddy in 11th who was 6s in front of me. I caught him on the following lap and passed him around the outside into the Crocodiles. I then smacked the sausage kerb again, damaging the car and smashing the windscreen making it really hard to see. With 7 minutes remaining, I managed to hold on to finish 10th – disappointing after such a good qualifying and having the pace to run towards the front.
My qualifying for the second race wasn’t quite as good and I could only manage 7th – this time I managed to hold on to it through the first few corners with Chris all over me. I made it up to 5th when Ant and Andy collided on the run down to the Crocodiles and I set about chasing Ben who was only 2s in front. I rose to 4th when Stuart span at Barbecue and by the end of the lap was only 0.3s behind Ben after he’d spun at Cheetah and I had to take to the grass to avoid him.
I pulled off an overtake on him on the inside at Crowthorne which I was quite pleased with but then threw away a great result, oversteering with to much power at Crowthorne on the following lap. Ben hit me and I rejoined with damaged steering in 8th. From there, the car was struggling but I was able to keep pace with Ben and Dan. Ben passed Dan and I was soon right behind him. I caught Dan on lap 6, passing him at the Leeukop hairpin. His Aston was faster than my damaged Lamborghini down the hill and though I tried to leave him space the car continued to drift right and pushed him off track as he tried to go around the outside at Mineshaft. I slowed at the Crocodiles and let him through, then decided to pit and repair the car rather than risk ruining someones race.
With 18 minute to go, I rejoined in 12th and last. Frustrated with myself for making mistakes, my driving got worse and worse and I finished in 12th, in a foul mood and very disappointed and frustrated with myself.
I’d not done a lot of practice and that was the killer for me here. In the first race I was caught out on the sausage kerb which I knew was there but was distracted by the pressure of other cars and made an error. It was a similar tale in the second race where, distracted by other cars I oversteered off.
By the end of the night, I’d increased my SA by 1pt to 70 and my CC by 1pt to 89. My consistency though had improved by 2pts to 77 but was still very low.
Next week we go to Misano – a track I don’t really know so plenty of work to do on both the track and staying calm under pressure.