Traditionally, Brands Hatch is a track I do badly at but this time I was determined to change that and have a good race. In preparation I did a lot of work on my consistency and a lot of single player 30 minute races against the AI. Over time I got my best time down to 1:25.9 with race levels of fuel which I was pretty happy with – my best lap in the AMG in season 1 had been 2 seconds slower than that so I was definitely quicker. Sadly, so was everyone else!
The first race of the evening saw a bumper grid of 17 drivers take the start – with some drivers who’d not raced in a while I thought it might be a rough first couple of laps and I wasn’t wrong. Despite being a personal best, my 1:25.7 was only good enough for 8th on the grid and I lined up between Jörgen and Trevor. I got a bump from Trevor at Paddock Hill but no damage done and then dropped a few places avoiding traffic at Druids, exiting Surtees in 11th with Andy behind me. He dove up the inside at Stirlings, pushing me wide and I lost further places to Brian and Terry, finishing the first lap in 15th.
I had a good fight with Dan for several laps until he ran wide at Westfield and I set about chasing down Brian and Terry who were about 4 seconds up the road. I caught Brian after he’d made a mistake and really closed the gap down as he fought with Phil. I squeezed past at Dingle Dell, only to get a wheel on the grass at Sheene, doing a complete 360 spin and carrying on going, miraculously missing Brian in the process. Frustrated, I then span at Paddock and damaged the car, dropping to 14th behind Dan. All my good work was undone.
I followed Dan for several laps until with 14 minutes to go I damaged the car again, on the entry to Westfield. This time the car was badly damaged and I had to pit for repairs – taking over 35 seconds. From there, I continued to make mistakes caused by frustration and finished in 13th.
For race 2, I started in 11th and after a messy Paddock Hill and Druids, dropped right back. After almost passing Brian at Paddock, he came back at me into Druids with an incredibly lucky Chris (missing his braking point) and flying between us. Taking avoiding action I lost places to Terry and Phil putting me 12th.
I made up a place on lap 2 when Terry was tagged by Phil who made a mistake on the run down Graham Hill on the following lap, moving me up to 10th. After a couple of laps, I caught up with Brian and Chris, only to drop behind at Clark and almost enter the pits by mistake. I started to chase them down again but after spinning again on lap 10 (exiting Graham Hill) I couldn’t get the gap down and it stayed at just under 10s for the rest of the race. It was a shame as our Brian and I were doing almost identical laps and we’d probably have had a good race if we’d been together on track.
Throughout the evening I was frustrated by my performance at both starts and need to be more aggressive at the start. My frustration was compounded after my clash with Andy as he didn’t even finish the race!
By the end of the evening, my SA had dropped a point to 68, CC was unchanged and Chad dropped 3 points to 87. I was pretty fed up after having high hopes for some consistent driving. Still onwards and upwards to Silverstone next week. If I’m going to keep my 5th place in the league I need a good result as there are now 3 of us tied on points!