After 11 rounds, this is what it all came down to. A final 2 hour endurance at Monza, starting at dusk and running on into the dark. Monza is usually a track I go well at and in practice sessions I washed good pace, finding a lot of time over my previous best in the AMG and recording a personal best of 1:49.5 the day before the race. If I could keep it together for 2 hours I was in with a chance of a good result.
With 16 starters, I qualified 7th which wasn’t that bad. I wasn’t able to match my previous pace, being about 0.5s slower but was still happy with 7th in a tight field. I got away well and although I got two wheels on the gravel on the outside of Turn 1, everyone got away cleanly and I ended the lap running in 5th in between Ant and Trevor.
I didn’t drive the early laps very well and forgot my car was heavy with fuel which allowed Trevor to catch and pass me at Parabolica on lap 2. I then missed the first chicane and had to fight to keep Chris behind me. Trevor started to pull out a gap which was at 1.5s when I ran wide exiting Ascari on lap 6, allowing Terry to get close enough to pass me at Turn 1 on the following lap. He was flying and while trying to keep up with him I damaged the car against the wall at Ascari on lap 9 and my tire pressures started to fall. Struggling with the tire pressures, Chris passed me and I decided to pit to repair the car.
I rejoined down in 13th, about 40s behind Lee. With my tires still warming up I pushed to hard at Parabolica and banged the wall, damaging the car again – for the rest of that stint I struggled with tire pressures from that contact and the dropping temperature, effectively ruining any chance I had of a good result.
I eventually caught and passed Dan for 11th place on lap 22 and had Lee 20s in front of me in 10th. On lap 25 I missed the braking point for the first chicane totally and picked up a drive through penalty for not slowing down enough. I served the penalty on the following lap but any chance of catching Lee was gone – in fact, I had to catch and pass Dan again now.
Then, with an hour and 4 minutes to go the server decided to eject several drivers and we dropped from 16 drivers 9 over the space of about 30 seconds. Luckily, my connection stayed and the drivers entered the server again although they would all have their work cut out to reclaim their previous positions. With an hour to go I stopped for my mandatory stop – 59s with fuel, tires and repairs.
I rejoined in 9th, just behind Dan and we had a good fight for a lap until Ben caught us both and passed. As others stopped around me I rose up to 7th. The circuit lights were now on and it was noticeably darker. I ploughed on and with fresher tires and better pressures set my best lap so far with a full tank of fuel – 1:51.166 which compared quite well with the leaders. The only problem was that they could do it continually and I couldn’t! I dropped to 8th after clipping the kerb at the second chicane and allowing a resurgent Dan through on lap 43. 5 laps later, after a trip through the gravel Lee passed me too. The trip through the gravel damaged the body work causing the tire pressures to drop. I pitted to repair them (only 19s!) and got back out again without losing any positions and with 14 minutes remaining.
On lap 55 I hit almost every kerb at Ascari and severely damaged the car. I limped back to the pits and after almost 2 minutes of repairs (in which I nipped to the loo) rejoined in 12th which is where I finished on lap 60.
All in all I was disappointed with the result although I’d enjoyed the driving. Once again I’d had my race spoiled by silly mistakes and a lack of consistency. In practice I’d done well and been able to keep things going but as temperatures dropped and the pressure of the day took it’s toll I made small amounts of contact which affected the tire pressures – and once they were gone they were gone.
Over the 2 hours, I got my SA back up to 71 although my consistency rating took a massive hit dropping 6 points to 78. We’ve got a 2 week break until Season 3 and I’m going to spend the first week of that away from the game. When I come back for Season 3 I’m sticking with the Lamborghini and will concentrate on getting my consistency up. Although my pace isn’t good enough for wins there are 4 or 5 other drivers with the same pace as me and I can have good races with them if I don’t throw it away.
All in all I finished 7th in the championship which isn’t that bad really…. I wanted 6th though!