Race Club Season 3 Round 6/12 – Spa-Francorchamps

As we arrived at the mid-point of the season, I had to reflect that on the whole it had been pretty bad so far. So bad in fact that I hadn’t bothered to writeup the previous 2 rounds and had even quit the Kyalami race after crashing out having done no practice. In season 2, I’d actually had quite a good race at Spa and having put in some practice this time I wanted to get my season back on track.

Race

I made a good start towards getting a result by qualifying 8th of 16, only 2 places behind my teammate, Ben, in the #95 Lamborghini in the same livery. The 2 Bentleys and the 2 Ferraris were also in identical liveries and the whole grid looked good as we booted it at the line. Everyone got through Eau Rouge and Radiation without incident and I had a good fight with Jack all the way to Malmedy, holding on to 8th. Exiting Les Fagnes I was able to pass double-champion Dan for 7th after he had to take action to avoid Trevor. I lost the place at the end of the lap as he got a better exit out of the chicane. Behind me, Jack, Trevor and Chris tangled which gave me a bit of a gap.

Other than a large power-slide at the top of Raidillion on lap 2, the next few laps were uneventful. Dan started to pull away from me only for him to get Trevor again at Pouhon, bring me up to 6th on lap 4. Always a quick driver, Dan caught and passed me a couple of laps later and I only recovered 6th on lap 7 when I found Terry in the barriers at the top of Raidillion and rose to 5th when Dan had a rare lapse of concentration at Les Combes on the same lap – up to 5th with 45 minutes remaining!

Trevor and I at the top of Raidillion

Ben S was 10 seconds in front of me so with Ben G in the other Lamborghini another second in front of him. I settled in to find some rhythm and keep my 5th place. I knew I couldn’t keep pace with the leaders. The pit window opened with 40 minutes to go and a few drivers with damage pitted immediately which lifted me to 4th when Ben stopped to fuel and repair the other Lambo. I pressed on and with 31 minutes to go stopped for fuel nd tires – miraculously, the car was undamaged!

After a 30 second stop I restarted and rejoined in 6th behind Chris who had yet to stop. After Chris and another driver stopped I returned to 4th place by lap 15 with my teammate behind me. I let him know that I’d let him through once he caught me. I needn’t have bothered as I then hit the kerb on the inside of Stavelot, tipping me off the track, into spin and into the barriers. I recovered quickly but dropped to 7th in the process as both Ben, Terry and Trevor shot past.

At the chicane on 17, Jack and Trevor collided and I was able to pass Jack who had to pit. Trevors car was damaged and although I was quicker I couldn’t find a way past him. We had a couple drag races which ended when we collided at La Source on lap 20 with 13 minutes remaining. We both rejoined and I tried to pass him on the Kemmel straight. Both of us were slower than usual which allowed Dan to fly past, I between us both. I made the pass at Les Combes and was back in 6th.

Dan started to pull away and I was able to pull away from Trevor, finishing in 6th place. My best result of the season by a long way!

Lessons Learned

The biggest lessons learned over the evening were 1) the benefits of practice and 2) the benefits of confidence. I was happy with my setup (I used the same one as I’d used in season 2) and was confident I knew how to drive around Spa consistently and most importantly without binning it.

I was disappointed with the accident I’d had at Stavelot which had cost me any chance of finishing 4th. 6th was still a good result though and I was very happy with it as I went off for a beer. Halfway through the season I was in 11th place in the championship in a tight fight with Dan Wyatt and Jörgen – the 3 of us only separated by 3pts.

Over the course of the hour I managed to increase by SA by 2pts to 72 and my CN by a point to 81 (my CC remained at 100 – don’t ask me how I did that!).