It was supposed to be a wet race at Donington but after trying the server with various levels of rain I couldn’t face it – so instead it was a cold and cloudy weekend. Last season I’d quite enjoyed the Donington races and was looking forward to driving it again. A busy week at work meant that I wouldn’t get much time to practice so I’d have to rely on the few laps I could get in and previous experience.
Previous experience turned out to be worth more than I expected and lined up 9th of 18 for the 1st race, setting a personal best of 1:29.190 in qualifying. I got a good start, avoided the bit of contact that happened at the start and had a good run down to the old hairpin. On the outside here I got two wheels on the grass and went off track. I avoided the armco and was able to rejoin in 16th place. Not a good start.
I passed Matt at the chicane although not as cleanly as I would have liked and made up another 2 places at the first hairpin when Jason and James collided; one lap down and 1 gap of 2.2s to Dan. I soon caught him and passed him at the first hairpin and started to close the gap to Georgi. He was fighting with Silvio and it was hard work closing the gap. By lap 6 I had it down to half a second but I couldn’t find a way past until he made a mistake a Turn 1.
Silvio was harder to catch and I was soon on my own on track with a gap of 4s to him in 10th and Georgi in 12th. I threw that away when I span at the chicane and fell back to 13th with half the race remaining. I chased them down and had a good fight with Georgi for several laps until I made an error at McLeans. From then on I had a lonely drive to the end, lapping Matt on lap 14 and finishing in 13th. On the lead lap…. just!
My qualifying for the second race wasn’t quite as good and I could only manage 13th, picking up a drive through penalty at the start for being out of position pretty much ruined my race before it had started. After a clean lap I completed the penalty and rejoined in 16th and last place, 14s behind Matt. I caught him at the end of the lap and passed him at Turn 1, now with a 12s gap to Georgi.
From then on it was a dull race until with 10 minutes to go I caught James and Jason, fighting over 11th place (due to others having problems I’d risen to 13th by now). I passed James at the Crater Curves after he made an error and was soon right up Jasons chuff. I knew I was faster and I started flashing my lights like a madman trying to distract him. He made an error at McLeans and we touched. I paused and let him through again and recommenced flashing him like mad. I eventually got pass at the old hairpin and finished 11, being lapped by Stuart with 4 minutes remaining.
I’d enjoyed the nights racing but have 2 key things I need to look at. The first is positioning at the start – I don’t really understand what went wrong in the second race and can only think that I was lined up behind Ash (who also got a drive through for being out of position) and we were both to far forward. I need to be more aware of the car to my right or left I suppose.
The other thing I learned is that I really need to work on the final 2 hairpins as I’m sure there is a lot of time to find there and certainly a spot where I can improve my consistency.
After the evenings racing my scores were pretty much unchanged still at SA 68 and CC92 with only my dropping to 74 caused by a lack of consistency.