Thursday, 26 August 2010

Brands Hatch - Bitter Sweet Victory

Testing at Brands Hatch did not go well on Friday. I shared a Garage with Kurt Brady who is a strong contender in Group 2, who was really doing well.

Since my last visit to Brands Hatch they have resurfaced a large portion of the track, which seemed to drive completely differently. I suffered with under steer during the day and could not get the car to run true around most of the circuit. I decided to raise the back of the car which would normally rectify this but it only made slight improvements to my times during the day. I was about 0.3 seconds off the pace and with lap times expected of 57.10 seconds this would be a real issue during the race. I went home a little deflated that evening hoping that by studying my data and video footage I could find some way of improving my times. That evening David Rowe of DPR Motorsport asked how I got on and suggested making further changes to the car, some of which I had never considered beforehand.

Saturday afternoon I was back at Brands Hatch for qualifying. I decided to make the changes that David at DPR suggested because I couldn’t risk being mid pack for the start of the race. The changes I made gave me better steering and I qualified 3rd on the grid. This was very positive because it gave me the inside line into the first corner which I planned would give me both an aggressive and defensive opportunity. Mike Hart was again the one to beat with Merlin who qualified 2nd.

Race day I lowered the car back down which brought the adjustments back into line because some of the changes I made assumed it would be raining. I was also planning to purchase new tyres if the track was very wet, which as it turned out was not required.

The race started and I was demoted to 5th by the second corner due to Mike Hart holding a defensive position and both Jon Mortimer and Blaize Rhodes getting a flying start. I battled my way back from 5th to 2nd where I pursued Mike Hart in 1st following his incident with Merlin which proved to change the result at the end of the race.

I battled with Mike to gain first place and but my position at the front was short lived. Mike overtook me on the last lap into Druids, which later was adjudged to be an optimistic yet illegal pass.

Having finished a close second in the race, in fact less than two tenths behind Mike the Clerk of the course asked to see my video footage following his overtaking move. Unfortunately he was dealt with a very hard penalty by being excluded from the race, which promoted me to 1st. During the race however I did managed to set the fastest lap, which was also fast enough to break the lap recor by almost 0.4 of a second at 56.962 something I am very proud of.

This result puts me in 1st in the Championship with only one round to go, however the exclusion for Mike is somewhat of a bitter result for the good of the season. Whilst I do feel that Mike did not deserve to win, his punishment did not fit the crime.

The next race is on 19th September and it should be a great finale to the season.

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