Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Silverstone Race 1 + 2 (27th March 2011)

After a very long winter of preparation and much anticipation, the season kicked off in glorious sunshine at Silverstone. We were racing at the new Grand Prix Circuit so not only were there races to win, but the fastest lap of the weekend during the races would also earn the new track lap record for Roadsport B.

Testing on Friday went without a hitch, I posted some of the fastest times of the day but there were many drivers also doing well. On Sunday the qualifying session and two races were all crammed into the same day. The temperature had dropped from Friday and I forgot to check the tyre pressures before setting out for qualifying.

I set out at the back of the pack for qualifying in the hope that I could catch some of the slower cars whilst getting a tow down some of the very lengthy straights that will cause so many problems for the person on Pole. I posted good times in the clear laps in the early part of qualifying and hit traffic towards the end of the session. This slowed my progress at the end of the session while tripping over a number of other drivers who were also looking for the perfect tow.

Having returned to the Garage, I learned that I GOT POLE with a lap time of 2:35.429 which was the perfect start to the season! I cant imagine that any driver that has been round the circuit couldn't have felt blessed with having driven at the circuit and I still think now of all the other famous drivers who have shared in the thrill of driving at this fantastic circuit. Not many however have started from position 1(Pole!) and watched the lights go out from the best seat on the circuit - something that I will never forget!

My time was only 300ths of a second faster than last years Group 2 Champion Kurt Brady so the race was going to be very tight indeed.

Race 1 was very close, due to the drafting opportunities I felt that starting on Pole was actually going to be a disadvantage. This was confirmed when the lights went out. I got a very good start however by the first lap, I had fallen to 4th, having been drafted and making a mistake near the end of the lap. I lost count of the amount of times that the lead changed hands with 8 drivers in the lead pack. Me, Kurt Brady and Mike Hart were battling for the lead in the final laps of the race where I managed to keep in front for the chequered flag. My first win of the season was race 1 with Kurt Brady second, only 0.2seconds behind.

Race 2 I started on Pole again having won race 1! I got a better start, creating a gap that allowed me to lead for the first 2 laps but not breaking the tow from the following drivers. Once again there was a monumental battle for the lead where 8 hungrier and more aggressive drivers battled, with wheel arches and bodywork falling off at every corner I experienced my first lost wing of my Caterham racing career. This of course wont be the last time but it did knock me out of position and stifled my progress in chasing for the lead. Lap 6 I was leading again, only to fall back to 4th as the chequered flag was raised.

Whilst I was disappointed not to finish higher in race 2, however due to the drafting I just wasn’t leading at the right time. The combined results put me in second, two points behind Kurt Brady in the Championship. I also got the fastest lap in race 2 with a time of 2:36.358, which was faster than in Race 1, therefore creating the Lap record for this configuration at the GP Circuit in the Caterham Roadsport B class.

I am absolutely delighted with this, something that very few people can boast at the most prestigious circuit in the country. Next Race Snetterton on 24th and 25th April!

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