It was an eventful weekend at Brands Hatch in August.
Testing on the Friday went largely without a hitch, however I was in regular discussions with both Rob and Dave within the DPR team to try and rectify a small vibration on the brake pedal during the day. Having fitted new brake discs to the car on the week leading to the race, they found at the end of the test day that the near side front disc had a machining issue from the factory and had imperfections which led to the brakes feeling less than ideal as I drove the circuit. The problem with this was that unfortunately, I was then unable to bed the new discs in before qualifying. This normally leads to the brake pedal feeling dead and sometimes difficult to judge, but if I didn't bed them in correctly, they could glaze through overheating which will put me back to square one (difficult to do when you only have 15 minutes).
This went relatively well, I was on Pole for most of the session, and was then pipped to the post by Dave Robinson having agreed that I would try to give him the perfect tow to have him sitting on P1 to enhance his chances of winning the race. Have both successfully achieve this, I was then knocked to 3rd place on the last lap having come into the pits early with an excellent and final lap by Andy West.
I got off to a good start and moved up to second place when Dave Robinson missed a hat full of gears off the start from second. I fell back to third on lap 3 and moved into second again on lap 4. I followed Sean Bryne who moved himself to 1st for a further seven laps where I felt that my overall lap time was faster. I tested a move a couple of time and got an excellent drive down the inside of him through Surtees where we were both heading into the corner beside one another. He turned into the corner aggressively and moved me onto the kerb where we then touched and were both knocked off the circuit.
We both recovered back onto the circuit on last place, however I have a puncture and finished 24th as a result of needing to come into the pits to get the spare fitted.
The car mainly suffered cosmetic damage, however the steering was off to one side and the car didn't perform well when I went back onto the circuit.
Due to the incident, I was called to the Clerk of the Course's office to establish who was at blame. After the Clerk reviewed both my and Sean's in car footage, he decided that it was a racing incident and no blame was made, and more importantly no penalties for race 2 (although starting at the back couldn't really get much worse)
Good start again in Race 2, by the end of lap 1 I had moved 8 places to 16th. By lap 7 I was 12th and then it became painfully obvious that the car wasn't handling right. Due to the car having a new tyre on the front left (Brands being a right handed circuit where this tyre is made to do most of the work) it was leading the car to under steer badly and I about 1second slower than I was in race 1. This slowed my progress and was not helped by the safety car coming out to recover a car stranded on the circuit.
I was able to move further up the pack through race craft, rather than sheer speed to finally finish 5th overall. I had made up 19 places in the race and enjoyed every second, however it was also disappointing that I felt that I could have done better with the car feeling like it did in race 1.
DPR Motporsport once again made gallant efforts to make sure the car was in perfect order for the weekend and it could never have been foreseen that I would suffer the issues that I did in race 2 following the change of tyre.
The next race is at Oulton Park in Cheshire on Saturday 14th September. I am looking forward once gain to racing with the Supersport grid where this is a very fast and technical circuit. With only the test day beforehand I feel slightly unprepared, knowing that many of my fellow competitors having been testing there recently, however I will be sure to give it 110%