Monday, 5 March 2012

2012 EP TC Nats - Round 1

So, finally the first race of our National Championship was run this past weekend.
I had raced the A700 only once before, a few weeks ago with good results and tested it in total for 5 runs. For some strange reason I stay approximately 5-6 hours at the track on Saturdays but only manage to practice twice or three times as I keep spending my time fooling around with friends and helping out others instead of focusing on the purpose I’ve actually came for in the first place.  Anyway that’s the most fun part of our hobby and wouldn’t change it for a thing.

Saturday’s practice had gone pretty well and I chose to leave the car as it was. I only did a couple of runs which I thought were enough to get me into racing mode.  The car felt great.

Sunday morning was a bit different.
Conditions were great, bright sun and descent temperature around 15 degrees but track felt like had lower grip than the day before. During the morning’s practice run I chose to scrub-in the new set of tyres that I’d use in Qualifying and to my surprise the car felt pretty unstable.

Anyway I decided to gamble and since we have a limit of two sets of tyres for the whole race, I chose to skip the first qualifying run and run the 2nd only, hoping that track conditions would improve. That didn’t work out as planned as starting from 10th position I had a lot of traffic in front and my run was quite messy. The car also did not have good pace either so the track had not improved since the morning.  I got 2nd position overall, about 4 seconds behind the leader which was quite a lot.
I really wanted to get the TQ spot so I run the 3rd and final qualifying run. I knew that with used tyres my chances to improve where not good but I tried my best and in the end managed to get TQ by only 0.3 of second! That was really lucky!

Finals were very exciting.  I lost the first one following a great pass by my friend Nick Geo.  and then a failed attempt of mine to re take the lead. The second one was less exciting as Nick made an error and lost ground which allowed me to get an easier win, although I made a few errors.
The last and deciding final was really nerve breaking. Nick was again glued to the back of my car. He was very careful not to make contact and was looking for an error of mine. Around the 2nd minute the error came and he went nicely through to take the lead. I expected this so I tried to maintain focus and concentrated on making clean laps.  In the end I got my chance, re took the lead but it was short lived as Nick and I made contact.  The referee called Nick to wait for me to recover and then a messy lap followed where we touched a few more times. In the end I was handed the win as Nick on his last attempt to pass me dived a bit too deep and could not avoid contact with my car so he was again asked to wait until I recover my position. The finish line was only a few meters ahead and I crossed it first leaving Nick in second place.
It was a bitter sweet win but I guess that’s racing.
I would describe my performance as average as my driving was very inconsistant making unforced errors and contact that was avoidable.
A bit of luck on my side made the difference in the final result.
Now I need to do a bit of more practice and learn what to change on my car when conditions change. It might have been something as simple as change in diff oil to make the car more stable, but being afraid of making it worse, I chose to run with what I had and just fight it out.

Following are videos of the 3 Amain finals and some photos from who will shortly post a full report of the race with a less biased point of view than mine!

I suggest you view the videos in full screen mode.

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