2011 – RD7&8 Race Review
Its been a 72 hours since we got back from Zandvoort and generally pretty pleased with everything. My wife is still pregnant (38 weeks) so it was a big decision to attend in the first place but leading the championship and generally having a good season I really wanted to obviously. Still, it was a gamble that I’m pleased paid off.
Firstly the track, Zandvoort is a fantastic place to visit if you like motor racing circuits, or the beach for that matter. Budget, or lack thereof dictacted we’d be camping on this trip which I have to say was a hoot, in fact I got the best nights race sleep ever under canvas, never thought I’d say that. The first night was so windy and raining I thought the tent was going to blow clean away but overall it was a good way of saving money! The track is a mix of Oulton (mostly) and cadwell, the only slight downside for the 300’s was we hit the rev limiter in 6th very easily on the main straight which generally added to the problems of overtaking as everyone has the same vmax.
Qualifying went well on a drying track, finished P2 but on my last and quickest lap I had to pass Jamie, Flick and avoid a spinning Rob Smith in the chicane. Jamie had been blocked by another driving and sportingly chose not to block me. Complete respect.
Race One was good apart from my tyres going off which was my own fault for choosing the wrong pressures. We held station in second place for a few laps until the safety car came out and on the restart I got the jump on James Maclachlan round the outside into the first hairpin. The lead was short lived, less than a lap in fact… I was just about to find out I was not particuarly good through the final corner, very very important to a good lap time and race pace. It felt like the car didn’t have enough front end bite and would wash out. Now its easy to blame the car, but I tried just about every way I could to get the car through that corner and couldn’t seem to do it quickly, ultimately with more time maybe I would of changed the car a bit more on setup. On this lap James was so much quicker and dived to the inside of me before I could defend. Jamie and Jon Packer (Fudge to his friends) lined up behind James and unable to get back across to defend in time I was put out to dry on the outside and went from 1st to 4th at the first corner. It took 2 laps to get 3rd back, again at turn one and set off trying to get back to James who had now been overtaken by Jamie for the lead. By this point my tyres were cooked and it all ended up being pretty stagnent at the front, Jamie having a great race to come home first with James in second and I took third.
Race 2 we used a more conventional setup on pressures and was determined to make the tyres last the race. With the F1 staggered grid we funnelled through the first corner in grid position and I needed to get after Jamie in front quickly. Unfortunately it took until lap 2 to get past James for second, by which point Jamie already had a several second lead.I tried very hard to close him down but he always had enough in hand honestly, and I was too busy trying to keep James behind me compromising my ultimate pace. James got past me once, predictably when I didn’t get the drive through the final corner but retook him later in the lap so I had to be content for second place….or I would of been had I of kept it…..! On the run out of the final corner James got a better drive as usual, we past the timing beam 0.000 apart but I was adjudged to of been behind as we crossed the line and was awarded third. Jamie drove a faultless race and reversed the Brands results where I won both races and in doing so took back the lead in the championship. The good news is its pretty close, 6 points, or 3 points if you look at drop scores.
Roll on Rockingham…..