2012 – RD9&10 Nurburgring GP Race Review
The plan for Germany was simple, get back to winning ways. Ian Payne had done a great job with 2 wins at Brands and Mark Shaw was hot on his heels both scoring excellent points. The top 3 in the table were close and there was no room for mistakes at the ring.
Testing had gone very well despite track temps of 42c, frequently a second or so quicker than most of our key rivals and over long runs even stronger, but you don’t score points for testing. Come race day the predicted change in weather arrived and the rain that R300’s had successfully dodged all year had caught us full on. Out on a wet track for the first time in qualifying we all had to find the grip, the lines and the times within a short 20 minute spell. Fortunately the car was hooked up and for the 4th time this season scored pole position this time with a comfortable half a second lead over Speed Series Driver and Caterham Instructor Darren Burke.
The weather was so bad for the first time our race was started behind a safety car. Darren made a move up the inside towards turn one as the race got under way and as I gave him room moving back across the track the car was braking on the blend line and not stopping as quickly as I would of liked. A run very wide conceded the position but fortunately that was all. The next few laps were spent building the lead over James Sharrock in third to the point where I was about a second behind Darren. Realistically to attempt to overtake Darren in those conditions would of required full commitment which was crazy considering we are not fighting him for the championship. Instead it was far more sensible to consolidate the points after Brands Hatch and give ourselves a good chance of race 2. Midway through the race the conditions worsened to the point there was standing water in several places and it was just the job to bring the car home in one piece. Still valuable points in the bag and over both Shaw (14th) and Payne (4th) with Sharrock taking the last podium slot.
A completely dry track awaited for race 2 and normal standing starts, albeit on a staggered F1 grid. We had run through various scenarios about where we might end up after the first corner and what to do; the most appealing option was to get the holeshot and checkout. As usual easier said than done. Fortunately it went according to plan and instead of looking in my mirrors for the first few corners we could drive the car flat out. By lap 2 the danger had passed and a healthy gap to Darren Burke was established which was continued to build over the first few laps until the safety car came out.
Apart from the safety car start to race one I had never had to restart the pack in all these years although I’ve been behind a few good and bad ones. As it turns out that too went to plan catching the pack slightly unawares before the final chicane I didn’t need to overly defend down the start finish straight and then set about putting in a qualifying lap to brake them again. On the first lap I pulled a 2.15.1 and probably one of my most committed laps ever gapping Darren Burke by 1.4 seconds.
From there everything went to plan driving consistently to bring the car home for my 6th win of the season. The usual fight went on for second place with Mark Shaw recovering up to second for a time before a last lap fight saw him overhauled by Ian Payne and James Sharrock. Burke finished 4th ahead of Shaw in 5th.
Having scored a fastest lap from race 1 the weekends haul was 49 points which put us back in the lead of the championship from Mark Shaw by 2 points, however the dropped scores position which is the one that really matters extends from 7 points to 12 with 4 races to go.
Snetterton is up next……
Posted on August 5, 2012, in Caterham, DPR Motorsport, Photography, Racing and tagged Caterham, Darren Burke, Dpr motorsport, GP, Ian Payne, Mark Shaw, Nurburgring, Paul Wilson, R300. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.