Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Snetterton 2013, found race pace, ran out of luck.

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(©Jakob Ebrey -

Sure seat time has a role to play, along with driver errors, but luck is second only to driver skill when it comes to making it onto the podium. Luck determines whether you get stuck with nowhere to go in a crash, or if you pick up a puncture or alignment damage. Skill gets you the speed, luck gets you the win.

Bad luck is what I had at Snetterton.

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(©Jakob Ebrey -

Qualifying went really well, with rain just before we hit the track, the field was bound to be mixed up. As the track dried out, luck said that the car destined for the checkered flag span on the last corner allowing me to slip by and pick up that one last flying lap that slid me happily into P4, my best qualifying of my rather short racing career. P7 was my second fastest time, and my second best outright qualifying position of all time, brilliant, two solid starting points for both races, right on.

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(©Jakob Ebrey -

Race 1... P4 on the grid, 2nd row, just 2 cars in front of me, just two... Calm and collected we entered turn 1 3 wide. 2 G40s and one G20, as the 20s get ripper starts, he was up there fighting for position. Now, it could be argued that he had no right to be there, as he's in a different slower car, and fighting for position with 40s just screws everybody over... but it's not always there in black and white. P2 span going through turn 1, causing the 20 to smash into the side of me, damaging my rear wheel alignment, and sending me right to the back of the back... Like I said, luck. Both the 20, and the car that span from P2 didn't finish the race due to damage. I however, did. I went into the pits on the first lap to make sure I hadn't picked up a puncture, and that any hanging body work could be ripped off, left the pits and continued the race, now 1 minute and 40 seconds behind the lead car. My car was crabbing really badly, to the extent I was driving down the straights with my steering wheel turned 90* to the right. Through the corners the car was even worse, unstable and unpredictable. Somehow I wrestled it around for 7 laps, putting in a clean 2:13.5, matching my best testing time of the day before... something inside me had clicked... something just seemed to be working now... I was driving quickly, after 3 months of trying to figure out how, I had cracked the code, and everything just fell into place!

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(©Jakob Ebrey -

Race 2, P7, I surely couldn't get the same bad luck as race 1, I knew I could work my way up the pack and fight for that podium with my new found speed. Guess what, bad luck struck again... You know, race 2 is so exciting to watch, I'm not going to tell you any information, you'll just have to watch it! It's my opening lap, and my fastest lap back to back. 2:11.7, 0.8 off the lead cars pace. I defintely had the pace, just not the luck. Absolutely insane. 

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(©Jakob Ebrey -

Race 3 I was ready for, really wanted to show that pace and pick off the places to the top. Again turn 1 I had an incident, not sure but it felt like I had a little help with my spin, but considering I was out on the rubber tire marbles from the GT race just before, it's entirely plausible that the car just lost grip. Again I had work to do... I enjoy overtaking, and racing up the pack, but it's not what I want, I WANT that podium, I need it... By the time we crossed the line for the end of lap 2, I had picked up 8 places and gone from 26th to 18th. By lap 4 I had moved up to 14th place. From lap 2 onwards, I was on the speed, through the traffic and slower G20s, I was well into the 2:13 lap times, and for the remaining laps, with minimal traffic, I put in another set of 3 2:12.0 lap times, just like race 2. I finished that race p14

Unfortunately I don't have race 3 video, or footage of the crash in race 1. The crash I really didn't feel like watching at the time, and I just wanted to ignore it and move on, remember the mood and zone I had just found to keep the pace.

Race 3s file format is incorrect, and I haven't figured out how to change it and make it work.

Here's a great comparison video between my fastest race lap (top) and my fastest test lap (bottom).

Spa is next, and with my new found confidence, speed, and calmness... Well, I'd say that to have my first podium, even my first win, be at Spa, I would be lost for words, and simply ecstatic. SIM time for learning Spa, and some time in the car at Silverstone will just cement my new driving style, and improve that first podium chance.

My MOMO gear was flawless as always, kept me cool and comfortable in every race. click on the MOMO logos here on the site to go look at getting your own great gear.

The guys also did a great job fixing the car up after the incidents, making sure it was race ready well in time. Fantastic work by the Optimum Motorsport boys as usual.

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(©Jakob Ebrey -

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