Well, it’s been a fantastic to start to the season at Brands Hatch this weekend.
Testing on Friday went well, making lots of changes to the car, trying to find a set up that could make us competitive. We ended the test day only 7th on the time sheets, but weren’t worried as we hadn’t shown our hand at this point.
With yet another set up change overnight we headed out for qualifying with less than 2 hours seat time in our new car. Immediately we were on the pace and competing for pole position. Unfortunately we then experienced a gear change issue which meant we were in pit lane for most of the rest of the session. However we still finished the session P3, just 0.059 of a second off the fastest car.
The start for race 1 on Saturday afternoon was always going to be interesting with the new turbo car. With most of us getting far too much wheel spin off the line we headed up to the famous Paddock Hill bend all in roughly the same order. Halfway through the first turn I had no choice but to lift out the throttle to avoid the sideways car of Mike Bushell, causing me to spin to the inside. After recovering I managed to chase down the tail end of the pack setting fastest lap on the way. So P11 in race 1 wasn’t the points we had wanted but we knew the car was fast.
Race 2 on Sunday got off to a much better start with all of us making a better job of getting off the line and through the first corner. We settled into 3rd place with Alex Morgan leading and Mike Bushell in 2nd. From here it was going to be a three horse race right to the end. With Mike looking to overtake Alex and myself ready to pounce on the pair of them, the win could have gone to any of us. After 18 laps of constant pressure I finally managed to overtake Mike around the outside at Druids and immediately set upon Alex for the lead, but with only a lap and half left couldn’t find a way through. I was more than happy with 2nd place with such limited running before the weekend, when all the others have had plenty of test time through the winter. I came back into the pits to find an elated team, and the celebrating began. What a great sign of things to come!!
Photo by Garry Speller