Well it’s been a tough weekend at Rockingham and just when we could have done with luck on our side, we didn’t get it. With the weather looking very variable for the weekend it started dry in testing on Friday. Session one went to plan achieving every we needed to, but unfortunately our run of bad luck started in test session 2. About 4 laps in, all of a sudden the engine lost power and became extremely loud. I switched it off immediately and managed to coast back to the pits where the team confirmed it was not repairable. A broken valve meant new engine time and the team did a great job working till 11pm on Friday night.
With the car all set to go for qualifying on Saturday morning we headed out onto a wet, but drying track. The whole field were on wet tyres as after watching the track for an hour or so before hand we could see it was taking ages to dry out. The fastest times were always going to be at the end of the session as the grip levels started to improve. We took the safe option with the championship title in mind and stayed out on wet tyres along with championship rival Josh Files. A bunch of drivers lower in the championship points and with nothing to lose chose to pit and change to slick (dry) tyres and take the gamble of the track drying enough. It paid of for them as they locked out the top positions leaving us to start in 8th position for both races.
The races were going to be tough this weekend with the grid being very mixed up compared to normal. Race 1 on Saturday afternoon proved this with a very tough first lap with cars sideways and bashing into each other all the way around the first lap. We managed to avoid the carnage until lap 2 when a collision with another car caused our retirement from the race and another late night for the team. This also meant no points scored and our championship hopes were starting to slip away.
With the car once again fixed and ready to go for Sunday’s race we headed out on slick tyres but with dark sky’s overhead. A splash of rain just before the start of the race made the track very greasy but hopefully this could play into our hands. With a brilliant start we headed round the banked first corner on the outside only to be hit sideways at over 100mph. After bouncing off another car we headed down to the following hairpin corner and bang, sideways again. This left us in 9th at this point but with a very strong following lap we made it all the way up to 2nd before the safety car was deployed to remove some stranded cars. Was this the start of the some long overdue good luck that we needed? On the restart we challenged for the lead into the first hairpin but unfortunately from there on in it was all going to slip away again. We had picked up too much damage on the first lap to keep a competitive pace up and with a lock up on the next lap we dropped to 6th. With the steering out of line, a vibration through the car and the gear stick loose in my hand I watch them steadily pull away in front, but did manage to keep a gap to the fighting pack behind. So 6th place it was.
Sometimes racing is very tough and even though you can have everything just right with the car, team and driver, if you haven’t got luck on your side it just won’t happen. So to sum it up, a character building weekend but the championship title is still mathematically possible so there’s still hope and we’ll keep fighting to the end. After all, this is Motorsport and anything can happen!
One high point of the weekend was welcoming 7 time World Jet Ski champion Anya Colley as our ‘Grid Girl’ for the weekend.