After the 3rd place at the last round I went into the Snetterton race weekend with high hopes for another podium.
Despite ending up 7th I had my best weekend from a fun point of view. Having started on pole, spun to last and then passed 2/3rds of the field.
The weekend started with two days of testing. The first day was a track day spent with Callum helping my improve on a couple of corners I was losing time on. By Friday morning I was really starting to get quicker but still suffering with a long brake pedal and sliding around a lot. Over lunch with the help of James I replaced the brake pads and bled the system. Along with throwing on a different set of tyres.
All of a sudden the car felt amazing and I was able to lap in free air for several laps under the lap record pace. During the day I also had some amazing battles with various drivers and was really upbeat about my chances in the race.
Quali was an early start 9am on Saturday. The usual suspect joined the queue early to get the best chance of a tow on the straights. The whole session was really enjoyable and very tactical as the group ahead of me kept backing off towards the end of their laps to swap positions on the back straight which then caused me to abort mine. On the last lap I decided to sacrifice some of the tow and leave an even bigger gap and hope for the best. It worked as I managed to cross the line with a 2:17.519 which was enough to secure pole. After making mistakes in the two previous race quali I was really happy that I finally nailed it.
Leading the pack around for the start of the race was a great feeling. I just hoped to get a good start and break the curse of the Green Group where whoever starts on pole gets a poor start and ends up off the track on the first lap. The lights turned green and we were away in my case with far too much wheel spin and I was back in 4th. I made a stupid mistake catching a slide around Palmer and put a wheel on the grass at which point I was just a passenger heading for the wall. Luckily I stopped just short of the wall and watched the entire field go by as I sat there wheel spinning trying to get back to the track.
Two things quickly passed my mind the first is unprintable. The second was awesome I didn’t hit the wall the race is not over yet.
Once back on the track a distant last the aim was simple. Just drive as fast as possible and overtake anything I could. By the end of the first lap it turned out I wasn’t the only front runner near the back and I had Mark & Toby for company. There were so many great battles over the next 7 laps as the three of us worked our way through the field. At the time I had no idea what position I was in. Just keep pushing forward and catch up with the next car. It was only in parc ferme at the end of the race when we all parked up in finish order that it hit me how many cars I had passed.
Sure it wasn’t the win I was looking for and I would have loved to have finally had a battle with Dan at the front. But getting past 16 cars in 7 laps was as much fun. I’m just grateful I didn’t smash into the wall or take any other cars out with my spin. I got to finish the race while having some great battles with a great group of mates.
Next stop is Rockingham on 16/17th September. Running order is to be confirmed but likely to be quali on Saturday and race on Sunday.
Aim is to keep it on the black stuff!
Photos courtesy of Jon @ SnappyRacers.com
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