This weekend was my first time back with the team since last November and my accident. Having only been out as a privateer 4 times this year, it was good to get back on track at Whilton. It was scheduled to be very wet all day during round 9 on Saturday with no sign of the track drying out throughout the day. While it was forecast to be dry all day during Round 10 on Sunday, this meant we could use fresh tyres on both days instead of having to look after them on Saturday so that they last on the next round.
Due to us being guests at Super One, we had to start the qualifying sessions from the back, so we decided to leave a very large gap before going out of the pits so that I didn’t get stuck in any traffic and get blocked on one of my fast laps. This plan was ruined however, as at the start of my first flying lap the red flag came out because of a timing issue, I did my best to leave a gap as the green flag came out but as the session moved on, I began to catch traffic, which ruined my last lap where the track was at its best of the session. I qualified in P12 but I was just 0.5 seconds off qualifying in the top 5.
On the first lap, I moved up a place and got up into P11, on lap 2 however, I got a bit of wheelspin on the exit of one of the corners and lost the place I made up on the opening lap. Over the next few laps I was in a really good battle, constantly swapping positions with the driver ahead until on the penultimate lap, the driver running up in the top 5 retired, moving me into P11. On the final lap, I was back right behind the driver in 10th place and with a move into the final complex of turns that was setup from turn 3, I moved up a place and crossed the line in P10. After penalties I was classified in P9.
Starting 12th again for the second heat, I knew that in order to start high up the grid for the final, I had to finish in the top 10. I gained a couple places into Christmas corner on the first lap but going into Ashby, a driver behind me used me as their brake, sending me deep into the corner and dropping me down to 19th place. Over the next few laps, I started to move up the order and by lap 4 I was back up in P13. I finished the race in P13 but due to my incident on lap 1, I got a drop down and a 5-place penalty. Somehow, after finishing P13 and getting a 5-place penalty, I was classified in P19.
With a P9 and a P19 in the heats, I was starting in 13th for the final. At the start the spring on my throttle snapped, meaning that everytime I went over a bump in the track, my foot pressed the throttle, this also made it very difficult to prevent wheelspin out of the corners. By lap 4, I was down to P19. I gained a couple places back on lap 5 but over the line going onto the 6th lap, my chain fell off, meaning I had to retire from the final.
As I said before, the round on Sunday was scheduled to be dry all day, unlike the round on Saturday. We had to go out at the back again because I was a guest so just like on Sunday, I left a large gap to the karts in front so that I didn’t catch traffic. Luckily for me, there was no red flag during this session so after a decent few laps I managed to qualify in P12, yet only 0.3 seconds off pole position. I knew I had the pace to be at the front so hopes were high for the heats to come.
Starting in 12th, I got a good run into Christmas on the first lap and by taking advantage of those in front defending on the inside, I sent it around the outside and moved up into P10. I was right on the rear of 9th place going into Ashby. When I got on the throttle coming out of the corner, however, my chain fell off yet again due to the axle shifting and bending at the race start, meaning I had to retire.
After my DNF in heat 1, I knew that I needed a good result so that I could start up the order in the final. On the opening lap, I kept my nose clean and moved up a few places and got up into P9. A few laps into the race on lap 4 there was a crash towards the front of the grid, taking a kart out of the race and moving me up to P8, this also slowed down the karts in front, unfortunately I made a bad decision and lost the two places. On lap 6, I made up the two places I lost a few laps prior and moved back up to 8th. This is where I finished the final heat of the weekend.
Over this round on Sunday, with a DNF and an 8th, I had accumulated a total of 30 points, which was only good enough to start 21st for the final. For some reason, two drivers starting in my lane further ahead of me couldn’t decide who was meant to start ahead, so instead they decided to go side-by-side with one-another. All of this made my late miss the lights and made me start the race down in P27 instead of the position I was meant to be in. On the opening lap, I made a few good overtakes and moved back up to P22. As the race moved on, I continued to move up the order and by the last lap, I was up in 16th place. Post-race penalties moved me into P14, which considering the position I started I was quite happy with. My pace was easily quicker than two of the three drivers on the podium, so I knew that if I finished the first heat, I would have been able to finish towards the front. My lack of races this year was evident as my usual race craft was way off. More track time needed!
Thanks to Part-Box for helping me fund this race weekend, make sure to head over to part-box.com to premium car parts for your sports cars.