Division: Spec Challenge
I struggled for the whole of Qualifying for Race 1 by being unable to come up with a setup that works. I was 4-5 seconds off the pace and was clueless that it’s as much down to slipstream (or lack of) as anything else!
Initially I thought “they must be running no wings” so I tried that and it sucked. I went out on my last run with f3.5 / r4.0 wing settings, but it felt quite slow again, without anybody to give me a tow. I was confused where the lap begins and ends, so while the session had actually finished, I was still doing a hotlap thinking I’ve crossed the correct s/f line before the flag fell.
Apparently not as I was rudely taken off the track and shown the countdown to the start – and I didn’t even have a race setup!!! Hectically, I did some quick adjustments to the gears and wing, just to notice that it was the default setup which was loaded! Very nervous I quickly selected my qual setup, changed two parameters (5th and fuel, didn’t dare for more in fear of missing the start) and JUST managed to join the grid with a few secs to spare.
I had a great start and passed a couple of cars, and soon after went into the lead. The car was working great it seemed and the others were struggling or taking it easy. Once at the front it didn’t take much to surrender to the enormous slipstream of those behind, but at least I could do the same as soon as we switched positions.
The battle became very intense with 4-5 of us passing each other frequently and going side by side almost everywhere. If only someone would get it a bit wrong, we would’ve all suffered the inevitable. And sadly it happened – I didn’t know who it was at the time, but as it turned out later it was Tim who had a slight twitch on the exit of the 2nd banked corner and just when I was inside of him.
The result was complete carnage with car parts, fire and smoke going in all directions, involving 3 or 4 cars. Two managed to escape ahead unharmed, but I thought at the time that one of them was Tim and that my Championship is almost surely over. I shift-r-ed after a very long wait until all cars went by, dropping down to 10-12th as a result.
I didn’t do a pitstop and went on with a do-or-die charge – it worked well and I was able to pass a lot of cars while others choose to throw themselves off or make contact with each other thus opening the road. Somehow I reached 3rd place which was quite a surprise, but then I saw Tom on the pitboard at 18 seconds up ahead – an impossible task with 2 laps to go, so I just brought it home and surprisingly took the fastest lap of the race.