Division: Spec Challenge
Much to my surprise Tim finished behind me in the first one and suddenly the Championship situation looked better, so we went into the 2nd race to decide the outcome. This time I knew how to approach the car setup for the Matra (used the McLaren in the 1st one, luckily), but apart from a vague tow in one of my early laps, I couldn’t find anyone to pull me properly! This resulted in 4th on the grid and a feeling of uncertainty over the race.
Another good start, but this time had to ease off to avoid Tim who bogged down in front of me, then had to drop that position because Al was extremely cautious and slow in T1, Curva Grande – he took the outside line, let Tim by and I began to suspect he’s not running a lot of wing, if any at all – the sheer difference in corner speed was to prove that very soon.
Managed to deal with Al in the Lesmos and chase after Tim who was trailing Evil’s rocket. Tim messed up Parabolica and went off into the gravel, elevating me into 2nd and making me think it’s all over for him. The aforementioned insane tow quickly closed me up on Evil and once I went by, he disappeared into what seemed like an incident behind.
The race was shaping up to be an easy one, but Al and Sam proved me wrong by completely obliterating me on the straights, then slowing me down immensely in the corners! No wings for sure, but once I could retake the lead I could easily open up a 2 seconds gap in just the section from CG to Lesmo 2.
It wasn’t enough though and by Parabolica they were right behind again. Soon, out of nowhere, Tim reappeared and joined the battle! He had no plans to cruise around so once he dealt with the McLarens, we had a very close fight going side by side at CG and then Lesmos, but were eaten up on the straight after by those behind.
Tim made his second mistake when he couldn’t quite hold it another time on the outside round CG and glued it to the railguard, dropping back to 4th and out of sight, but not for long – damn that infinite tow, lol!
Al then disappeared with his screen freeze and for a lap or two I was left to fight with Sam. I used that chance to practice my last lap tactic and discover what is the best positioning taking top speeds and slipstream length into account. I figured out I had to be behind the leader before the 2nd banked corner that leads onto the (outside) s/f straight where the chequered flag is waved. The problem was that I was much quicker in the corners and always ended up leading by a decent gap out of Parabolica, so something had to change.
The arrival of Tim (again!) and Tom (out of nowhere too) did change things and suddenly we were 4 cars fighting for victory! I surrendered the lead reluctantly with 2 laps to go just to do a test of my finishing run scenario. It took some risk diving between two cars, but it worked fairly well once the car in 2nd was denied the slipstream which I was taking advantage of. It was just a matter of timing it right.
I crossed the line at the start of the final lap JUST ahead of Tom (I think) and focused on repeating the feat next time by. Led by a very large margin up to Parabolica, which was worrying because I needed them to pass me before or at the 1st banking. Therefore I eased off a bit to let Tim by and he took the chance while I was smiling because I thought “there’s no way he can hold on to that lead until the finish”.
The bad part was we were so close that I had no option but let Tom through as well and have Sam on my side – 4 cars packed 2 by 2, with no room to go in any direction! It was looking bad indeed, but I tried to stay as perfectly lined up behind Tim (who had the higher road on the banking) and maybe launch a final attack on the run to the line.
In the meantime Sam wobbled and dropped back, but Tim and Tom were still running side by side with no room in between. Tom had a bit of a bad exit of the final corner and I saw the minor gap that opened between his car and Tim’s Matra as my only chance! Delayed exiting the tow as late as possible and turned right to go side by side with Tim, but overdid it and hit Tom who was on the right!
Carnage ensued and we both had our cars wrecked, mine flipping over and dragging along, but we both managed to cross the line in 2nd and 3rd respectively, just half a second behind Tim! Having looked at the replay, I could have pulled it off if I didn’t go so much to the right, but the cars look so fat from inside the cockpit!
We’ll see who won the title, but that was some excellent racing!