First of all, I’d just like to say that I really enjoyed this race. Possibly one of the best for a long time, and not just for the result, but for the maturity and general racing ability on track.
Qualifying – 2nd:
After loading my setup, I shot straight out, with the options on. I had no idea how quick I’d be compared to the usual top guys. I set an okay lap, though I knew that I hadn’t maximised the pace of the car, and set a time of 1:15.2xx. I came back into the pits and sat waiting, whilst the others tried to set times of their own. Moss narrowly missed beating my time by about half a tenth, with Electrolite in third two tenths off my time. These two seemed to be the biggest contenders for pole, with Shane retiring at the start and both Bradley and Brooksy a little way off the pace.
I was surprised to see that with just over three minutes to go, I was still on provisional pole, but I didn’t want to risk it. I put on a new set of option tyres and raced onto the track. On my first flying lap, I took a little too much into the first corner, and launched the car, and was lucky not to destroy my car then and there. I had to race round just to get another lap in.
Again, it was a decent lap, but I made a slight mistake in sector 3, and lost pole to Moss by 0.073 despite improving my time by 2 tenths.
I was determined to avoid any incidents in the first few corners, even if it meant losing a place. It was the first time that I had even been close to Moss on raw pace, and even if he had made a mistake, I felt that I had a genuine shot at the win.
Everyone seemed to get equal starts, apart from Bradley, who shot from 5th I think, up to second, but carried too much speed into the corner and went very wide, handing me second place back. For the first lap (possibly two), I was under a little pressure from Electrolite, but soon started to drop him, whilst keeping pace with Moss. I could see that I was a little quicker at the hairpin and some of sector 3.
I narrowly missed getting DRS on the first time out, but on the next lap, I closed up a little and slip-streamed him, but ended up braking early into the hairpin. I didn’t want to make a half-assed moved that would take us both out.
Having closed up, I was a bit closer on the next lap, and was very close into the hairpin. I had a better corner than him, and managed to out-drag him out of the corner, but for some reason or another (Probably lag) I spun out of control and slipped down to 4th. I’m not sure how much time Moss lost, but I was about 5 seconds behind him, with a lot of gravel on my tyres, and I could feel that the spin had taken some much needed life out of the tyres.
Over the next few laps, I was again keeping pace with Moss, with him pulling a tenth or two here and there, and Electrolite pitted on lap 6 or 7 I think. It was a bit odd, considering that the tyres could last a bit longer than that, so I assumed he was two stopping.
Moss eventually caught up to Shane, and by this point, I was starting to set a few fastest laps, as I set about catching the two of them. I wasn’t sure if they were going to have a coming together, but I was going to make sure that I could maximise any mistake that either of them made.
Shane came into the pits around lap 12/13, coming in for a set of primes, as my options were starting to go off. I set the fuel mix to 1, and tried to keep the tyres alive until lap 16, when I came into pit, losing second to Shane, and then changing the fuel mix to standard.
To be honest, I think I was a bit more comfortable on the primes after the out lap, and was starting to catch Shane. Moss came in a lap or two later, and came out just in front of Shane.
I eventually caught Shane, but underestimated how much front end grip I would lose, and spun the car in the penultimate corner. This happened again at a different corner a few laps later, and eventually I was behind him again, with just three laps to go.
I got the DRS and overtook Shane at the hairpin. I’m not sure if he turned up the fuel mix or not, but he was a bit quicker after that point, and was able to get DRS on me on lap 33. I took the defensive line, and thankfully this worked, otherwise I think I would have had to settle for third. My exit was a little slower than usual, but I was able to pull enough of a gap to allow me to cruise on the last lap, finishing 7 seconds behind Moss.
Great win for Moss, and he has to be my driver of the day. Pole and the win, you can’t argue with that. I think I had the pace to challenge, but made a few too many mistakes in qualifying and the race.