Thanks to whoever messaged in the chat room to say that rain was about, or else I probably would have missed that. Once I had my setup loaded it was straight out with everyone else for what turned out to be my fastest lap on my first attempt. I was faster in the first two sectors on my second flying lap, about 2 tenths up, but ran wide and lost time. I was about 2 tenths up again on my third lap but this time ran out of fuel. I went out for a second run, but the rain got heavier and it was then a matter of just getting back to the pits. I didn’t realise you could retire from the session and then still take part in the race (hence my question at the time). That all makes sense now.
Made a decent getaway off the line to sneak up the inside of Shyguy when suddenly RED BULL and then I was in the wall and then all over the place. Recovered to see JF get involved in a Williams sandwich and I think Silverkeg must have had to let people through (I only just avoided him!) so was back up to 10th. Spud ran wide and spun so I was up to 9th, trailing slr. At the end of the first lap, a Red Bull ran wide, and
then several cars peeled into the pits. Had I made the right choice?
On lap 2, a Ferrari span and I was up to 5th, and then I think slr made a mistake so I closed up, before he pulled away again. More drivers came into the pits, but I decided to stick with it as I fairly happy with the car at that stage. Me, slr and I think Brooksy were running in the top 3 at that stage. A spin late in the lap suggested that I was on the wrong tyres (and also not good at this game!) so, after another pit stop related brain malfunction I eventually made the call for inters and pitted.
My stop was fairly long as the mechanics dutifully replaced my front wing, and I rejoined in 10th with Shyguy ahead and Steve behind. There were a few cars up the road having a scrap, and then Shyguy disconnected so I was 9th. Brooksy went off so that was 8th and another car in the pits made it 7th. I then caught up to JF a bit (presumably a mistake somewhere) before he pulled away and then pitted. Ahead was teo in Ferrari who was also on inters and ran wide. I closed right up to him, but couldn’t get by. With the fast corners I didn’t want to make a half hearted lunge. Then would have been a good time to go back to dry tyres, but with the Ferrari ahead I could smell blood. Unfortunately, in an effort to not freak out when my team mate rejoined the circuit from the pit lane, I freaked out and spun off. Too much going on for my brain. Then JF was right on me already. If I could actually use my brain whilst driving it now would have been obvious that I needed to pit. With hindsight I have no idea why I continued another lap. Steve flew by and that was all the incentive I needed to pit for primes, hoping
to keep my remaining tyre strategy flexible.
I rejoined in 9th with Spud ahead of me. I started to set about closing the gap, turning my engine up, and made another place with someone pitting. Spud made a mistake and I was right behind him, before he spun out of the way. It was a shame as I was looking forward to a good battle with him. I then had a few quiet laps with Teo ahead. The gap remained fairly stable, with the odd expansion and contraction with our respective mistakes now and then. This continued and then the rain returned. I once again chose to stay out, gaining a place, and then another when Electrolite ran wide. Unfortunately, my camera only takes 20 minutes of video at a time, so it cut out here. I guess this is when Electrolite made his move back. I came in from 4th for inters at the end of lap 21.
After another front wing (guess I must have spun before I pitted) I rejoined in 6th (just) behind Teo. I once again got alongside, but couldn’t make it stick. A mistake later that lap for Teo put my right on his gearbox through the last corner, before he went into the pits. This, combined with Steve’s disconnection had me in 4th. Near the end too. I couldn’t quite believe it. Damon was behind me though, and I know that he is the faster driver. I managed to resist the pressure for a couple of laps before suffering a lapse in concentration and spinning out of the way. I was very annoyed with myself. Back to 5th, the gap to Teo was best part of a minute. I didn’t feel like I’d be able to close back up to Damon, so just concentrated on bringing the car home without further issues. This resulted in me making late stop for options as the track got dryer and the intermediates offered less and less grip, though it did mean I finished a lap down (probably would have happened anyway).
On the grid, my engineer said they were expecting a podium finished which I scoffed at. Although I finished far back it doesn’t take a massive stretch of the imagination to see that happening in the end, but I guess the same goes for several drivers in a race like this. I certainly expect, that with the calibre of the Collantine Cup field this year, that this will probably be my best result (unless we have another wet race with a pile up at the start and several disconnections).
Apologies for maximum wheel noise and also sniffing throughout the video (I have a cold).
Video uploading at time of posting, should be done in 15 minutes.