:D Publicity! At this rate we’ll have pay drivers for next season!
OK, my race review.
Qualifying was frustrating. My first lap was pretty slow and it was no-where near where I wanted to be, so I pitted and went out for a second run on fresh tyres. Unfortunately, I encountered @jonnyw360f1 just after Copse and then I ran into him and spun through Becketts. I only planned on doing one flying lap per set of tyres, so that meant my second run was finished (plus I only had enough fuel for one lap). Luckily, there was time for another lap. So I pitted for my third set of options and at the first split, I was once again just up on Steve’s pole time. Unfortunately, I took too much kerb at Becketts and invalidated my lap time. My “sighter” lap would end up being my fastest time, so Steve took pole by over a second! Frustrating – yes, but I can’t complain because I probably only would have been second anyway.
My start to the race was perfect. For only the second time this season (the other being Interlagos) I perfected my throttle application and revs which shot me ahead of my team-mate into the first corner. I was a bit slow to react to his move though, which meant I made light contact on the way through, but I was ahead before the corner. If you watch my start carefully and pay close attention to my left mirror, you’ll see @Magnificent-Geoffrey loses out to us at the start and drops so far behind that he doesn’t even register in my mirrors by the time I’ve reached the apex. Yet from his perspective, he was ahead of us both. That is awful lag!
So anyway, I went onto the Wellington straight in the lead which was quite a nice feeling. But @Aus_Steve was out for revenge, and he quickly passed me into Brooklands. I knew he was faster, so I was ready to settle in and hope for second. But after a few laps, Steve came back to me, and I passed him down the Hangar straight before the first pit stops. We went into the pits on lap 5 nose-to-tail, with me in front. We’d actually done something very similar in a practice race we ran and we discovered quite a handy glitch where we ghost inside each other and the pit crew services us both at once. When I realised he was coming in behind me, I prayed the bug would repeat itself. If it didn’t, I risked ruining Steve’s race by making him queue. Anyway, watch the video!
The middle stint was spent on primes, and Steve had more pace. We made contact into the Arena complex, so I let him go, not wishing to hold him up or risk a collision that would ruin our races or more importantly, his championship hopes. Having not done a 40% rehearsal before the race, I was unsure how long a fresh set of options would last, and with 7 laps to go when I pitted at the end of lap 14/start of lap 15, I decided to play it safe and go with another set of primes. With any luck, this would help me towards the end of the race when others began to struggle.
The undercut didn’t work, and Steve resumed his (net) lead by basically the same margin it had been when I pitted. I turned my fuel mixture up to 3 and began to reel him in, but when I noticed I was cutting it fine, I dialled it back to 1 and settled for second. I assumed that everyone had pitted and Steve was back in the lead with me in second, but I remember catching a glimpse of the lap counter on lap 20 before Copse and surprising myself. I had honestly thought we were on about lap 17! Then I realised I was coming third… How could that be? This had been by far my best race of the season. I’d made no mistakes (which was a nice change) and I was driving as quick as my team-mate (also a nice change!), but somehow I’d lost time somewhere! Then it dawned on me that it was someone trying a one-stop strategy. Wow. This was going to be interesting. I didn’t realise it was Slr until we were on our final lap, and I assumed his tyres would be very old. Steve was now right on his tail and on fresher rubber. I watched as they diced and went side-o-by-side-o into Stowe on the last lap and I honestly had no idea who was going to win! As I exited Vale, it flashed up on my screen that Steve had won the race which amazed me. It must have been so close! But then it went to the results screen and @Slr was shown as the winner. I must admit, I was quite happy with the result. Steve won the championship, I got another podium, and Slr got his first win! It was an unusual feeling though. I’d had probably my best race of the season and I only finished third! Remember what I said in the preview about the tyres having one last trick up their sleeve? :P
Video highlights can be seen here:
And that’s that. Season 2 is over. What a fantastic experience it has been! The off-season has just disappeared. Massive, massive thanks to Magnificent Geoffrey for organising it. I didn’t think the second season could possibly live up to the inaugural season, especially with the absence of @Ned-Flanders, but I was proven wrong. It was 10 times closer, 10 times more epic, and 10 times more unpredictable. The game mightn’t run as smoothly as its predecessor, but the introduction of Pirelli tyres has improved the Collantine Cup immeasurably.
Our newcomers have also been amazing. Everyone is so friendly and fun to talk to and it makes the whole experience perfect. We’re not too serious, but we’re competitive. We make mistakes and we get frustrated, but we can all laugh it off afterwards. That’s what makes it what it is. It’s not the game or the racing; it’s the people. I can’t wait to see you all again after the actual 2012 season has finished!