Round 1 Race Report


Race Report


Round 1 – A1GP


Eastern Creek


2 – 4 February 2007


Qualifying


After setting the fastest time in practice one and the second fastest in practice two on Friday, I headed into qualifying on Saturday morning fairly confident that I would be right on the pace.


My confidence appeared well-placed when, in qualifying one, I qualified third only 6 hundredths of a second behind pole.  Of course I would have preferred to have been on pole but third is still a respectable starting position, especially considering I was in front of all four of the international drivers that will be contesting the series this year.


The second qualifying didn’t go so well.  Despite sitting second or third on the time sheet for much of the session, I ended up only 5th after a last lap charge by three drivers who managed to leap-frog me.


Race One


After too much wheel-spin on the start, I dropped two positions heading into turn one.  As I was braking for turn two, I was hit from behind and spun off the circuit.  Fortunately, no damage was done and I was able to restart my car and return to the circuit but by this time I was easily in last place and well behind the rest of the field.  Another stroke of luck, however, saw the safety car come out which meant I was able to catch up to the pack.  In last position on the restart, I was situated behind a national class competitor who, in turn, was behind and a first-time competitor in the trophy class.  Despite the huge speed difference between myself and these two drivers, I was not permitted to overtake them until I crossed the start-finish line half way down the straight.  It was agonising to watch the front of the field take off and out of sight while I was doing what felt like 60kmh, but once I was past I focussed on catching the rest of the field.  I managed to make way into 6th position in the remaining laps and tried my hardest to hunt down 5th and 4th, who were now in sight, but just ran out of time.  It was a little disappointing to be so far down the order after showing so much speed at the start of the weekend, but the result could have been a lot worse considering I was off in the dirt on the second corner.


Race Two


A better start in race two saw me maintain position through turn one and, in turn two, gain a spot despite narrowly avoiding being hit by a spinning car.  There was yet another safety car as the spun car was retrieved and then it was back to racing.  I had a lot more speed than the three cars in front as we all headed into turn two on the restart and, as they had all bunched up on the inside, I chose to take the outside line.  Going around the outside of a corner, especially turn two at Eastern Creek, is always risky but, if it pays off, the reward is usually worth it.  Unfortunately, this time I found myself the third car wide and was forced into the dirt as the track tightened up on the exit.  I slipped back to about 8th and yet again had to make my way through the field.  The pace at the front is so close that I would pull in a tenth on the car in front on one lap, then they would pull it back again the next.  The main difficulty I had in passing was the huge amounts of understeer that would occur as I closed in behind the car in front, caused by that car’s aero wash taking some of the down-force off my front wing.  I have never experienced it as bad as I did during race two but I still managed to make my way back to 4th.


Thanks to my off-track adventures I am currently 4th in the championship standings, 16 points behind the leaders.  Still, we’ve only had 1 round so I have seven more in which to close that gap!


Past Articles
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