Expectations and the competition were high at the South Wales Race meeting this weekend. On Friday Practice, 21 of the 22 drivers including myself came to learn the track, especially the gruelling Hatchets Hairpin where starts into this dangerously tight first corner would be vital for the rest of the race and also the championship. After Free Practice on the Saturday morning, it soon became clear that qualifying was going to be extremely tight and only 10ths of a second would separate most of the drivers.
In Timed Practice, I didn’t feel like I had performed well during the first few laps and the main issue for all drivers was traffic during the whole Qualifying session as it was hard to find some clear track to set that one quick lap. I managed to qualify 14th and only another three 10ths of a second separated me from the top ten. I was really pleased with this result, as I knew that I didn’t drive to the best of my ability and that the car was performing a lot better down the straights than it previously had been. This also proved that all the problems I have been experiencing in the season so far was down to the fuel pump.
For the rest of the day until the race, all drivers were nervous about the start and the first corner. Off the line I got a pretty good start and went round the outside into Hatchets Hairpin. There was a small incident at the start, which was surprisingly between the leaders into the first corner, but didn’t really affect the rest of the field. While everyone queued for the inside into the first corner, I managed to go around the outside and gained a few places. For the next few laps I was making quite a lot of progress and was moving up the field until a red flag halted the race. An accident had happened out of the last corner Honda Curve where a car carried straight on, hitting the tyre wall and rolling onto its roof. This meant that we would do a restart from the position we crossed the line in on the previous lap.
Unfortunately, due to the hot weather and the outside and track temperatures increasing rapidly, the tyre pressures and engines also increased which meant that after the restart there would be dramatically less grip and engines would not be as quick due to overheating. The restart worked in my favour as I went up the inside, and although I got nudged up the bumper, I managed to gain a few more places. The race then became more of a case of surviving as conditions for the cars were impossible and many competitors came off the track. I was incredibly pleased when I crossed the line in 7th and secured myself some very much-needed Championship points. I was also extremely happy by the fact that a lot of my fellow competitors and spectators complimented me on my dramatic improvement during this race and it showed that the car had been letting me down in the early stages of the season. Before the race meeting today I laid bottom in the Championship, which was very disappointing, but after today I hopefully will move up the board along with my newfound confidence.