What a fantastic weekend…! Thoroughly enjoyed myself overt the last few days. The event itself reminded me a lot of Trois Rivieres which I touched on briefly in my last post, and so it really made me super pumped all weekend to be reminded of such good memories constantly everywhere I looked!
The whole town truly turns into a racing town for the whole event, and it makes for such a nice atmosphere when everywhere you go there is so much enthusiasm for motorsport and everything that goes along with it!
Atmosphere aside, the racing was great. We’re still ironing out some minor issues with the car such as the downshifts, which are still giving us a hard time when under abs. But apart from this the KTM was an absolute rocket ship here all weekend. This weekends balance of performance saw us loose quite a lot of RPM with a reduced RPM, so it made passing very difficult, and for a track where it’s really only possible to pass on the straights, it meant we didn’t have enough power to make it happen, in fact we ended up loosing substantially on every straight, no matter how close we were to the two Porsches infront, they would just pull away on the straights.
Qualifying was very frustrating for me, I was the quickest on track, but I didn’t get one clear lap in, until right on the last lap, where I had purple sectors until our downshift demon hit hard going into the final chicane, and when I needed 2nd gear I instead had 3rd gear and a whole lot of turbo lag for my drive onto the start finish straight – which ultimately cost me what would have certainly been pole position for race 1, so that was very frustrating, but it was still good enough for P3 and the second row of the grid, which was better than nothing.
Race 1 ended with mixed emotions, it started off great, and I held on to 3rd place with massive pressure from the 4th place bmw behind me, and the two Porsche Caymens started to pull a large gap to me, but after a couple laps into the race, I was able to pull a gap on the bimmer behind me, and caught up to the two Porsches, who continued to pull away from me on the straight each lap when I was right on their tail and ready to pass, so it was pretty frustrating, but then to make matters worse, we top 3 had been running our own race for quite some time, when we hit a lapped car who then proceeded to let the two Caymens through under blue flag, but raced me under blue flags for a whole lap before he let me pass, which let the BMW behind me catch up and squeeze past me, so that was seriously annoying and unfair, and ruined some great racing. This was only the beginning though as it was at this stage basically dark, and with our radio not working, and not being able to see the pit board, I didn’t know when to pit, which resulted in me coming in 2 laps early, and the team & Immanuel my team mate not expecting me – so it was absolute chaos, not to mention it had started to rain, and there was mass confusion whether we should switch to wets or not, but given it was Immanuels first time in the wet & at a street circuit I made the call to switch, and amidst all this confusion, the car stalled and we lost our pit timer, so we ended up releasing Immanuel around 40 seconds later then we had to.. so that dropped us right back and from there we were sitting ducks when the track started to become quicker in the closing stages of the race on slicks.
Race 2 wasn’t much better, and Immanuel was running a solid 10th place before touching a road marking on the exit of turn 9 and touched the wall ending our race before I got a chance to drive – so it was disappointing, but at the same time that’s racing, and it’s just how it goes sometimes, especially in endurance racing when you’re sharing the car…. So onwards and upwards to race 3 in almost two months time in Spa!