Another step forward and 3 solid points scoring results... But, frustratingly, still miles away from our full potential!
So I came to Thruxton very excited off the back of two very strong races at Donington, hoping the issues from previous weekends were behind us and that we could have a clean run at the race weekend at one of my favourite circuits.
During free practice it was an eye opener driving a FWD car around Thruxton for the first time, and easily the biggest adjustment to a driving style I've had to make to get a FWD car to work. As I got up to pace it became clear that there was an issue somewhere in the car, and I was losing bags of time around the relatively straight forward slow section of the circuit.
FP2 we ended up eighth position and although I had a bit of time, by no means had we maxed out the car. Qualifying... well... what can I say? Anything I want to say can't be written here... we messed up bad! We went the wrong way with the car set-up and exaggerated that by not getting it on the car properly! After some panicked adjustments in the pits it was then my turn to drop the ball and blew my one chance at clocking at least a sensible time with a flustered mess of a lap. 24th was pretty devastating...
After a night of trawling through data and working through our mistakes we'd hoped that we had made progress for Sunday. Unfortunately, we were still losing bags of time at the complex, Matt Neal really helped me out by causing many of the cars in front of me to crash (cheers Matt). It was then announced that races two and three were to be shortened due to safety after some teams were too aggressive with their set-ups during race one, causing the tyres to fail... can you tell I didn't agree with that decision? Well the other problem was that we were all set up to last the full race length, and by the time we were told it was to be shortened it was too late for us to go more aggressive. So we made a step forward with the balance of the car which improved our lap times and we were able to start working our way forward, unfortunately just as peoples tyres were starting to drop off and I was able to take big chunks of time out of the cars in front, the race stopped... damn! I finished 10th and they drew eight for the reverse grid.
Race three was fairly uneventful for me, we made a further improvement to the car so I was atleast able to run with the lead pack even if I couldn't really get stuck in and fight with them. By finishing position seven we have once again bettered Handy Motorsport's best ever result, and through consistent reasonable finishes we are managing to keep our Independents championship goal in sight so it could be a lot worse.
Since the car has been back to the workshop, we feel sure that we will have our technical issues resolved by the time we arrive at Oulton. The Handy Motorsport team are impressively committed, and more importantly we haven’t made the same mistake twice! Everything is totally new for everyone in this team so you have to expect some teething problems but as long as we correct them and ensure that they cant happen again then at some point we will put everything together and extract the maximum from the car and the nut behind the wheel, that point is getting closer and hopefully it will be at Oulton Park.