Today’s Manufactures Cup race took place at the Dragon Trail – Seaside circuit.
Unlike the race on the previous day, I decided to not rush out of the pits and instead hang back, letting most of the field out to try and give myself some clean air and space to put in a good lap or two. By the time I crossed the line to start my first flyer however, I was closer to the car in front than I would have liked, but I managed to keep the gap and not really get bothered, with a 1:44.3. I proceeded and improved by almost a second on lap 2, despite finding myself in traffic. I managed to find clean air again on lap 4, the last one in Quali, but by that point the tires had gone off and I was almost half a second off the pace, so I abandoned the lap. My lap put me in 9th position out of a grid of 20.
I started the race “cautiously”. I was gaining on the 911 in front of me down the straight, but tucked in behind into turn 2. My line was compromised slightly, which almost caused an accident, when a car took a spin at turn 3. By turn 5 however, lap 1 had gone completely to pot, when it seems like “Robwood56” behind me, totally missed his breaking point and punted me from behind, sending me off the track and down to 11th place. Confidence was a little lost in the fast chicane section and I lost another place. There was however a sizable gap back to 13th (~3 seconds) so I knew for the time being, there were going to be no more dive-bombs / punts for the time being. The next few laps were all about settling in and finding a rhythm and mistakes from other drivers saw me back up to 10th at the end of lap 3. I wasn’t really challenging much or being overly aggressive, but I was keeping with the Ferrari ahead of me, watching and waiting to pounce. By the end of Lap 5 however it was me that was being pounced on, as the car behind had caught me and was within a tenth crossing the line. However by the time we reached turn 2, I’d caught the car in-front and had to switch to the inside, which seemed to be unnoticed and contact was made, which ultimately handed me a 2 second penalty. I held onto 9th until turn 5 when an nice move from the car behind on the inside saw me slide down the order once more. Fuel was looking good at this point so I stayed out for one more lap than the cars in-front. I was running p6 until we reached the seaside section and someone came from a long way back, down the inside, running off the track and down to 9th.
I made sure I did the maths at the stop today, and fueled my car with the right amount of laps (6) to finish the race. I rejoined in 14th position, behind the 911 I’d had battles with at the start and I felt I had pace, but was nervous to make the move. They made a mistake into the hairpin at the seaside section to give me the place, but 3 corners later, I took too much on the inside and was handed a penalty, but moving off the line to slow down was clearly the wrong thing to do, as the car behind hit me, spinning me and losing me 2 places (sigh) back to 15th. At least the gap back to 16th was over 10 seconds so maybe I can focus and still get something from this race. By lap 12 I was back to 13th place, following other’s misfortunes, but got it completely wrong in the high-speed corners before the downhill into the sea front section and lost the car on the grass causing a massive spin, losing 2 places. I instantly gained one back, as 14th place went wide on the hairpin, only for them to re attack me on the final corner and take the place back. As the final lap began, the car in front seemed a little aggressive, like their life depending on the position, so I didn’t try anything silly into T2. I almost lost a place to the car behind, when I lost control briefly on the exit of 5, which distracted the car behind, but I kept it together to come over the line in the end 14th position, as the car ahead had an outstanding penalty.
I tried really hard in this race to be courteous to other drivers, however it’s really hard to take when no matter how “nice” you drive, others don’t show you the same respect. You can get an idea of the lobby by taking a look at the SR ups and downs on the race’s timing screen at the end. I could really use a bit of luck and some like minded drivers for once, but hey, that’s online racing for you!
My Next Race: Round 6: 17 March, 2018 (Saturday) – Gr.4 / Autodromo Nazionale Monza