Round 2 of the Road to pro series makes it’s way to the ever popular Watkins Glen International Circuit. This fast and flowing track always give us a great weeks racing with good overtaking. The usual grippy track will help to cover over some of the issue brought to us by the new build, so plenty of drivers are expect to be fighting for the top spots.
Watkins Glen has to be one of my favourite tracks, so with this week a toss up between Twin Ring Motegi (WCS) and Watkins (Helping out the Class A Lads) it was a no brainer for me. Last seasons set felt pretty decent to start with only minor changes needed to the tyres and cambers which set me up for a good week. I later went on to tweak a few other setting on some helpful tips I received last season from a world championship driver which just got the car into a place I could just drive and drive.
Only did 1 run this week but was pretty happy to be tied for pole position with Daniel López on a 1:18.210. A few tenths off what I think was possible with a perfect lap but still happy none the less.
Not to much to say about this one, really shouldn’t have done the race, jumped in at the last minute and hadn’t done enough testing in traffic before hand. Got a good start and jumped into the lead only for Ariel to get the slipstream down the back straight and get by. I tried to hold the inside line but with cold tyres and dirty air the car just washed out, where I collied with Ariel getting wheel and wing damage forcing me to toe back to the pits. Sorry for that Ariel rookie mistake by me there.
Opposite from the last race got way to much wheel spin off the line and dropped back to 5th place by the end of lap 1. From there it was like the red sea parting where everyone did their best to fall off in front of me, paving the way back up to 2nd place. I was some 7 seconds behind Daniel at this point and really didn’t see a way back to him but I set myself a little goal to finish no more than 10 seconds behind. I was slightly heavier on fuel for the first stint so it was hard to maintain the gap but once we reached the pit window the gap had only gone to 8 seconds. During the 2nd stint I just drove my socks off putting in fastest lap after fastest lap and got the gap down to 7 seconds with the fastest lap of the race some 2 tenths quicker than anyone else 🙂
I had a little play in the 3rd race and decided to go for a 2 stopper, not much more to add that by the time I reached the end of the back straight I was already 2 seconds ahead and most of the field were involved in 1st lap crashes. Pushed myself for the rest of the lap trying to get a new PB which came with 18.6 only just missing out on a .5 due to a yellow flag on the last lap of the race.
Pretty happy with the week and look forward to the new build and Brazil & Interlagos next week.
Thanks to GT Omega Racing, AC Sim Equipment, Sim Garage, Simputers & BritTalk
Missing my PB in qualifying meant I lined up on the grid right in the middle of the pack which I didn’t really fancy heading into turn 1. So I made a tactical decision to start from the pitlane to avoid any carnage. I have now discovered a new feature involving receiving a full load of fuel if you start from the pits. In the couple of seconds I had before lights went green I was desperately trying to figure out if there was anything I could do to get my fuel back to how I wanted, resulting in me dumping the clutch coming out the pitlane and promptly damaging my front wing into the armco barrier! Having to pit at the end of lap 1 and running with 120kg fuel meant all I could do was plod round and hope to not lose too much iRating! Finished 9th.
Having to lift off the start with wheelspin meant I lost a couple of positions off the line but a solid first couple of laps meant I was challenging Christiaan Tanahatoe down the back straight and managed to hang round the outside through the Carousel to line a move up into turn 6 Chute. Sorry to Christiaan for the slight contact as I drifted out from the apex as I forced my way passed and into 9th.
Cut to lap 9 and I was now challenging Mikko Nassi (didn’t let me through like at Indy!) for 6th position and after failing to repeat my move on Christiaan had to settle in for a couple of laps trying to apply pressure. Starting lap 11 he had a big moment exiting turn 1 and before I knew it we were side by side heading for the esses. Good awareness from both of us meant I was able to get cleanly by and turn my attentions on getting past Hunter Manley who was just struggling slightly in the first stint.
Pitstop strategy brought me into 4th position as I was counting down the laps, watching Hunter claw his way ever closer. Fortunately for me he ran out of lap and another 200+ point round makes this a perfect start to the season!
Promising start to the race was brought to an abrupt end at the start of lap 2 when an incident exiting turn 1 ahead meant I was wiped out from behind as I slowed to avoid. Muhammed Patel was very fair in apologising for not reacting and slowing enough.
Again had a touch of wheelspin off the line but this time was unable to modulate the throttle sufficiently. It was my turn to hold my hands up and apologise profusely to Mikael Hellen for ending both our races.
Thankfully the 2nd race made up for my 2 errors in 1st and 4th race. Must try to be more consistent from the following weeks, can’t count on just one race getting me the points I need. May have to miss Interlagos due to a couple of days away.