Silverstone has never been one of my preferred track. In 2013 during my second iWCGPS race, I was battling for 10th position when I was taken out. In 2014 my pace was average and I finished in a deceiving 17th position. Qualifying is crucial on this track as there is no way to pass the car in front without the driver making some big mistake. The dirty air effect is very strong here: even if you are quickly catching up the car in front, it is almost impossible to get closer than 0.7 – 0.8 seconds because you are then experiencing severe understeer.
My race preparation was quite short here as I was very busy writing my final year internship report. As usual I was struggling to find a fast pace in qualifying trim: I was still 0.2 seconds off my team mates right before the race. On the race setup side it went quite well as I immediately had a good pace. The setup was based on my VIR setup, tuned to be forgiving on the curbs and easy to catch. The strategy chosen by the team was a 1 stopper with a longer first stint as we found that the pace was only marginally slower. This proved to be a huge advantage as we knew that 2 stoppers would struggle to overtake 1 stoppers.
My first flying qualifying lap started very well up to Abbey where I overshot the breaking point loosing 3 tenth of a second. Nevertheless, it was enough for a provisional 12th position. My second lap had a quite good first half but some wiggles in the second half only put me in 11th position on the grid. Really disapointing as without that missed breaking point it would have been an easy top 5.
After driving my second lap, I was pleased to see my team mate Sebastian in an amazing second position. With Alex taking the 13th spot and Peter the 16th spot, ARUK was showing its best ever standing on the iWCGPS grid.
During the gridding phase I discovered that my grid position was on the inside line in the corner! My start was miserable as usual: my car started to spin and I lost 3 positions. As Jake and Isaac were on a 2 stopper strategy, I knew it would have no influence on the final result. But when I saw Mogar passing me I knew that my race was doomed to following him: not only is Silverstone a track where it is almost impossible to overtake, but also Mogar with his slow-in / fast-out driving style is extremely difficult to overtake. My only hope was to have a heavier car for an overcut.
After the first round of 2 stopper pitstops, I found myself in 4th position still behind Mogar and closely followed by Alex. When Mogar pitted I still had one lap of fuel: I knew that if I could drive a quick last lap I could overtake Mogar. Unfortunately I slightly missed my pitbox and lost almost 2 seconds and my only chance to overtake Mogar.
After all pitstops were completed, I was again running in 14th position behind Mogar, but not very far from the 2 stoppers: I was sure that our strategy would work out and was hoping to jump 4 or 5 positions.
After the second batch of pitstops, I found myself in 9th position still behind Mogar. The 2 stoppers, with their fresh tyres, were catching up. Patrik being fast behind me, I decided to let him pass on the inside of Stowe to avoid any risk. After some laps he managed to overtake Mogar. In an effort to fight back Mogar spun in Luffield corner, giving me the 9th position. I then drove several fast laps resisting to Hugo at a distance.
Lap by lap driver positions and time distance can be found in the Race Position Chart.
I’m really glad to be back in the top 10 with this 9th position. I’m also pleased with what is certainly ARUK’s strongest showing in iWCGPS with Sebastian‘s P2 on the grid and 4 drivers in the top 15 of the race. Gratulations to Peter for a P15 in his first iWCGPS race.
Afterthoughts: Altough I’m pleased to have taken the 9th position, my bad qualifying and slow start really compromised my result as I had a P5 pace but was hold off most of the race by slower drivers.
Gratz to Greger and the podium.