2.4 hours is a long time to be sitting on the pc, but when sitting on a pc in the same split as a team mate makes it worth while. Myself and Pro DWC driver Jesper Pedersen where in the same split for the Daytona 2.4. While I was in the Riley Daytona Prototype Jesper was in the recently release McLaren MP4-12C both with really good chance’s to win our own races and take the split as a ARUK Win.
Qualifying for Jesper wasn’t great, he had picked the wrong setup to run earlier in the week putting him way down the splits (Split 6). Me on the other hand was in 2 minds on how to Qualify with the New Build getting released the Day before the race. I hadn’t run any qualifying runs just race fuel runs as I knew that the qualifying wouldn’t be as important than lasting the full 2.4. So my qualifying, yeah I was in 2 minds to set a fast lap or just take my time and set a slower lap that I can run on race fuel. My first one I went on on race fuel and coming round the last corner I was on for setting a very low 1.39 high 1.38, so lifted off to set a 01:40.418. Happy with that I went back to the pits, put qualifying fuel in for a single flying lap. That lap turned out to be better than I was hoping for, 01:38.592 which also marked the end of my qualifying and getting set for the race.
Race sign up’s started, got to around 900+ only for the site to crash leaving a lot of people unable to enter and then minutes before it was about to start the site went into “maintenance” leaving everyone thinking that was it, Hours of practice gone for the site to crash. iRacing though got things back up and delayed the start for 1 hour while they tried to make things stable for everyone to join the new race. Doing this once the site had come back on the people that where registered for the 1st race joined that one and gained some quick and easy irating.
With the new race up and everyone joining I wasn’t expecting to be with anyone that I knew. Other drivers in the team where in the same split but they had calculated they would be. Lee Thompson and Samuli Kumo where lucky to be in 2nd split. Once I was in and looking at the grid I thought I was with no one, then I herd a voice over the radio “Lets have them Dean” no one other than Jesper. This made me feel a little more at ease and looking at the times of the grid put it into my head that I could win this as long as I stayed out of trouble. I was gridded 7th (of 22) in the Riley while Jesper was gridded 18th (of 21) in the MP4
Warm up was 15 mins to shake those little nerves out and calm down. Setting the fastest lap in warm up showed I had the pace to win the race.
Race time comes and as usual my bladder dint want to start the race and by the time I had come back they had set off and I had missed the grid. Not a problem maybe a little accident will happen into turn 1 but to no avail everyone made it through clean and safe and now it was my time to push but not rush. Coming out of the pits I was at the back of the Riley’s with one MP4 in front of me. On the first lap I had passed 5 cars and the 2nd lap another 2 cars only to make a little error heading into the bus stop and having to drive through losing 3 places and at that point I told my self it cant be won in the first couple of laps, take your time they will come.
With those words in mind I took my time and within 2 laps I was right on the back of them again. Lap 6 I made a move and got past easy. Lap 8 I took 2 places in the same lap. More and more laps went by and more and more places where gained till it was lap 25 I released I was in 6th and still catching the cars in front of me. Lap 26 couldn’t of gone better 6th to 3rd in a single lap but now we where coming into pit stop stage’s. Lap 29 the leader or 2nd must of pitted moving me up to 2nd only 7 seconds behind the leader. On the lap of the pit stop I had a quick look to see how close I was and I was down to 5 seconds in 5 laps. A nice steady pace which I was happy with. Jesper when I passed him was up to 5th and come round for the pit stop he was in 3rd.
After the pit stop came and went, I was in 3rd but I was under pressure from 4th and 5th lap after lap it would go from 1 sec gap to .2 and some times going for the overtake. Held them off lap after lap until lap 57 when I locked my inside front wheel heading into turn one causing a little half spin which I kept hold of knocking me back into 4th but putting a move on 3rd on the same lap for me to stick it and stay in 3rd for the lap. 4 laps later disaster struck. Only a couple of seconds behind 2nd the engine blew on a down shift into turn 3 and I thought that was the end of my race so I pulled over sat a few secs devastated.
Luckily we had a fast tow which wasn’t said anywhere, so I took my fast tow back to the pits for me to go a lap down and right on the bubble for fuel to last which gave me my biggest test in the 2.4 hours. Push hard but save fuel. After coming back out from the pits I was in 13th while Jesper was in 2nd in his class. Couple of laps passed I was catching back up. and in no time I was back into 11th with 9th and 10th having a little battle ahead of me. Couple more laps of saving fuel I noticed that 9th was wide in turn 5th and it was my time to strike both at the same time, it was almost 3 wide going into turn 6 with me on the inside and my super late breaking put me in front just. He had the wider line and had the run to the bus stop but again I knew I could hold a tighter line through the bus stop if I had to. Maybe even take it 2 wide all the way through but I think he released he wasn’t going to get the spot back and yielded the spot. Couple of laps after where important because I needed to build a gap to save some fuel and it was lucky that Jesper turned up in front of me to slow me down through the infield to help start the fuel saving again. The lap where I was behind Jesper I knew he was pushing as hard as he could to catch 1st so I didn’t want to put a pass on him where it didn’t need to happen. Knowing I had a gap to the buy behind me I let him take his time and his lines. That and to get some team photo’s. once past Jesper I kept my head down grinding away at saving fuel and keeping a good pace. the fuel saving was starting to pay off as I saw people in front of me jumping into the pits for a splash and dash. With those people pitting I found my self back up into 6th. knowing I had some fuel I could burn I put the hammer back down passing 5th and 4th lap after lap. With 4 laps to go I did one last fuel calculation and I would of been just short if I had kept the pace I was at so I took it back a notch or 2 allowing 5th to be right on top of me, 2 laps left my spotter said “you have 2 laps of fuel left” which I know means 2.5 so it was time to make 5th work for it if he wanted it. The last lap he was .5 behind me all the way round to the bus stop but I knew I had the bus stop sorted, if I took it 2nd I would get the better exit but at the cost of a little more fuel, I took my chances and by the exit of the bus stop I was 1.2 seconds and pulling away from him and I crossed the finish line with .5g of fuel left. Just enough to do a in lap.
Jesper’s finish was even better than mine. After he had finally tracked the leader down he made a move on lap 77 for the lead for him to lose it again on lap 87 to take it back on the line on the Very last lap to win the McLaren MP4-12C Split 6.
After the race I took a min to relax and then some Very kind words from ARuk’s Newest Sponsor Frank Sonne on team speak really put things into perspective for me.
Yeah I hadn’t won the race but I had race from the back of the grid almost 2 times and still finished 4th after 2.4 hours of racing. Maybe I could of also won Split 6 but maybe finishing 4th was better for me. I Learnt a lot from the race and I will be taking that into the coming season in the Riley.
Categories: Jesper Pedersen