The second round of the WCS took place around Phillip Island this past weekend and we caught up with our drivers who took part.
Q was horrible again this week, went for a 2 lap Q run rather than 1 and the times shown that was probably not the quickest but I was struggling in practice for Q pace and felt it was safest.
The race was so frustrating being stuck in DRS trains knowing I had much more pace than the guys ahead, I battled my way through getting very close with many cars trying to get a good run but was too difficult.
I managed to pull overtakes and make my way to 17th at lap 58 which was the first time I had got some clean air to show my pace, I pulled away from the cars behind and managed to finish in 15th overtaking Jake Stergios due to damage and my teamate Graham as he ran out of fuel.
Overall very pleased with the result moving from 28th to 15th and up to 9th in the championship.
Shame for Graham, Maarten and Oscar and congratz to the rest of the team for finishing and scoring some points.
Managed to scrape in again in 30th position this time. Went for 2 flying laps to be safe as of Philip Island’s weird lap counting in qualifying.
The race start for me was appalling, Seb and Alex went either side of me after getting good starts so i dropped to what was effectively the back row for the first couple of turns. It was all a big bottleneck again being that far back, having to stamp on the brakes at the hairpins as it’s all very bunched up. Suffered no damage so it was ok in that respect.
The race wasn’t exactly the most enthralling one i’ve ever been in, Interlagos had much more overtakes, at Philip Island I was just at the back of a long DRS train. That’s basically how it stayed the whole of my first stint, other than picking up a few positons after some people had minor issues or had been struggling with tires.
I pitted on the end of Lap 30 which seemed a good time to stop as it enabled my to get just ahead of Ilkka again, although on Lap 39 Ilkka was back past and that’s when my race came to an abrupt end a couple corners later.
In to the uphill left hander i’d been having no issues what so ever in practice or every lap until then, brakes had been fine. It just so happened that in to this corner even though i was on the brakes where i’d usually begin braking nothing happened until it was too late. I began braking and turning at my usual point, although this time with the brakes not coming on for whatever reason turning did nothing with the speed that was being carried in to the corner that even when they did come on it had little effect, so that was my race done…. plowing straight in to the barrier after a small technical gremlin. I had a USB issue with the brakes earlier in the week but thought it had been sorted out, best change the USB for next race!
Coming into this race I had some really good pace and felt I could fight for the win, in comparison to Brazil where I was a little worried about pace.
Unfortunately I had a terrible qualifying session, maybe my worst qualifying ever. The first lap was pretty average, and ended with a spin anyways. And then on my second lap everything went wrong. Mistakes in almost every corner. I was in 33rd, barely making the grid.
I had a pretty decent start but it was very hectic going towards T1, so I could only make up 5 places, even with all the other cars struggling. I then had to be quite aggressive to get past all the cars ahead, but it worked out. My pace was awesome in the second stint and the tyres lasted pretty well. I definitely wasn’t expecting a top 10, very happy. Was really meant to be a damage limitation race.
Still top 5 in the points too which is great!
Grats to Redline for top 3.
Qualifying went well, 9th on the grid was a great place to start after seeing our race pace in round 1. I went for only one lap so it was a hit or a miss if it worked out but was please with the outcome.
In the race I got a great start, up to 6th or 7th and caught the grass on the exit of turn 2 dropping me back to 10th, still was happy to get round the first few laps with no damage. By the first stop I had made up 1 or 2 spots and looking good for the 2nd stint, still fighting for p7. With about 10 laps to go I soon realised I was lite on fuel and had to start saving losing seconds per lap killing my race dropping 8 spots in the last 2 laps and crawling to the line very lucky to finish ending up P16. Have to move on from a bad 2 rounds and think about the positives.
Congrats to top 3 great job!
Also thanks to all the guys putting in the work with the testing/setup work doing a great job!
Qualifying – Well I guess it could have gone worse but not by much. Massive lock up in the hairpin meant I had to go for a second lap but had big time understeer after cooking the front right tyre. Somehow I got on the grid.
Race – I got a great start and made up some quick places. Once again the car felt great in race trim and was slowly working my way up through the pack until I had a small contact with Micheal, which put me back to the back of the train. From here we opt to pit in early and get the undercut on the gaggle of cars ahead. I made up 9 spots in the pits and a further few more after, with some great battles on the way. Without the mistakes in Q and in the race I think an easy top15 was on again and looking at the pace, the cars was good for a top 10.
Gutted for Graham, Oscar, Cam & Maarten but I know they will bounce back in the next one.
Amazing drive from Seb to get up to P10 and to have 3 car in the top 10 overall with more to come makes me really happy.
Philip Island is one of my worst tracks. During race preparation I struggled to find confidence and a good trad-off between fast corner stability and hairpin turn-in. I ended up using Sebastian’s setup as it gave the best stability over a race distance.
I decided to go for a 3 lap qualification run. I ran a conservative first flying lap which was enough for 16th position. I then discovered that I mixed up my fuel and had not enough for a second flying lap. I nevertheless ran a second sequence to check my performance and could complete a lap that would have put me in P5. Too bad …
The start is usually scary at Philip Island: driving 2 or 3 wide through turn 1 and 2 can easily turn into major chaos. As usual I lost some positions at the start but was able to recover before Lucky Heights. I was then following Kazuki trying to get past Mogar. I could complete the pass on lap 10 but had to drain my ERS quite a bit to do so. Joni and Riley crashed on lap 25 and I found myself in P13. I pitted early on lap 30 as my tyres was starting to fall off. Sebastian followed me in the pits 5 seconds behind.
On lap 38 when all the pit stops were completed I was in P12 followed by Jake and Sebastian. Sebastian overtook Jake and slowly closed the gap to me as my tyres were again starting to fall off. I let him pass without resisting on lap 53 in the hope to be able to follow him in DRS range despite slippery tyres. But with worn out tyres I had no pace and Riley could easily overtake me. In the last lap I finally passed Graham for 13th position. Unlucky Graham was out of fuel for half a lap.
Not quite satisfied with P13 as with better tyre management it would have been an easy top 10.
Thanks to my team and Sebastian for an awesome setup and strategy.
Round 3 takes place at Sebring and we are looking forward to another great action packed event.
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