Fast Times at Spa Francorchamps
Hello everybody! We are back and although this may be GB3, we are coming from abroad. The mighty Circuit de-Spa Francorchamps in Belgium hosted our last round and what a scene it was. Unlike most of Belgium, Spa features an enormous amount of elevation changes throughout its 4.3 miles of length. The most iconic example is that of Eau Rouge and Raidillon, a flat-out left than right turn on a 115-foot hill. To say Spa is legendary is an understatement, it’s one of a kind.
Before our round at Spa the team luckily found some issues with the car that proved to be vital, which in turn meant that I received a brand new chassis along with other key components. Unlike previous rounds Spa only has three practice sessions and then all competitors go straight into qualifying Friday night, meaning getting a quick grasp of the circuit was crucial. Straight out of the box, from session one, we seemed to have no issue getting up to speed. The three practice sessions featured us heavily within the top five and top three. Qualifying was no different as we finished the session fifth. In fact, the session was red flagged just feet before my final lap, meaning it didn’t count. It was an absolute shame as the lap would’ve put me on the front row, starting second. Despite this, it was a result to be happy about and I was energized to fight for a podium. Unfortunately, some other drivers' poor decisions said otherwise.
Saturday featured our two races set by qualifying. Race one started off good, well that was until another competitor hit me in the first corner after trying a very late dive bomb. This caused me to drop back a few positions immediately and then the race was neutralized by a safety car. After a few minutes, we went green again and the same competitor made contact with me, once again in turn 1! Luckily he came off worse than us and we were able to continue to a ninth place result. Solid points and a good run considering the other driver's actions during the race.
Race two started off good and this time for longer than the first corner. After setting up a double overtake down the long Kemmel straight into the Les Combes esses I found my way into fourth place and nearly grabbed third. We were right on the gearbox of a podium result, inches away until once again another driver’s actions decided otherwise. Heading into turn 8, a long hairpin, the competitor behind me decided it would be a grand idea to try a mid-corner move, it didn’t work as he made contact with the very back of my right rear tire, launching us off track. Then after I rejoined the track from the tarmac runoff and carried on through the next corner, another competitor turned into me, causing us to spin and relegating us to the back of the field. Both drivers are currently under review for their actions and the results will be finalized at our next round. After a very unfortunate day it was time to get some rest as our final race, the full reverse grid event, was on Sunday. Although disappointed I was ready for some redemption the next day.
Sunday morning rolled around quickly as race two, the previous day, finished at 8:30 pm. And we didn’t stop there; I didn’t leave the track until 10:30 pm as I was reviewing data with my race engineer Paul. Due to my good qualifying, I started the full reverse grid race eighteenth and oh boy did we have some crazy battles. Well, that was until the race was red flagged due to a competitor having a heavy crash in on lap two, turn 17, Blanchimont, a flat-out left-hander. Luckily he ended up being alright but a scary event nonetheless. After the red flag, the race was restarted but as the starting order was not reset correctly, the race results were revised back to the first lap. This in turn meant the positions that I had gained were taken away. It was a hard pill to swallow especially with the amount of raw pace we had but I can happily say that I have my head up for round six, Silverstone, next weekend. We have the pace, we have the race-craft, we just need the luck and I believe it will come. Until next time.