Mar 2019

SP9 Pro Am class win at VLN1

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After a few laps on Friday, we arrived at the circuit on Saturday morning ready for qualifying, only to be greeted by fog which meant a long delay while we waited for the Eifel Mountains to appear! The fog eventually started to lift and a revised timetable was issued with a shorter race of just under 3 hours. Four hours after the original start time, qualifying finally got under way. My team mates Rudi Adams and Immanuel Vinke had a short run each before it was my turn to get a lap in. I did my lap of the Grand Prix loop before taking the short cut to start my lap. A slower car was in front of me, so I dropped back to avoid being slowed by him in the single file row of cones that lead onto the start finish straight. However, I misjudged how slow he was so had to back off before getting back on the throttle, badly compromising my run onto my timed lap. After that I had a relatively clear run until I caught up to the Glickenhaus which was impossible to overtake on the Nordschleife. It was very quick in a straight line and I had to follow it through the twisty bits. In spite of this, I qualified 16th in a very strong field and was looking forward to starting the race.

I didn't have enough tyre temperature at the start which hampered me for the first half lap but I managed to avoid the carnage that unfolded in front of me and found myself behind the number 30 Frikadelli Racing Porsche in P17. It was holding me up through the corners but had good straightline speed so it wasn’t possible to pass it on the straights. I stayed as close as possible while we lapped traffic, ready for any opportunity to get ahead. After 4 laps, I got past through traffic on the Grand Prix loop and pulled away, closing down the other Frikadelli team car which was some way up the road by now. My in lap was relatively clear and I set a purple and green sectors before handing over to Rudi Adams in P8 and second in pro Am. Rudi did his usual professional job and moved up to P1 in class when the leading Audi went off the road, before handing over to Immanuelle still in the class lead and P12 overall, which he held to the end. Walkenhorst Motorsport did their usual excellent job - it's nice to be back on the podium and I'm already looking forward to VLN 2 in just over two weeks!


China GT Sepang

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After a couple of days testing, working on setup and getting my team mate Betty Chen used to the car for her first GT3 race, good progress was being made and we were ready for qualifying on Friday. I qualified in 7th in a tight session, the tyres taking a few laps to come in, so we had work to do. Betty qualified in P7 in her session as well, but we were optimistic of moving forward in the races.

I started race one and managed to move from P7 up to P3 by the end of the first lap. I couldn't do anything about passing the front two but kept in touch while putting a gap between myself and fourth place. Unfortunately a safety car intervened as the pit window opened which closed the field up. I handed over to Betty who did a good job to bring the car home in P7.

Betty started race two and avoided a large startline shunt before moving through the field to hand over to me in P6. I got my head down and moved up to P4, chasing the number 90 sister car. I was catching him as well as the second placed Lamborghini, but was being caught by the number 911 Porsche as my tyres struggled in the high temperatures. I passed the Lamborghini, but couldn't keep the Porsche behind me and caught the third place BMW as another safety car came out. I had a lapped car in front of me in the safety car train which must have had an issue as I lost 8 seconds to third place behind it under the safety car, and with two laps of green flag running to go, I had to settle for fourth.

Overall a promising start to the year and a great job by FIST-Team AAI and my team mate in her first GT3 race.