Posted 23 May 2020 - 01:07 PM
The most difficult thing about racing at Clermont is the reduced sight lines. That, and the fact that if you put a wheel wrong, you're likely to be flipped on your head or drive off the side of a mountain. Apart from that, it's a piece of piss...
In practice, I'd just dipped below 3.22, but today that still wouldn't have been that competitive. I worked out that 4 gallons was my qualy fuel load. 1st lap wasted, 2nd lap tyres not up to temp, 3rd lap - the one! 4th lap, only if I cocked up the 3rd lap.
Into qualy, I'm second out, behind brother Pepe. L2, I crest the rise after T3, and Pepe is on his side, across the track, with 3 wheels on his car. I cannot avoid him, and it's a heavy shunt. Somehow I land on my wheels, but the car feels damaged. My qualy plan is now shot to shit Lap 2 is a write-off. Lap 3, 3.25 and only good enough for 10th. Starting 10th here would be a nightmare. Lap 4 is 3.24. I have just enough fuel left to get back to the pits. I have just enough time to do 3 more laps before the chequered flag comes out. Go!! Lap 3, I scrape a low 3.23... and that's still 10th.
Now, I don't know about you guys, but I get really hot when I'm racing. And on a day like today, after qualy I will strip off to just boxer shorts and socks for the race (try not to think of it). But I'm the last one qualifying - everyone's waiting on me. No sooner have I stopped, than the start sequence happens, and I'm cooking. Shit!! I desperately strip off my trousers and t-shirt, and join the grid with 10 secs to go.
I'm on the outside of T1, and I lose a place straight away. Coming to the sharp bends on L2, a car suddenly appears out of nowhere, and I hit it. From the replay, I see it is Kayo, sliding back onto the track. Sorry, I could not avoid you. Pepe and Alex pass me whilst I try to get going again.
A lap later, Pepe returns to the track from a Moses-like mountain top experience, right in front of me, and for the next 5 laps, we race nose to tail. There's no chance of taking him unless he makes a mistake. I pile on the pressure, and finally he does, so I'm up into 10th. Within half a lap, I'm on Tim's tail, and for the next 7 laps we race nose to tail again.
On lap 15, we come around a tight bend 3/4 of the way around the lap, and I clip Niky who is at 90 degrees to the track, trying to recover from a spin. I slither off the track, and can't get back on, due to a great lip. I rev it to the max, and finally get back on track. I'm surprised the engine didn't blow.
That's the end of any hopes of improvement, and I finish 8th.