S20 Rouen - Darren Mclachlan Memorial Grand Prix

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#1 Robert Fleurke

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 12:02 PM

Quali was great with a 312 PB, but Michael put in a stellar lap towards the end, didn't expect that, and it made for an interesting race early on.

Start was so-so, noticed Gerd was close and held the outside in T1, but Gerd backed out at the same time. Michael had a few carlengths, but I had a better pace early on also because I was on a 1 stopper. Gerd stayed glued to me, when Michael both held us up slightly. Did need 3 attempts to outbrake Michael towards Scierie, wanted to make a safe pass so was rather cautious.

Then I could run my own pace, had a little gap initially but Gerd was on a better pace and closed up, making me think he might be on a 2 stopper. And he was, so it was great to still lead him when he had to stop. After 30 laps I decided to pit for fuel. Rather cautious stop, but I had the luxuary of a big lead. Led Gerd by 7s after the stop, but he closed up again, especially when Tris refused to yield for me when I was about to lap him. When I gathered he wouldn't let me go backed a bit off, also since his connection to me is always very bad. After 4-5 laps had to close up to Tris since Gerd was arriving behind me, and then Tris made a mistake at Beauval and nearly took me out when I passed him.

I've talked to your teamleader Tris, but I should file a protest...everyone behaved great when lapping them, apart from you. It almost cost me the win and finish. That was either bad awareness or bad courtesy fom lap 36-40...

Anyway, after having dodged that bullet -and having a great solid driver like Gerd behind me who didn't pound on Tris' antics- I was able to hold on the lead until Gerd had to pit again after 40 laps. After that managed the car to the finish, last 10 laps were hard with a leg that I didn't feel anymore, but my right foot still did it's  job. ;)

This effort was for Darren McLachlan and his family and friends! Was a great show early on especially! Thanks to all drivers, great job so many finishers! Grats to Gerd and Iestyn for podium! Also great job Greg, another excellent teamresult! :)

Drive of the day by Michiel in the Honda, P6 and lead lap!

Commiserations to the DNFs, in particular Michael, he did deserve to see the checkered...possibly the chassis damage might have triggered the engine to blow...that's how I sometimes experience blow ups...

PS: can someone edit topic title, it's S20

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Edited by Robert Fleurke, 29 July 2017 - 05:22 PM.

Well, my socks and shoes always match, is it luck?

#2 JMF


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Posted 29 July 2017 - 03:13 PM

Congrats Rob, Gerd, and Iestyn! Nice job guys.

I enjoyed parts of the race. Other parts of it were frustrating. I can't say I'm very happy with my qualifying performance. It would have been nice to do a little better and qualify in front of Tristan.

Tristan was slow early in the race. I thought he was running a full distance fuel load. He prevented me from trying to open an early lead on the Brabhams. It took a little while but I finally got past him. I was able to extend my lead on some Brabhams but I had Michiel closing on me by then. It was tough work trying to catch Micheal. Slight mistakes on his part made it easier. I couldn't believe it when he ran wide allowing me to take his position. It's a shame I couldn't do much with it. I got a little overzealous wanting to keep Michiel behind me as long as possible. I almost lost it braking for the hairpin. Unfortunately I had to come to a stop. Luckily Micheal and Michiel didn't overcook it like me or it could have gotten ugly at the hairpin.

I was behind Micheal again. It was another long effort to close the gap again. I had taken several laps to cut his 2 second lead. I lost those 2 seconds on the lap we lapped Burt. That meant I had another long ordeal to catch him. I was a little impatient when I caught Frank. I chose the wrong line to pass him and had to lock my wheels to avoid hitting him. Unfortunately, I hit the fence. It quickly became apparent I had damaged the car. Two of the most difficult places for me, braking for the hairpin and braking at the end of the back straight, became trickier for me. Within 2 or 3 laps I could see that my left side tires were no longer heating evenly. The outside of the LF was 3C too hot and the outside LR was 2C too hot. I had the car set to heat the inside of those tires 1 degree F more than the outside. I knew I was no longer able to challenge Micheal. It didn't take long for the instability under braking to allow Iestyn to easily pass me. I was surprised when Micheal's luck ended worse than mine.

It was frustrating with my poor qualifying and my luck with traffic. With some good luck I may have been close to Gerd at the finish and it's unlikely Iestyn could have caught me. After the realignment the race became more of a chore than a joy. Luckily, my race didn't end when I hit the fence and none of my moments the last 24 laps stopped me either. It was a good result from a somewhat haphazard drive.

Thanks guys. See you next time.
Greg Taber

#3 Bo Bruce

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 06:05 PM

not much to say, i stepped in as Yannick let Vulture know he'd have to miss this one.
all i wanted was to finish and not be an obstacle. those of you around me would have to say on point#2, but i did finish ... somehow :o
i think i had 4 spins on the approach to the hairpin - and a couple other offs/ spins elsewhere. i can't believe i was able to continue, can't believe damage (feel of g25) was unaffected and that total damage was 'only' light. crazy ~

Doni and i had some good nose/tail exchanges, actually touching once as i lost traction at one point (off) and as i accelerated didn't see he was overtaking - sorry Doni -
then too i noticed he spent a good amount of time in the pits - i hope that your eyes were misbehaving!

other than that, it was a long LONG race for me. started to feel the cramping about 3/4 way and really had to focus to keep my attention on WHERE i was on track :P
early on i felt we were on lap 15, but it was only lap 6!   oh my.....

congrats to Rob and podium, commiserations to Michael ... and to the D1 ensemble for a brilliant start, and superb finish %!!  most excellent show.
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#4 Roy


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Posted 30 July 2017 - 04:25 AM

Excellent race guys, good show :)

RIP Darren!

#5 Robert Fleurke

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 08:15 AM

Tristan and I may have our differences when racing, but I heard he has lost his mother. He told us before she has had an heart attack, but didn't know she passed away...

My condoleances to Tristan and his family. Wishing you a lot of strength coping with your loss...

Edited by Robert Fleurke, 30 July 2017 - 08:15 AM.

Well, my socks and shoes always match, is it luck?

#6 Michiel Pompert

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 12:07 PM

My condolences to Tristan, that is surely an event that puts the mind off racing and explains everything, especially with the sudden nature of it all. Sorry to hear it and I hope the coming days allow you to give it a good place with support of those around you :(

As for my race. I was not happy with my pace in practice. I could drive it in low 56s easily, but with a 55,6 PB in the BRM I would like to have reached more. Rouen is a bit of a on-off form track, at times I nail it and at times I just don't quite. Driving a new chassis with very different handling sure made part of the puzzle tricky as accuracy is key here :)

By race time I tested the pitstop patch feature successfully, seeing there was hardly a way to finish the Honda on a full tank without serious lifting, which in the pack can be plain dangerous when doing it at the suitable spots like the hairpin approach and back straight. With my own dissatisfaction about the absolute pace in mind as well as the tight nature of the opening corners at Rouen I decided to skip Qually, apart from some race fuel laps which I couldn't help but do to have a feel for the car in the opening laps of the race. A 57,2 was not bad in the end and only would place me about 2 spots lower than I might have gone unless I found more speed than the 56,2 I had managed before.

The race started off well, the clear racing and room was given exactly right by everyone, especially into the hairpin. Well done! I knew I had to gain places on cars that could be non-stopping, and this worked out reasonably well, until reaching Tristan, who with some warp and defensive driving was keeping me from what I had needed to do to try and fight for a top 5 spot, 58s and 59s instead of 57s. Trying passes where I had a chance was risky because of the warp going on, and it took 11 laps to get by. Fortunately the cars ahead didn't go too far out of sight so I could use them as a magnet as by now I turned 4 56s in a row to catch the Lotus cars of Greg and Michael who obviously seemed to not be stopping. Getting by was helped by some small errors on their part, first Greg spun in the hairpin in a gentle way with a gap to pass by easily, and then Michael had a bit of a moment in the last corner that I could use to slingshot by.

Then I tried to pull a bit of a gap before the stop. By lap 31 it was time to come in at the end of it and in a moment of BRM auto-pilot driving I shifted a gear too far down, into reverse rather than neutral whilst standing still :D . By the time I was free to go I shot back a bit, fortunately nobody had parked behind me, but I lost a few seconds recovering. As entertaining as the first half had been, as boring became the second. Peter was 12 seconds up the road and I was hoping to be dicing with him after seeing the Q results, but he pulled ahead too much along with Iestyn to be a factor. I also started to feel my tailbone which I had injured in Paris when sitting down too fast on a couch where it was no pillow but a wooden beam instead. I could keep focus on driving fortunately and was clean apart from a slight brush with the hairpin tyres once and a tank slapper at the T1 exit that needed fast reflexes. The gap varied between 9-12 seconds until towards the end I decided to put in some fast laps, the handling seeming to improve on the lighter load and I was catching Peter again who might just have been bringing the car home himself. A 56,2 on the last lap confirmed I could go faster in Q mode, but it will be for another time.

Well done to the podium, a great drive up the field by Iestyn in the second half of the race! See you guys at the next event. I hope the Honda will be friendly there :P
Graham Hill: "I'm an artist, the track is my canvas, the car is my brush."

#7 BurtAugust


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Posted 31 July 2017 - 07:51 AM

Condolences to Tristran.  Very sorry for your loss.

Wish I could say this race was fun but my butt hurt so bad after 20 laps it was a very painful experience.  Did a Brabham PB in practice but I surely could have done a 57.

Chose a no stop strategy for the race.  The first 20 laps Bo and Doni were a few seconds behind and I had to concentrate on not letting them get into contact with me.  Killer had an off or two and fell behind but worked hos was past us.  I was determined not to exceed 8500 rpm and save the engine for the finish.  I couldn't match Killers pace and he pulled well clear of me.  After Bo pitted I was in a lonely place leading him by more than a minute and about 30 seconds in back of Killer until he pitted and reentered just a second or two ahead of me.  I thought of picking my pace of about 2:01.5 but considering there was only one point to be gained, that it would likely be x'd anyway and I probably couldn't catch Killer anyway I figured the coins were more important and maintained my pace.

Made a stupid mistake approaching the hairpin that left me nose against the fence and tail in the road.as Ies and others were coming up to lap me and there was a collision.  Luckily both Ies and I could continue.  Finished out the race shifting at 8000.

Want to say how great everyone drove in this race.  Love running in D1 even though I am usually way off the pace.

Congrats to the podium and particularly my teammate Gerd.

Edited by BurtAugust, 31 July 2017 - 07:52 AM.

#8 MGL66


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Posted 31 July 2017 - 12:05 PM

Did you ever have one of those qualifying session in which you turn a good lap, think to yourself "That was my best lap so far," then exit the cockpit and have your eyes pop out of your head when you see the lap time? That was how my session ended at Rouen. You were surprised, Robert? So was I.

Early in training I had resolved to run this race without a fuel stop. In hindsight, that was a mistake. Had I not unthinkingly stayed with that decision, I would have calculated that 30 laps on half tanks would have been enough to overcome the time spent stationary for re-fuelling. A one-stop strategy would have made even more sense after having earned pole. All-in-all, bad strategizing on my part. On half tanks, I don't know how long I would have stayed in front of Robert and Gerd, but I would at least have had a fighting chance. And even with them in front of me, I would have turned much faster laps.

As it was, once Robert passed me, my error-fest began. I ran wide a few times (especially off the final corner) and lightly thumped the tires outside Nouveau Monde three times. Each contact caused some damage, the cumulative effect of which negatively impacted my lap times later in the race. I don't know whether the damage precipitated the blown engine at the end of lap 58 -- perhaps it did -- but a better explanation might be what I did while negotiating Gresil on lap 36. I inadvertently hit the downshift paddle and buzzed the engine! I was surprised it didn't blow then. After that, I was as gentle as I could be with the engine, paying more attention than ever to each shift. But those efforts weren't enough.

When my engine blew, I coasted accross the S/F line to complete lap 58, then let the car coast all the way down to Nouveau Monde before exiting. I hope I didn't cause anyone trouble by doing this, but I had my reasons. I figured that in the unlikely event that we were to experience a mass screen freeze or disco before I reached Nouveau Monde, I could argue that I was still moving/running on the race track and therefore should be scored with a finish. It was an extremely unlikely scenario, but it was my only hope at that point.

Needless to say, I'm bitterly disappointed with the result. The high of pole position to the low of blowing an engine after nearly two hours of racing is a pretty long distance. In between, I enjoyed battling with Robert, Gerd, Greg, Iestyn, and Michiel (who scared me until I concluded that he HAD to be running on half tanks!).

Congratulations to all finishers (i.e. everyone but me!) over a full distance race, congratulations on another picture perfect run through Nouveau Monde on lap 1, and congratulations to the podium.

I'm terribly sorry to hear, Tristan, about your loss. My best wishes to you and your family.

Finally, as always, wish you were here, Darren.


Edited by MGL66, 01 August 2017 - 06:56 AM.

#9 Robert Fleurke

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 06:24 AM

As always enjoyable racepost Michael. It's a shame you didn't score points by such an effort. Heartbreak. If you had started with 30 lap fuel, I'm not so sure being able to make a (safe) pass, if you hadn't made a mistake. But the amount of fuel and weight did neutralize the Lotus a bit which allowed me to get a tow towards Scierie and on the main straight.

Told Greg a pitstop would be (slightly) faster, but he also decided to run full tanks. Admirable, I came 2-3 laps short to run on full tanks, in the Ferrari. I did calculate a pitstop would be about 5-10s faster overall for me, and somehow splitting such a long race is mentally less hard.

Can't say enough about the fact all did finish (but Michael, still classified). OK, we didn't have a full grid and I hope we can have 15+car grids the rest of the season.

Edited by Robert Fleurke, 01 August 2017 - 06:25 AM.

Well, my socks and shoes always match, is it luck?

#10 PeterA


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Posted 03 August 2017 - 11:41 AM

Grats on the win Rob! and having used some time battling Michael last season made me feel proud when I saw that pole-time, way to go Lowery! Some incredible bad luck about the last part of the race though :-/

This was my first full distance race in GPL and have to say that regardless of how much action or not there was, the sheer challenge of running 60 laps at decent pace in this game is still a challenge to me, made two small errors (one of them a spin coming on to the backstraight) so the most positive to take from the race is clearly the consistency I pulled of.. the part about almost taking off my teammate at around half distance, not so much.. :-O... thought I was braking early but turns out I wasn't really, luckily I escaped weavering sideways under braking and it turned into a pass thanks to some cooperation from Tris.. (My condolences on your mother :-/  )

Good fun to see the cars in the pit around lap 30 as I went for a non-stopper, was glad to see T. Dank in there as he was pulling out some gap during the first part looking at qualpace-comparison. Was actually expecting Michiel to catch me again, but I was able to hold a steady pace and the gap lasted until towards the end where I honestly wouldn't have felt comfortable going much faster than I was :-S

Kudos goes out to Iestyn for turning quite some pace in the brab on full tank as well, is it a sign of returning to old form? :-)

#11 JMF


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Posted 04 August 2017 - 11:55 AM

RIP Darren. My condolences to Tristan too.
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