Nice pictures Jim. It's hard to believe someone like Jim Hall could come from a hellhole like Midland. I haven't been there in more than 20 years. If I ever have to pass through there again, I should stop at the museum too.
It's good to be back. Thanks for letting me return. And thanks to the Honey Badgers for allowing me to drive something better than a Honda, the car I would be driving if I remained a privateer.
Spa67 is a great track. It's one I love to drive and one I can show a little strength. It can destroy a car very easily but I was more worried about computer problems than the race. I was a little worried about the start too but I felt I'd be alright if I could make it past the Kink unscathed on lap 1.
I did get a screen freeze on my in lap on my first stint. That sucked. I was satisfied with 3:20.3 but I was worried a few tenths could cost me a few positions. I wanted a 3:19 and I just made it with a 2 lap stint in the last 5 minutes.
The start was precarious. Iestyn didn't get away well. For a moment I thought he might be trying to let me pass. I never try to gain positions at the start unless I qualify poorly. Unable to determine where Ed and Yannick were, I did my best to not hit Iestyn and put my faith in the guys behind me to not run over me. Nice job Ed, Yannick. Iestyn helped pull me away from Ed and Yannick up the hill from Eau Rouge and down the hill from Les Combes. That put me in good shape to avoid any accidents. It was a shame that I had lost the tow by the time we exited Malmedy.
Once Iestyn broke the tow, I kept my eye on Tristan and tried to drive just fast enough to open the gap more. I don't think the Brabham is fast enough here to keep up with the Ferrari.
When Iestyn took a trip over the rail at Les Combes, I thought that might have put him out of the race. A few laps later, I thought I might be cruising to a podium finish.
A few laps after that, I could see he had recovered and was on his way towards me. His first lap behind me he gained 2.5 seconds. I picked up my pace a little on the next lap and kept his gain to less than 2 seconds. From the time he took P4, I thought he would catch me. All I could do was make it take as long as possible and hope he made a few mistakes. I checked the replay and he was 17 seconds behind me starting the lap after his incident at Les Combes. I did a nice job making it take 10.5 laps to catch me. I might have been able to make it take 11 laps to catch me but he still would have had 2 or 3 laps to pass me.
As he got closer I started making some slight errors. But I was still able to lower my lap times. Once he did catch me, I pressed for just a little faster entry into Blanchimont, one of my worst places on the track. I got too far inside and the grass got me sideways. Immediately, my only worry was Iestyn might hit me. But being the wise and patient driver he often is, he took it easy until he passed my sliding car. Thanks Iestyn.
The slide at Blanchimont was my only big mistake. I did make one other that scared me a bit. I was so focused on the pavers on the right in the turn before La Source that I almost hit Michi's crippled car. I didn't see him until it was too late to take evasive action. I'm lucky he was about as far left as he could go. I might have wanted to cry had I hit him.
I enjoyed the race and before qualifying I enjoyed watching Michiel run a 3:18.43. He can test the limits of his racing line much better than I can. I kept thinking, if I tried that I'd spin or lose lots of time to save the car. When he ran a little wide twice in the La Carriere area, I didn't think his lap time would be that good but surprisingly he finished the lap at 18.43.
Thanks for the fun guys. Thanks for letting me drive the Ferrari Micheal. I appreciate you letting me race with you.