Ahead of the weekend, I was worried about my lack of running at Brands. I had turned some laps earlier in the year, however, it was icy at the time, so not really any benefit for the perfect conditions we were faced with over the weekend.
Henry managed to pip me to pole though by a few thousandths of a second. Jack was only a few thousandths further back as well. Unbelievably close.
On the Friday I tried to find a nice balance and rhythm around the track and figure out where I was strong and weak. With such a busy test session on such a short track, I had thought that it was going to be hard to achieve. However, it was great and we only had a couple of Red flags that interrupted the sessions later in the day.
Quali took place early doors on Saturday morning. The track was still damp early on but with the sun already blazing down, it only took a short while for the racing line to dry out. I was amazed on finishing the session to see I’d managed to drop in a 54.79s lap. I hadn’t managed a 54 bracket lap at all in testing. Henry managed to pip me to pole though by a few thousandths of a second. Jack was only a few thousandths further back as well. Unbelievably close.
My start for race 1 was not at all bad. I challenged around turn 1 for the lead before tucking in behind Henry into Druids. However, the conservative approach left the outside open to Dan and he passed me down into Graham Hill. That also left the door open for Jack to stick his nose in and, although I managed to hold him off into Surtees, I couldn’t stop him on the run down to Paddock. I had thought the inside line was shut out but clearly I’d left one car width available – which Jack duly stuck his car into.
At that point, it wasn’t looking too promising. 2nd down to 4th. However, the lead pack would stick together as a 4 for the remainder of the race, with Will and Lee joining in the fun briefly after the safety car which came out for a stranded car.
Towards the end of the race, Henry was really struggling for rear tyre grip and I was able to find a gap and squeeze past. Some defending saw Henry fade slightly and over the last two laps I tried everything to close the gap to Dan but only managed to get to within 4 10ths at the line.
3rd place was a welcome result – especially as we weren’t racing with a split grid. However, Jack finishing 1st wasn’t ideal! He’s on such a fantastic run of form at the moment. I managed to pick up a new lap record, which helped limit the point damage slightly and Will’s lack of pace left him in 6th position at the flag.
I snuck around the outside of Paddock – which isn’t something you can say every day.
Race 2 was slightly marred by 2 safety car periods so battles never fully matured. Oil down at Druids caused a number of incidents, including contact between Henry, Dan and myself. However, even though the battles didn’t get a chance to fully play out, they were intense and extremely hard fought.
On the penultimate lap, I finally managed to get around Jack Sales for the lead. I snuck around the outside of Paddock – which isn’t something you can say every day. I held him until Paddock the next time round but he returned the favour and took me around the outside.
I should have been good for second at that point. However, bad defending left me exposed to an on form Dan and he took his chance with a great side by side moment through Surtees. I almost got the run back at him across the line but ended up 3rd once more, by only thousandths of a second.
Dan’s racing all weekend had moved up a notch and he was rightly pleased with his results. A pleasure to race with him. Jack’s mid season run continues with impeccable race craft backed up with raw speed. Henry’s rollercoaster season continues but racing with him is always a highlight and, although I didn’t get to play with him a lot on track, Will rescued a weekend and his championship by pushing his car higher up the points than it seemed to want to go.
As the dust settles, I’m back at the top of the championship. Jack is one point back and Will a further point behind Jack. However, that doesn’t give the whole picture and I need some more great results to keep in with a shout at the title.
I shall continue to push hard at Croft. As ever, I can’t wait to get back on track. It would be nice to get back that winning feeling again 🙂