Ups and Downs in the Sand Dunes of Zandvoort

The long wait for the next race after Donington finally came to an end on the wet and windy Dutch shores at Circuit Park Zandvoort. A truly historic track, perched on the Sand Dunes.

Two days of testing didn’t get off to a very good start. Off the pace in the morning and then a failed gearbox wiped out most of the remainder of the day.

My engine power also seemed to be getting worse. It’s not felt spritely since the off season testing and the hills of the Zandvoort circuit seemed to really emphasise its lack of grunt.

I knew qualification was going to be a struggle and so it proved. 8th was the absolute maximum I could get out of the car and that’s my worst quali result to date.

Unfortunately, whilst pushing to stay in contact with the lead group, I ran wide early in race 1. This put me further down the order and I spent the rest of the race trying hard to maintain positions.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t survive the long straights and slipped further and further down the order. I ended the race in 12th.

That didn’t leave me in the most positive outlook for race 2. However, Sunday dawned wet and windy. In those conditions, engine power wouldn’t be such a problem.

A relatively timid start to ensure no incidents in the early stages followed by trying to be as opportunist as possible to work through the field.

It took a while to get past a few drivers, which ultimately meant that I couldn’t get right to the front whilst the conditions were still wet.

The drying track at the end of the race meant I couldn’t catch Jack or Max, but a final lap spin by Max going for the win gifted me second.

That was some medicine for the disappointment of the opening few days of the weekend and it felt like a win for me.

Time to get the engine and gearbox sorted ahead of Castle Combe. Get back stronger and back on the pace!

 

All aboard for Holland

This coming weekend the Caterham Motorsport paddock is uprooting itself from the UK and travelling to Holland for a spot of fun in the (hopefully) sun.

No TV coverage for this one – but there are still ways to follow along with all the action.

Live timing should be available at https://livetiming.raceresults.nu/zandvoort#screen-results

Qualifying : Saturday 20th June, 0930
Race 1: Saturday 20th June, 1355
Race 2: Sunday 21st June, 1050

I will, of course, be uploading the races on my return and will post up the usual race reports.

Looking forward to this one a lot!

Well done Academy 2015!

To kill some time before Zandvoort next weekend, I decided I’d rock up to the Caterham Academy 2015’s first race at Rockingham. It’s a long time since my first race at Donington back in 2013 but the memories are still fresh! It’s a day that I’ll never forget. The step from sprints to racing is a big one, it’s intimidating and there’s a huge air of expectation about getting on track for the first time!

We had glorious weather at Donington for our race. In contrast, after a day’s dry testing for the class of 2015, they were faced with soaking conditions for their qualification and race on what is widely considered to be the slippiest track in the UK!

Surely a recipe for disaster? Well, not the case as it goes. Both groups were understandably nervous ahead of their qualification but as soon as they were all safely back in parc-ferme, those nerves had all been replaced by adrenalin highs.

By the time the races started, it was raining even more heavily and the tack was covered in standing water. Given that these are possibly the worst possible conditions to race in, with zero visibility, there were remarkably few spins / issues. They all did a great job and only a brief safety car period to recover a stranded car on the banking in White group’s race temporarily stopped the action.

There were some storming drives; some commanding drives. There will also be some drivers who feel like they didn’t get the most out of themselves or who let a good result slip through their fingers.

There’s so much to learn in the Academy year, but the guys and girls of the class of 2015 represented themselves really well and, fingers crossed, it will be a great years racing for all of them.

Picture thanks to SnappyRacers.