I posted earlier that I had found 20 mins to test this track, and that was all the pre race practice that I had with a best lap of around 1:32.
Also, my experience in the 66 Can Ams is very limited, so I had simply chosen one of the smaller engine cars in the hope that it would be easier to control, all very scientific
So qually was going to be a journey into the unknown. I guessed at the race fuel required, filled the tank and just started running laps, trying to find the fast lines and braking points. Gradually I chipped away at the lap times and ended up 4th on the grid. Woohoo that wasn't too bad!
The times that Sam and Axel had posted in the Chapps was well over one second faster, with Tim also looking very quick so finishing 4th might be as good as I could expect. But with Andy and Doni breathing down my neck on the grid that might not be so easy
As the countdown started I remembered that those monstrous 2 geared Chapps are slow off the line, maybe I could sneak past one of them off the grid, and maybe hold them at bay for a few laps??
It was better than that
, both Chapps crawled off the grid allowing Tim and myself to sweep past and steal the front 2 places. I expected Tim to just drive away from me given his qualifying time, but I was able to just ( only just!) hang on for the first few laps. I was still learning the limits of handling/braking/acceleration of the car and after about 10 laps I felt that I had driven a whole race such was the concentration. I was shocked when I risked a glance at the pitboard to see 21 laps to go!!!??? I thought we were close to the end of the race!!!!!
Once I had established a rhythm, it was relatively easy to stay with Tim and even when I dropped back through a small error I could close the gap again. Passing however was going to be a whole different story, unless he made a mistake.
I pushed my braking just a little too much at one point and tangled with the haybales at Holtzenbochenstukinhay. Luckily, there was no damage, but I had lost almost 100mtrs on Tim. Over the next laps I chipped away at his lead and very, very slowly closed the gap. Geez I was pushing hard!!
Then, just as I was getting in slipstream range with around 10 laps to go Tim made his one error and ran wide at T1. I took the gift and tried to run for the hills.
The next laps were a case of concentrating hard through the twisty bits and ensuring that I got out of Tarzan smoothly before risking a glance in the mirror to check where Tim was. Once I saw the 3 laps to go board I was feeling pretty safe
. Tim was far enough away that I could back off and play safe for the win.
Then, as I came out of T1 the car felt sluggish ??, through T2 it did not pick up like it should?
By T3&4 the awful truth dawned on me. I had not blown the engine....I was out of fuel!!!!
The car was never going to limp around 2.5laps and hold Tim off so I had to Shift/R and SnG.
I knew that Tim would be closing fast so I ran the car off the track and gritted my teeth as he swept past before pounding the reset keys.
A swift visit to the pits and any chance of catching Tim was a dream, but at least 2nd was secure and far better than I had expected at the start.
Grats and thanks to Tim for a great fun race. Also, to all those who got to the finish.