Some of you may not believe me, but I have deliberately NOT practised any of these reversed tracks except for the couple of short "test" runs of Mosport and Monaco when we were setting this series up.
I felt that I should not have the opportunity to gain an advantage by knowing these circuits.......maybe I should have taken the chance to improve my performance.
As a result I am turning up for these races unprepared and choosing a car on gut feelings ( and luck!). I am finding these reversed tracks huge fun and although I think I know exactly which way the track goes, and how sharp the corners are, nothing is quite as it seems when you are at racing speed. Last night at Spa I opted for the Ferrari simply because I recall having a setup for Mexico that felt stable and quick.
After the first few qually laps I had a big grin on my face. Stavelot was just awesome with the Fezza planted firmly on the road, Masta I expected to maybe lift fractionally, but that was absolutely flat out. Malmedy was just magic in reverse!! just drop one gear and nail the gas over the crest allowing the car to go light and drift wide to miss the bushes
But, Eau Rouge was a revelation. It took me until at least half distance in the race to get it right. Entering the corner blind and at a stupid speed, dropping down the hill and stomping on the power to blast out of the dip just missing that white wall and up over the S/F line
As for the actual race I was caught out at the start when Tim's Lotus49 was not as quick as I anticipated out of La Source and in an attempt to give him room I got onto the grass and was dragged up the bank. I tried my best to keep the car from spinning back across the track until the pack had passed but I clipped Andy in his Lotus 63...sorry mate
Then it was a case of chasing back from the tail of the field and that almost went t*ts up when I caught another Lotus49 ( Doni) and was amazed when I closed so much through a corner and almost wiped him out, managing to just give him a nudge as I threw the car at the green stuff!! Fortunately no damage, so onwards!
I guess that Tim had a moment at Stavelot and I was onto his tail. There followed a lot of laps where his straight line speed could ease out a few metres, but through the corners the winged Ferrari was just soooo much quicker that I had to back off several times to avoid hitting him. I realised during these laps that I had made a mistake with my 5th gear ratio, because with Tim providing a tow I was maxing out on the straights and the oil temp was rising on each lap
. I was having to back off at the end of the straights to avoid blowing the engine!! (I think that I would have been forced to abandon that battle at some point just to avoid a big bang.) Even so, the Ferrari was so much easier to drive than Tim's car which he was certainly working hard. It was when he made a small mistake at a fast part of the track and I was caught out yet again having to throw myself at the green stuff to avoid his gearbox that he got away.
I chased Tim for the rest of the race and discovered that I could almost match his laptimes, but I could not close the gap
Then I caught a limping Axel with a few laps to go and on the last lap Gareth went for a pit stop, promoting me to an undeserved 3rd.
Grats to Samb and Tim and all finishers.
I hope that everyone is enjoying these reversed tracks as much as I am.
Maybe with the right 5th gear and a little more awareness for the slower cornering on the Lotus49, I might have been closer to