With it being a new track to learn it was good to have some instruction on where to place the car and the best possible overtaking spots. Throughout the session the times where continuously falling as I was pushing the car to its limits. After the day came to an end I was very confident and immediately fell in love with the track. I was looking very strong for race day.
Practice one went well. After a few adjustments on the car I was back setting competitive times and I couldn’t wait for qualifying. As I went out for the second practice session I knew that this was my last chance to set a realistic time to suggest where I would place in qualifying. With a tyre change mid-way through the session I had to be quick straight away. I set a time to put me in seventh, just half a second from third. This showed huge potential as the time could have been improved even more when the tyre temperatures increased later on.
As we were sat in the garages as the Qualifying approached, just before we were due to leave for the assembly area, the heavens opened. So it was a quick change for the wet tyres. Unfortunately I hadn’t been on the track in the wet before so I had to learn everything again during the session. I began to increase the speed and start pushing the car to try and get a quick lap time. The track had a massive amount of grip which was so strange with it being a wet track. I brought the car home in ninth which wasn’t the place we were looking for but I knew the track had a huge amount of overtaking potential.
Race one was on a wet, but drying track. The conditions were difficult but I knew the start would be a key area to gain places. I had a great start. In the first lap I managed to make up two positions alone. I had a good battle with the other cars and managed to bring the car back in sixth. I didn’t quite have the pace to run right at the front but the lap times were very consistent allowing me to be very much involved with the action.
Knowing I had the pace in the dry I was hoping for a dry race two. Just before we had to make our way to the assembly area the rain came over and It was another wet race. This didn’t worry me but just made me even more determined to have a great race. I had a great start making up two places but I then dropped down again after being forced to the outside. I held my line and kept focus. As I entered Sunny In, I had a perfect overtaking opportunity. I went for the move and it paid off, successfully making up a place. As I approached the next corner unfortunately I had to avoid another driver who was sideways in the middle of the track. I had nowhere to go apart from the grass. This dropped me all the way down to last position. I stayed calm and got back on track and started making ground on the next car in front. Before I knew it I had caught the pack up and started to make the important overtakes as quickly as possible. With the support from the team on the pit wall cheering me on I made my way back up to sixth place setting the third fastest lap, half a second quicker than the first place car. This was my best race so far this season and has given me so much confidence going in to the final round at Donington park.
I would like to say a huge thank you to Specialized motorsport for a brilliant car and their hard work getting me out on the track. Brian for giving me everything I need to be out racing and the continued support on and off track. Last but not least Helen for being an amazing instructor not only on Friday but for the whole weekend. I couldn’t have done it without you there, thank you. By Jamie-Lea Hawley