The Mecca. The Mountain. The best round of the Supercars championship. The best round of TGR 86s Championship. 6 days of fast high intensity racing. What more could you want? Maybe a bit of luck.
That what we were missing on the weekend. Luck.
The car was fast. I was feeling pumped and ready to go and looking to improve on our weekend at the start of the year when we stuck the car on pole position.
Practice rolled around. Contact with another driver on the warm up lap saw damage for all of practice 1. The car was still fast and we ended the session P7. High hopes for the weekend after that. We straightened the car up for Practice 2 and came away P8. Not bad. Not great, but not bad.
Qualifying rolled around on Thursday. Basically a one lap shootout as the tyres overheat after 1 lap and all the goodness in the tyre disappears. We all roll out line a stern and warm up. Another driver passed 3 cars to be closer to the front for some reason or another. As we started our first flying lap this same competitor started to pass and battle with another driver ahead which compromised my fast lap. Ended the session in P13 and frustrated as our sector times had us in P4.
Race 1. The one where it all went wrong. I had a mega start to the race and was hunting down the top 10. Lap 1 turn 4. The cutting. I went for a pass on another driver into the cutting and he came down on me and there was contact. I still firmly believe I had enough overlap to constitute a pass. The Stewards disagreed with me and charged me with reckless driving and was to start Race 2 from pit lane.
Race 2 rolls around on Saturday. Starting from pit lane ended up being a blessing in disguise. There was a massive crash at the dipper on lap 1. 7 cars involved. If I was starting from the grid I would have been involved, but as we were starting from pit lane, everything was over by the time I got there. Phew!
Race 3. Started from P28 and could only just see the repeater lights for the race start. Got a mega start to the race passing 2 cars before Turn 1. Lap 1 was mega. I ended up Passing 11 cars on that lap. One more car crashed out on lap 2 which saw me make up 12 spots in the race. Late fuel surge prevented any more passing opportunities, but the car felt awesome, setting the 5th fastest time of the race with no slipstream from cars ahead.
Overall an unfortunate race meeting, but great last race saw the close of a Successful year with a pole at Bathurst at the start of the year and consistently running in the top 5 cars all year.
Looking forward to next years racing and hopefully we return with the same if not faster pace than this year and can get on that podium and fight for race wins.
Watch this space as we have some awesome news to share about an addition to our racing!!!