After three days of racing at Silverstone, we headed to Castle Combe on bank holiday Monday for Rounds 1 & 2 of the championship opener ‘Howard’s Day’.
No practice sessions, just straight out into qualifying, the first time I’d been on track there since October 2017. The session was very wet, with rivers flowing across parts of the circuit. We were initially delayed by an hour due to the flooding on track.
We qualified 2nd getting faster and faster as the session went on until the crucial last couple of laps when I was caught in traffic.
Race 1: I made a good start off the line but being on the outside for the first corner, I found myself in 3rd as we exited turn 1. The car in front then experienced some engine problems promoting me to 2nd again. However this had aloud the leader to break away from me. Halfway through the race the safety car came out, this enabled me to close the gap. As the race restarted I was on the back of 1st place, but the following lap, I misjudged the entry to the first chicane and brushed the tyre wall, shifting my steering out of alignment. Despite this I nearly managed to match the fastest lap of the race, missing out by 0.09 of a second.
Race 2: Our second fastest laps from qualifying determined the grid order, this put me in 3rd for the start. This time the track was nearly dry, but not totally as I would find out later on. Another good start saw me keep my 3rd position exiting turn 1, but as I made my way out of turn 2, both myself and the leader hit a damp patch pushing us off the circuit. Somehow I managed to keep the car pointing straight and rejoined in 4th, the front three cars much further ahead. I was keen to make amends for my mistake, and I worked hard to catch the people in front, setting faster lap times than the leaders consecutively for the remaining 5 laps. I did manage to chase down 3rd to keep my podium position. Sadly we narrowly missed out on the fastest lap of the race again, this time by 0.02 of a second 😅
Ultimately I was a little disappointed, I had a good couple of opportunities to fight for the win, but a couple of errors from myself let that chance slip away. However, I have found many positives since, I am really pleased with the setup we’ve found on the car for the wet conditions recently, my starts were the best they have ever been and apart from those couple of errors, I drove well.
A huge thanks to Kevin and Alex for running me on bank holiday Monday!
Great to see some friends at the track showing their support too! 🙏🏻
Looking forward to my next outing in the car!