Thanks to Pieter K and Symplexity for helping me out with a much needed new set of tyres for the next round at Kyalami, and additional help for the rest of the season. Their actions will really help motivate me to push on further, and the struggle to keep a dream going has been eased up a bit :) The search still continues for further aid!
Sunday, March 9, 2008
And so it was that the 2nd round of the Pro Tour was to be a tale of tyres for me.
It was pretty damn hot in Port Elizabeth. The Friday practice sessions really took it out of me, and my poor race fitness was showing as by the time we came to quali, I hardly had any energy left. The car handled poorly from the start. The track surface was incredibly abrasive, and I had a really difficult time keeping the slides to a minimum. There was no way to eliminate it or avoid it without being slow. I had to slide around every single corner basically to not be last. At least the brakes seemed to be behaving, so the broken chassis member was indeed the culprit!
I experimented with car setup quite a bit to try get rid of the horrible corner entry understeer, and horrific corner exit oversteer. This was inbetween running around the town for parts and working really hard on my car...the clutch packed up twice and the starter motor once. Anyway, I eventually gave up on car setup near the end after visibly noticing the degredation of my rear tyres. I had found the best balance of the worst handling, there was no miracle fix. I was eventually fighting with drivers whom I never really see on track...luckily race day was a bit cooler than the practice day.
I started from 9th, and the grip was crap. I battled the 1st race, and bumped 2 guys into a spin :/ I really felt bad. The 1st one was on Ben Pienaar, he just braked really early into the chicane, and there was no way I could stop in time. I had a great battle with Gareth Jackson, and after maintaining my slides around the outside of him for 2 corners (and thus the inside line for the next corner) he just turned in on me and I had nowhere to go...I clipped his back wheel and he spun as well. They're good friends of mine, but they didn't seem very happy after the race. Ended up 9th.
The 2nd race was awesome. I was really having fun sliding the car everywhere, I was drifiting into corners, sliding around them, and then having power slides out of them. It was really an incredible experience, but I really did tame the beast. I had awesome fights with Courtney Steenveld and Ben, and some guys with new tyres started feeling the heat as their rear tyres also lost grip towards the end of the race. Some battles were like ballet, everyone just sliding in unison, it was so cool hehehe. I managed to control the car when others could not, and I ended up in 7th place after the race. That was really the best I could do, it was serious damage limitation.
I can throw my tyres away now. My rears have no tread left, and my fronts look shocking. Kyalami is next, and hopefully I can land a couple of sponsors so I can really push towards the front end. It was interesting watching some drivers practicing on old tyres, and then gaining 1.5-2sec by just putting on new rubber....
Bring on Kyalami!
Monday, March 3, 2008
Well the next race is upon me, and I have not really prepared that much mentally for it. I have been extremely busy in life, and it looks like the next few months will be quite intense. Racing will have to take a back seat? Hope not.
I phoned Dean, and chatted to him about my car. Seeing as I have no sponsors on board yet, even after some intensive searching, I will not have new tyres on my car. I am using the set that I purchased at the beginning of last season....the regulations have changed to a softer compound twice since then, so let's just say it's a disadvantage.
Dean found my chassis was a bit broken on the right side...one of the members was sheared straight off. I have no idea how that happened, I hadn't crashed or anything....who knows if my violent brake shuddering was the result of that, or if it caused it! We'll see at PE. There were no issues with my front suspension, so it could be my front shocks as well. So basically I'm heading to PE with a car thats gonna shake the living crap outa me under braking yet again. I really hope I don't lose too much time for this again, I already lose too much with the tyres.
Hey! I finally got a new rear shock, yay! That's one cool upgrade at least hehe.
PE will be a new circuit for me. It looks pretty decent, and I've heard good things from other drivers. Looks like it may not need 2nd gear, wouldn't that be awesome hahaha....I sooo hate that gear. I'm pretty keen on the weekend, and see what I can do under the very difficult circumstances. I feel that I'm slowly getting mentally prepared, I should get it peaked by Friday! I really have to concentrate on learning the track and being on the limit within 3 x 15min practice sessions, amidst sorting out the brake issues and setting up my rear shock. It's going to be difficult but I really want to continue my top5 finishes.
I shall keep pushing on in life, searching for sponsors (which is taking its toll), and concentrating on rocking the race weekend. Sigh, life is awesome ;)