Round 3 of the Pro Tour saw yet another visit to Kyalami. I enjoy this circuit, but I'm just too slow for whatever reason hehe. Reasons I have come to see after this weekend....
New tyres were great! Thanks to Symplexity again, the car really felt like a new beast. I could brake so much later (and steadier) than before, and just chuck the car into the corners. I struggled quite a bit with understeer in the slow stuff though, it was costing me a lot of time. Eventually I settled on a decent setup, but still was losing so much time in the slow corners. I felt it was okay since with that balance I was pretty strong in the fast stuff. It looked like a top5 was a realistic goal (especially since the champ leader Alan Holm wasn't around) but it proved to be a mad struggle.
Qualifying went okay. We only got a lap or so of dry running before it started raining :) Oh my word...RAIN IS AWESOME!!! The car has no grip at all....so freakn cooool!! :D It's just so easy to lose the car on the brakes...you try and apply a little more than a feather's pressure on the brake pedal, and its a lockup and aquaplaning for a few seconds!! Crazy...oh the car doesnt turn either, and if you change down to 2nd gear you will probably spin the car. I wish qualifying had been wet from the start; my laptimes in the rain seemed decent enough to be challenge the front pack. I was sitting 5th in those dry laps.
The 1st race went okay, considering the amount of time I was losing down the straights. I was getting so frustrated everytime I came out the last corner...I would be right on someone's tail, and after the pit straight I wouldn't even be close enough for a hint of slipstream. It was awful. I drove through that depressing feeling, lined Trevor Bland up for an overtake on the last lap (since I knew my engine wasn't up for defending) and managed to nail him on the last corner of the last lap. But then he just drove clean past me over the finish line. I was so angry. This engine is costing me laptime and positions, even after I do the hard work.
The 2nd race started off well. Despite the lack of power, I was battling in the pack for 3rd position. I knew it would take some real devious and cunning arts to manage to beat that pack when their engines were so much more powerful...and Kyalami is just made up of superfast stuff. And then God decided to be funny about the situation and my accelerator stuck open. Great. This was only scary at first, since I found out it was stuck when I got to Sunset corner (turn4) which is taken almost flat out on the limit. This "almost flat out" corner means that you can't take it flat, which is what my car decided it was going to try to do hahaha...after I got through that alive, it was just annoying.
Controlling the car was hard, I didn't have the confidence to fight wheel-to-wheel with guys, was very dangerous. Braking and accelerating at the same time isn't very fast, and the mad revs everytime I pushed the clutch in to change gear was worrying for my engine...I should have really been able to adapt much quicker to the situation and probably maintained 5th position. The car was just unpredictable though, towards the end of the race the throttle seemed to behave itself at times, and other times not. Battling hard and heading out the last corner, I managed to miss 3rd gear somehow...and lost 6th position over the finish line. I was ready to drive off a cliff, I was so angry yet again, but my own pathetic newbie mistake!!! That is definitely not happening again.
So it was a very disappointing and frustrating weekend for me. The lack of power is really hurting my chances at good results now, and I'm sad to report back a 6th and 7th. Working on the engine is going to take quite some finance, so the need for sponsors has never felt so great. Here's hoping for a miracle...