Things were not looking great coming into this race. My car was not up to standard, and there just isn't enough money to work on these things.
Before things got underway, I had a long chat to my race mechanic about my lack of power. There's a lot that needs to be worked on to get my engine to similar standard as front-running guys :( It will cost a hell of a lot of money, so this is never going to happen anytime soon without sponsors.
The weather? Cape Town was damn cold and miserable - all weekend. I drove around the 1st session in cruise control, just learning the track and seeing where I should push and what I should avoid. It was really bumpy in places, and quite tricky around the back section. The back straight is pretty fast, we were getting up to 210kph there. When the 2nd session started, I had my plan set out on how to tackle the track...and then my 4th gear stripped. I don't have a spare gearbox, so it was quite a miracle that I found someone who lent me their's, and it was a mission and a half to fit it to my car. I missed the remaining sessions and just about made it for qualifying. The clutch wasn't set up right, and it was slipping so much! I came into the pits, Dean set it as best he could, and then I went out again...but I didn't get a lap in as the session was red flagged. I was starting from the back of the grid :(
The warmup session the next day was damp...so I only knew how to really drive the track in wet conditions with barely any dry running!!!! The 1st race started off really weirdly. I started 16th out of 15drivers. Yeah. Alan Eustice decided to pull into my pitbox at the last second, and I was stuck behind him. What's worse was when the lights went out, he didn't move. Horrid. My next laps went well, I was passing guys and moving up fast..and then my clutch was slipping a bit. I was trying to learn the track as well, and almost had a couple of offs. It was a mad struggle and was able to just finish 8th.
The 2nd race was the craziest shit I've ever been involved in!! The first few laps were so intense, I think it was 6cars battling it out with quite stupid aggression. This was all caused by Trevor Bland who had a problem with his rev limiter, and he defended his position quite dangerously against me and some other drivers. This allowed a group to bunch up, and all hell broke loose. I thought I was going to crash in every corner....I even had to force myself to push going into a 4car squeeze at the last corner under yellow flag conditions!! Everyone was gunning for the corner and nobody backed off for anything. It was ridiculous, we were lapping something like 4sec a lap slower than what we could do.
It started to rain halfway through the race :) Things calmed right down as soon as this happened. I think there was a 3car smash somewhere, and people sliding everywhere. I managed to pull away and start gaining lost ground in the rain...but there were too few laps :( It was pretty damn good fun driving in the rain though, it's a shame I lost so much time in the 1st half of the race! I ended up 5th...
And so ended a pretty difficult and disappointing weekend...I really wish I had more time on the track, my racing lines felt horrendous and it was a struggle to keep pace with a slipping clutch. The next couple races are pretty close to each other, heading to Zwartkops first. I now have a gearbox on my long list of things to fix, so it's not looking too great. I do have long-term direction though, and need to start getting my car up to speed slowly but surely...