Monday, August 18, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008

Kyalami - 02/08/2008 - Round 7

Coming from an exciting and very fast weekend at East London, the next round of the Pro Tour was just 3 weeks later at the other speedy circuit of Kyalami. My car seems to be in a somewhat developmental stage, with certain parts and modifications being attempted to try and get it to handle like the newer spec cars. This unfortunately did not gel perfectly at one race (or ideally between races), and I found myself battling with sorting out the handling yet again.

My current set of tyres seem to be well past their grippy range, but nevertheless the handling was atrocious. I was losing so much time surviving the oversteer in the fast corners, and getting frustrated with the understeer in the slow ones. Eventually I just settled on a setup where I’d lose the minimum amount of time everywhere, and I definitely was on the back foot. The first race was an extremely defensive one, where I battled the entire race just trying to keep Johan Gouws behind me for 8th position, and really suffered with understeer towards the end of the race.

The 2nd race was a bit more interesting, and it seemed like I was improving the handling a little with tyre pressures and trying something different on the warmup lap. It seemed to work for the race, as the grip seemed constant throughout. I strategically tailed Symm Grobler for a number of laps to slowly edge away from Gouws, who would only be a threat if Grobler and I started dueling. It was also the only chance I thought of keeping in touch with the guys ahead, which didn’t quite happen as Grobler just was not quick enough. I overtook him very late in the race for 7th position, as it was only really needed then. Again disappointingly out of the top5, which I really should have affirmed myself in by now, even though the final result was indeed 5th position after 2 drivers were disqualified for technical infringements.

After the race I had found out that my right front pushrod to the shock had completely snapped off, but it seemed like the car was handling better than it did all weekend! To say I was puzzled is an understatement! Hopefully for the next race at Phakisa I will be able to figure out this conundrum, together with the fact that I’ll be on a very overdue set of new rubber! Really looking forward to yet another mental challenge…