So, Saturday was not the easiest of introductions into racing and there was high hopes that Sunday would be much improved. We were on track first up at 9am, and with the weather being clear but the temps being quite cold the entire field fitted up wets in preperation for a greasy track. This was a great decision and for the first time all weekend we could experience that wonderful little thing called GRIP!
Getting some confidence back was key, especially after a horrible first race. As Race 1 was considered a non-event due to it’s short running, DBSR1 was back on the grid in 12th position. This time the start was a lot better, the car hooked up and rocketed off the grid and managed to take 3 cars off the line. This was held until turn 1, when Bloomie came through on the inside and pushed us wide onto the ripple, and losing a bit of time. We managed to claw it back and we were firmly latched onto the back of Greg Smith until a soft error let Chris Stern through and dropped us back a few seconds. This was a lesson learned; be aggressive, not timid!
The racing continued along lie this for another lap until a lack of straight line pace due to some dodgy lead connections was exposed and Garry Walker came through heading into Dandenong Corner. This is where we would end up as a lap later the race was red flagged due to a car off in a dangerous position. This race was fantastic fun, and it was excellent to feel the car with some grip for once!
Race 3 was held later that day, and as the weather had cleared up a number of cars were moving to slicks. We were keeping our eye on what the factory teams were doing, and a few minutes before the race we decided slicks was the go. Thanks to the great help of the DBS pit crew we got the slicks on in time, and made our way to the dummy grid. Interstingly when we arrived we noticed that half the cars had made a switch back to wets due to the cold temperatures… had we made the right decision?
Once again we lined up on the grid, but this time the start wasn’t so crash hot. Too much revs and too cold a tyre equalled a whole bunch of wheel spin and a slow getaway. We were taken by a few cars heading into turn 1, and was taken by Graham Smith down the back straight after a hesitation on cold tyres into turn 5. The Tac Hac car also made it through, and the positions stayed like this until Graham had an issue with his rear wing and slowed. We stayed in this formation for another few laps, not too much exciting going on, and were manageing to put down some decent lap times. unfortunately not being quick enough off the mark on cold tyres had cost us, and despite the decent lap times we were unable to gain on the rest of the field. We were able to lap a fair bit quicker than those on wets as the 10 minute mark of the race passed as their tyres began to overheat, but the gap was too large already. Eventually we were forced to retire when the front splitter broke away coming down the back straight – not a fun experience as you’re about to turn in! Luckily it stayed attached to the car and we made it off safely.
All in all it was a great weekend. The results that we wanted weren’t there, but a lot of valuable lessons were learned.
1. Get your qualifying laps in early
2. Must be quick on cold tyres
3. No hesitation
It’s great to have our first race behind us, and to have the car back in (almost) one piece.
We’ll be looking for a better result at the next round – again at Sandown on July 21/22.
Big thanks to Jesse Cox, Ryan Dhondy and Dan Egan for the great snaps.