This has got to be the hardest qualifying I have experienced at a race. Every time you hit the track, it is different, and it’s pure luck as to which heat you seeded into, and what you will be faced with. Heat 1 had a disadvantage yesterday due to very wet track conditions, and then the track conditions always improved for the rest of the fast heats. So yesterday I had a good day in heat 6. Today they started with heat 7, but they didn’t wet the track so much, and also, as they ran on a wet track last night, it began getting rough, so today it slowed down a lot as the broken surface began getting rougher during the day. This meant that the early heats, 7, 8, 9, that still had some decent drivers in them, had a clear advantage over the others, specially in the 1st round today. I mean would you otherwise expect Tomi Salonen to qualify 4th, and Benz Paphon 16th? I didn’t think so. I was in the very last heat today, so today was basically my throw out. Somehow a couple of guys in my heat managed one great round. They must have got everything just right, because the last heats were clearly at a disadvantage today in my opinion. It’s really mixed up in qualifying, and I expect some people to drop like a rock in their main, and others to dominate. Tomorrow is the last day of qualifying, and seeing as all the fast drivers should be in just about equal conditions mid round, I expect it to best reflect the true pace of the main contenders, unlike the first two days.
For a race like this, you need talent to do well, because you immediately have to adapt to the conditions. If you have read my blog at all, you will know that this is not an option for me. However, looking on the bright side, I have noticed that I have made some progress. Unlike other worlds, even though I have been nervous, and I have put pressure on myself, it hasn’t affected me negatively, and I have driven quite well in my own opinion. The only times I have crashed have been in my best round where I got 13th. My other rounds I have had some traffic, but I haven’t blown out, started shaking, or driven like an idiot. I have taken calculated risks, I have made some good overtaking manouvers, I have been on the edge, and almost crashed, I have been consistent, and I believe that in equal track conditions I would be quite a bit higher than what I am now. This is good for the finals. I think I have pace to make the semi finals, the way things are now, but to make the main, I need to find some more speed tomorrow. Let’s see how it goes!
Basically I’m clearly not good enough yet, but I have definitely made progress. In the last round I was driving OK, then Wheeler caught up to me, (he was leading) and somehow I stepped it up and stayed ahead of him for 2 or 3 laps, until a backmarker got in the way. I need to figure out why I’m not driving that way all the time. I shouldn’t be able to step it up like that. I need to learn how to place my car better on the track, and be more precise while carrying speed. I can do it, but only after 1500 laps. I need to be able to do it with less practice. If this race was on my home track, I would qualify top 10. I would be willing to bet big money on that. Somehow I need to get to where I can reach my full potential with less laps on the track. I don’t know if this will be possible before I am too old.
Counting 4 rounds, where 2 were definitely run at a disadvantage, and 1 with the wrong tyre choice, and one good one, I am 26th overall. This means that I still have a chance to even make the 1/4 finals if I have 2 perfect runs tomorrow. That’s what I will be going for. Go for it, either do well, or crash out.