Very challenging this year, more so than previous years. This year it became very slippery on the black groove, but then it had patches of traction that unbalanced the car, and of course the carpet had traction. The layout is also strange, in the way that the timing and flow of the track seems off. It’s hard to get the right speed and be consistent, in both corners and jumps. You have to really go slow to go fast, and you have to be very precise. I like the track and look forward to this race every year, but at the same time, it can be oh so frustrating.
I basically ran my NEO17 Setup except for going to 2 degrees anti squat by running the 1 insert hole up in the C plate. I also ran 12500-20000-4000 diff oils. In practice and qualifying I ran 30/27.5 but for the mains I went up to 32.5/30wt. I felt like in the A main my car was still too soft, and I should have gone up more.
The great thing about the BLACK Edition is how consistent it has been track to track. I am making little, or no changes, and I am competitive on all tracks and in all conditions.
My car was good, except for being too soft and not landing well in the main. I felt like it could have been better transitioning from no grip to grip, but I honestly didn’t know what to do about that. It didn’t really become and issue until the mains, and that was too late to start guessing, I just needed to try and drive around it by being smooth on the throttle and steering. Tyres could have been one thing, Keller was on AKA catapult, a tyre I never run, and he said the same, except for this track! I ran Impact.
In qualifying Darren Bloomfield was the man to beat, but it was still close. He was in control though, Hazelnuts would call up to him “+2”, and in a while “+4”, and Darren just controlled it from there I think. I qualified 5th, but basically we were all within 5 seconds or so, and I felt like for the longer mains I would be more competitive, so I wasn’t worried.
In the main the time the cars were down on the line was unusually long, and Darren flamed out. That was a shame, because instead of what I expected to be the 4 of us going for the win, it left 3, Keller, Neumann and me. We did have quite a good race, eventually Keller pulled maybe a 10 second lead as I battled with Neumann. At some point I broke away, and we were just driving 1-2-3 with a decent gap between all of us. Then around halfway in the race I found a good groove and clicked off fast laps, and Keller flamed out in the pits. Andy Kramer from LRP got him started quickly, and he still maintained his lead, but then he made a few mistakes, and I got to within just under 2 seconds behind him, but I just couldn’t do anything with it. He drove away from me a bit, and I made a mistake. Then once again, in the final moments, just after the last pit stop, I again closed in, to about 3 seconds, but then for the last minutes was caught up with back markers and completely lost my rhythm. I don’t think I could have caught Keller without him making a mistake, but if I could have stayed close who knows!
For the most part I did OK, and I was once again trying to push more than in the past few years. This resulted in mistakes in qualifying, but it also resulted in the fastest lap in the main, and me catching the leader during the race. I wasn’t able to be as consistent as I wanted. I would have 5 great minutes, and then something would happen to where I lost my pace, and it would take a couple of laps to re group, and then I would find the rhythm again. It’s not easy this racing thing! Looking forward to the Euros Warm Up now!