The weather is miserable. Some drivers prefer the wet, others the dry. I’m definitely a dry kind of guy. So for me, the qualifications were not easy, I was sliding all over the place as soon as I was pushing a little. A kiss on the wall closed my left wing mirror…I managed 12th.
The sun comes out. I always smile when I see the sun. We put the semi-slick tyres on, stiffened the car, I was ready to roll.
Race 1, we get to our grid, my heart is pumping.
First race of the season. I speak to myself once more. 5 seconds to go seem like an eternity! AND OFF WE GO!!!
22 cars piling up in the 1st corner. Heightened senses as I concentrate on my line, my strategy, my mirrors, my gears, my opportunities, my risks… I nick 3 places taking the fast flowing left hander called Cascades with cars centimetres from me, all around me.
I am already 9th… “Come on, settle down Karim!” I hear myself shout as I hit full throttle on the straight reaching over 103mph.
At the 5th corner, I offer a dummy on the left to Ben Low and attack his right… I’m 8th…as I overtake I know I have to brake hard to make the chicane. “Breathe! Relax! Focus! You got this one.” The adrenalyne is pumping like mad. I shout my mantras: “come on!’.
One lap later, we are back to Old Hall, a former GT5 driver challenges me. I give him room and chose the faster racing line rather then defend. He takes the bate and sneaks on my inside…We are driving too fast, is he going to end on the wall? He overtakes me and goes off track! That’s an illegal move, but respect to the guy: he did not slow down and makes it back on the tarmac. I haven’t checked but it looks like he has balls of steel.
David Holloway is still breathing down my neck for the second lap running! He makes his move at Lodge. I give him the space to focus on the longer faster racing line. This corner, Lodge, is the most difficult out of the whole citcuit. For starters it’s a BLIND corner, then to add a bit of spice, the radius decreases and to finish it off, the camber goes from positive to strong negative with no run off. In short, all the laws of physics are converging to throw you off track. His overtaking move is also illegal but he has to choose between slowing down or bracing for impact. This time my strategy has worked, I overtake him straight back with my a higher momentum.
But Wager comes out of nowhere down Cascades! Oh No… There was an easy defence here! I’m back to 10th.
I drove defensively as David is faster then me, still on my tail. I risk it all, take the fast line on the edge, I loose grip and overcook it… 2 tyres on the grass; sweating like a monkey in a sauna I manage it back on the black stuff. David waives me goodbye.
I realise why I went off, no the track is not greasy. I am the one loosing grip coming out of corners…my tyres are overheating; it’s not good news. You need confidence in your equipment, knowledge of where the limit is and courage to push it. It plays on my mind, this added unwelcome variable will not disappear. Coming out of the next corners, I had to catch my car as it was sliding…I am not gonna make up anymore places now.
I finish 12th, where I started: Boomerang.
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