Risk of catching fire

We go out for our green lap and I don’t feel a stranger in my car. I haven’t sat in it since the last race but now my whole focus in on the track. Learn it, learn it quick Karim! Forget the qualifications, imagine you are in a test day. Don’t push but feel the car. Today is another huge grid. With 33 competitors eager to finish the season on a high.

My objective: survival…and not be last!

Within the first laps, my engine starts smoking…badly. There is a red flag and we gather in the pits. My mechanic has a look under the bonnet and calls the Marshall’s to help push the car aside. I risk catching fire, there is oil all over the burning hot engine…The qualifications are over for me. No track time for me once again.

Kevin, my mechanic, tells me that he has not opened the oil cap and I believe him; he is not the type of guy to brush his responsibilities under the carpet. Has someone tampered with my car or is a curse following me; whatever it is they will not be able to get rid of me that easily!

Still, I’m annoyed. I get to my truck and go online to check whether I will race later on. I need a minimum of 3 full laps to qualify.

img 0369 - Risk of catching fire
I am in!!! 3 laps only but that’s enough. 22nd out of 33…it’s not that bad, considering I had 8 minutes of track time in Donington Park.

Living on a knife’s edge

Donington is our final race. Everyone is going to push a bit more so I decide to prepare well and book some track and test days with an instructor. Nothing will be left to chance.

img 0368 1 - Living on a knife’s edgeThen the first bad news falls, my instructor cancels on me…and my mechanic follows. Not to worry I shall be a big boy and decide to go on my own.

My trackdays are booked and I look forward to them.

Now work is calling on my door and the trackdays disappear one after the other. I have one left and like in the movies as I am putting my overnight bag in the car, ready to go, I get an email. I am needed tomorrow (Friday eight days ago), a calendar confusion with a potential customer eliminates my last chance of getting some much needed tracktime.

My race car gets back into the parking spot, while I get my suit on. Unfortunately the friendly valet forgets to switch the engine completely off.

Yesterday afternoon was all about trying to get the car to start, so that I don’t end up at the track not being able to race.

This morning I am going to qualify while discovering the track! It’s technical, with positive and negative cambers, fast flowing downhill turns and greasy in hairpins. My competitors are laughing at my lack of preparation. But this is a hobby not a profession for me; therefore customers will always come first.

I will not let it phase me…I will race today, I will give it my all.

I look on the bright side; and catch the glitter of a knife’s edge shining in the corner of my eye.

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