Snetterton’s unpredictability was in full swing. Heavy rain hours before qualifying, left me and the team wondering why we even bother planning for the weather!
A few laps into qualifying, I backed off, having done a decent time to put me P1. Plus the rain eased off... so the track was only going to get faster.
I caught up to a group of AM class cars which ran the risk of interfering with my next attempt at a faster lap so sought some clear track, weaving to maintain tyre temperature + pressure. I knew I had two laps left to get another competitive time in (at this point I had dropped down to P2).
My first of the two laps were faster than my previous attempt but still left me P2 by mere thousandths of a second.
I had one last lap to make something happen.
Just a few corners later, I found myself crossing the timing line after going over a second faster than P2 at the time, putting me P1 by 1.2 seconds!
So, race 1 was dry, full slicks all round. Still a bit greasy on some areas of the track so we kept the wet set-up for the handling of the car and hoped the slicks would do their part in the dry bits. After a great start we managed to pull a slight gap, however the race was promptly red flagged due to a sizable accident into turn one from the AM class involving my teammate, who also did a great job to put it on pole (he was ok, just very disappointed).
The full race restart was our downfall. The track had fully dried and the wet set-up wasn’t working.
On jostling for 1st with P2 for a couple laps I went for a move round the outside, lost grip, and had to bail out of the corner entirely to prevent a head on collision with the tyre barrier, putting me onto the still wet grass. At this point the brake and steering inputs were not working and I eventually made side-on contact with the barrier on the exit of the corner which spun me round.
Finishing was my priority and we did it! (Giving me some points for the race at least).
Motorsport is all about margins. If the track had been a 'bit drier', tyres a 'bit warmer', weather a 'bit sunnier', I might have made the move stick and the day could have ended differently.
I saw the gap, made a split-second choice, and went for it, only this time it didn’t work out.
I always believe that in racing, if you’re not willing to put yourself and the car on the line for a win, then the sport's not for you and as Ayrton Senna famously said “If you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver.”
I guess there are many positives to take away and we're looking forward to tomorrow - starting from the back of the grid!