Tony checks my tire pressures before the race.
|Qualification times from Sunday|
And so to the race. Qualifying had been at midday, the race was at 5pm, and it was funny to watch us all in the afternoon - every one was nervous and trying to relax in the glorious afternoon sun we had. Every now and again someone would get up, stretch and wander over to their car - check something, then wander back and sit down again. As the time approached we all got into our cars and formed up in the pitlane in order. Time was tight here and slight confusion led to not everyone being in the right place on the grid, but all was ok in the end. We followed a safety car around for one warm up lap - great view of the 18 cars in front of me weaving along the Kemel Straight trying to get some heat into the tires ( I had the bullet cam on whenever I was on track)
And then suddenly we were lined up in the pitlane, ready to be led around the track by the safety car.
After one lap we formed up in order on the F1 grid, ready to be waved off on our rolling start.
There I am , just coming round the corner and looking for my slot.
A lot of effort had gone into deciding the safest way to start the race - for many it was their first one.
A rolling start and then no overtaking until the Kemel Straight worked very well - far safer than us all piling into La Source together.
And we are off!
Entrance to La Source.
The race itself was great fun. The predicted happened and as soon as we reached Kemel Straight the more powerful car behind me came past and then sort of held me up in the twisty bits for the rest of the lap. This was the pattern of the race really, and I don't think I actually passed anyone. Some of the much faster cars that had been in the wrong place on the grid obviously came past. One of the danger parts of such an event is braking into the back of the car infront. One of my best areas on the lap had been very late braking at the end of Kemmel Straight and into the Bus Stop chicane, but in the race itself it was just too risky doing this when there was a car 2 ft from my nose. They would usually brake far earlier then I wanted too, and I was not prepared to dive down the inside - in fact this was forbidden in the briefing anyway, and no one risked this manoeuvre - like I said, safety was a priority for everyone in what was supposed to be a fun amateur event.
Exiting La Source with Tessa watching. Great place to watch here as you are really close to the cars, and could almost lean out and touch them!
And off down towards Eau Rouge.
The 25 minute race flew by, and was in fact red flagged about one lap from the end. Unfortunately one of the very powerful fast cars - a 280 PS VM with a supercharged 2l Ford engine - had an incident somewhere just after Pouhon. The car suffered frontal damage but the driver was fine (having a pee against the Armco as I passed him anyway!) The only other incident was a racecar that lost his rear wing into the bustop.
And again - suddenly it was over! A red flag about one lap from the end finished the race, and after a very slow lap under red flags, it was back into the pits for the last time.
We had to park in our own Parc Ferme behind the pit garages until the results were confirmed.
The car had done brilliantly and survived - I had had fun, what more could we ask for?!