Snetterton was a bit of a roller coaster weekend with some of the driver highs and lows of motor racing.
The circuit is nearly 3 miles long so we wouldn’t get many laps in our 15 minutes of qualifying. The session started slow but the track was dry so we knew what our benchmark time was. We consistently improved with every lap knocking off a few tenths of a second at a time but needed more to get pole position. With one lap remaining we gave it everything and attacked hard. We crossed the line, this time having found over half a second, giving us a front row start for race 1 on pole.
Our first race of the day presented itself with difficult conditions on a semi drying track. We knew it would be important to get a good start but if we pushed too hard, we could soon make a mistake allowing a stream of cars through. Unfortunately, my start off the line was not the fastest and by the first corner we had dropped into second place. However luck came our way towards the end of the second lap where the first place car had a mechanical failure putting it out of the race. As previously mentioned the track conditions were very greasy and soon it started to rain making things even more unpredictable. Every corner was a bit of an unknown and of course being in the lead, drivers behind were able to follow what we were doing, allowing them to avoid any parts of the track where the cars were struggling. We managed to hold on to the lead until what we thought was the penultimate lap when the second place driver started to put on the pressure. He had a few moments of trying to nose alongside but we were able to hold him off until coming through Coram and approaching Murrays onto the start finish straight when I made a mistake under braking and lost control of the car. In these slippery conditions from that moment I was just a passenger. First place had been thrown away and now we had to pray no one would hit the car. By some miracle, we managed to come out unscathed and continue with the race. Unfortunately, due to another car being in the gravel at Riches, the race director decided to end the race 1 lap early so we were unable to make up any places. To my immense frustration, we finished the race in 16th place.
This was going to be a tricky race and the pressure was on. Rain had started to fall heavily and due to the change in track surface, we were made to do 2 green flag laps. For anyone wanting to understand how difficult the conditions were during this race, all you had to do was watch how many cars lost control during these two green flag laps. At least 2 cars in front of us came off !
The opening lap and the first few corners in particular were going to be tough. With 15 cars ahead of us all producing spray, visibility was going to be an issue. The 5 seconds board was shown, lights came on and moments later we’re off. The plan for this race was to just stay out of trouble! As you can see in the snapshot below from our on board camera, visibility was non-existent. Coming into the first corner and avoiding cars around us, we found ourselves sandwiched between 3 or 4 cars ….which was far from ideal and all we could do was pray we’d get through unscathed. Prayers answered and safely through Riches we gained two places up into 14th. Driving through Montreal it was the same scenario, cars everywhere but we made it through without any contact. Another 5 places gained through the mid-section of the circuit and now Bentley Straight was our next chance to pick up a few more. Unfortunately the car immediately ahead of us lost control as he ran wide onto the very slippery painted curb. We braked hard and ricocheted off his rear quarter and it was all we could do to avoid T boning him and taking us both clean out of the race. This set us back but not enough to lose any positions. A small driver error however through Brundle and into Nelson saw us momentarily off the circuit with the loss of 2 places into P12. We found our rhythm again and by the time we were back onto the start finish straight starting our second lap, we were back into P9. A further 4 places were made up on the next lap to 5th place and one more on the one after to 4th which is where we finished our 2nd race clawing back some valuable points lost in race 1.
Ultimately luck was on our side for this race weekend because despite our disappointing finish in the first race, a couple of the drivers of the cars closest to us in the championship, one did not finish in the first race and the other did not race this weekend, which has left us in the position of retaining our lead in the championship. Cadwell Park is coming up this weekend and we're looking forward to some good racing and along with the help of the great guys in our support team at Tucker Motorsport, building on that lead