Round Three: Oilís well...10 June 2012
Sunday is Race day; Alex and Greggles have worked late into Saturday night to ensure that I have a gearbox that is both continent and functioning. As suspected, the link between the oil leak and the slipping clutches was causal... and theyíve fixed it.
Iím determined to put their hard work to good use and, as the red lights on the Start Line Gantry fade away, hook up the front slicks perfectly to blast off the line.
So successful is the launch that Iíve overtaken several cars (at least two, maybe more) by the time we reach turn two. Unsurprisingly, these boys want their places back.
During the early laps, I survive two separate assaults, taking no pleasure at all from the fact that one of the cars that hits # 24 from behind damages its own steering mechanism in the collision and is forced to retire on the spot. Well, maybe a bit.
About halfway through the race there is a third impact as a competitor turns, rather unneccessarily in my view, into the side of the Fuchs backed GTI during an overtake in the turn three braking zone. Nonetheless the position is won, the car is dented but unbowed and on we race. On until the flag drops after 20 minutes and we are 15th Ė a net gain of six places.
With such a large field, it feels good to be starting Race Two from a position half a dozen spots closer to the front than I had in Race One. Again I make a decent start, but so do the others and this time there is no chance to gain places; more bumping and boring as the Volkswagens slip and slide through the infield turns on barely warm slicks.
The pressure in mid-pack is relentless and although my car is running well and it feels like Iím on top of things from a driving point of view, Iím forced to cede two places during the first half of the race as hard-charging rivals get the better of our battles.
I also have to deal with yet another on-track clash. Again Iím shunted from behind and this time the impact causes real damage, disrupting the suspension alignment and leaving me holding a quarter turn of left lock on the steering wheel just to keep the car going straight. The other car involved limps back to the pits but fortunately I can finish the race. The downside is that now there is no chance to catch anyone in front of me and at the end Iím 17th.
Next, weíre off to Belgium for a tear-up around Europeís greatest race circuit. Now whereís that Flemish phrasebook?