Mixed feelings from the weekend really. Really pleased that the team managed to get both cars home in all 3 races with no mechanical problems, that is testament to all the hours and hard work they have put in over the past few months to get these cars ready. We've had some issues getting all the proper bits over from SEAT spain and the cars were still having their new engines fitted as a result on Thursday of last week. To then get no problems over the race weekend was brilliant!
What a plonker at the start of the first race though- and what a time to have my first stall!! We were using a new hand brake to help with the slope of the grid at Brands and due to not having time for a shakedown didn't have time to try it out. Matt was worried about getting off the line and the irony was i was trying to say don't worry and give him advice then he got a flyer and i was left sitting there scrabbling for the ignition button!!....IDIOT!!
The handbrake is no excuse but it was pretty foreign to me and when i didn't use it in Race 2 and 3 i got a flyer!
The afternoon could've been so much better if it wasn't for getting fired off at clearways on the opening lap of race 2, i had got away with the leading group and think the car was capable of a top 6 finish which would then have put me right up the front for the 3rd race. I got punted into the gravel and had to drive all the way through and in turn be passed by the whole field, the car as i say felt far better than race 1 and i managed to come back through the field to 11th.
We've definately still got some work to do but we made some improvements over the weekend and most importantly i think we were operationally sound when it came to everyone doing their jobs well. We are on the back of the front pack, but we need to push to the middle of that front group.
GR Asia (ACE) have far more experiance of the car and it showed at Brands as Jones ran well all weekend- we need to find that to move forward and start scoring higher points, i have every confidence in the team that we can do that.
Hope anyone that went at the weekend had a great time!
Well its finally nearly here, my first full season since 2001 and i can't wait!!
Everyone in the team is raring to go and i can't wait to get on circuit on saturday morning. Its come round so quickly after taking the flag and winning the last round of 06, it'd be great to win the first of the year as well!! First things first though we've got a lot of work and setup's to run through in free practice on saturday morning- there's quite a few changes both me and Matt want to try, but we're both pretty confident we have a good baseline setup to work from.
No one ever really knows where they are in relation to others until the first qualy session. Even at media day there were teams running race distance set ups etc and weren't showing their true colours. I wasn't out during the best part of the day also due to my clutch going 5 minutes in- so i'm eager to see where we really stand also.
TD will also be an addition to the timesheets and they looked to be going well at brands on friday when my team mate was testing. Matt did a mornings running, i had my new engine being put in as i'd lifed out the old dog i'd been testing with so i was only out at Rockingham on Thursday. Matt and i ran well although the day was ruined by some very indecisive weather that meant it was neither wet nor dry, we had a nice balance in these conditions though with slicks on the front and wets on the rear (which can often be used in races as well).
I look forward to seeing you all at Brands, make sure you give us a cheer, we the underdogs looking to cause an upset!!
Well what a bugger that was! First i look like the michellin man in my borrowed suit that was 20 sizes to big for me (our team suits aren't ready yet), then when the test session finally arrives in the afternoon my clutch goes after half a lap!!
It was a problem we knew might occur as the clutch itself was already 'out lifed' due to there being none available in the country until next week. We managed a temporary fix and the boys did a great job to get me back out at all.
It was really frustrating to watch everyone recording lap after lap and my tally staying at the grand total of 1 on the monitors! We finally managed to get out with about an hour to go which is unfortunately when the sun had gone down and the circuits best time had passed- sods law!
We did manage to get on the pace though and although my best time would only put me 8th as it was up against the earlier times. We were matching the times of the Vauxhall SEAT and RAC who were still lapping that late in the day.
I think Vauxhall surprised a few people with Gio being rapid all day, (and with their very ugly front end!) Although you can't help feeling that SEAT were sandbagging slightly as they have before.
We won't really know where everyone is until about 4pm on the 31st after qualifying at Brands, so we'll see.
In the mean time we are trying to get out as much as possible in the next two weeks, but every other racing team in the country have the same idea so everywhere is rammo at the moment, so the quality of the running we'll get could be bad due to large amounts of cars being on circuit.
We'll see, i'll let you know of any developments!
Was out for our full days running as a team at Brands on friday. Unfortunately Matt had a clutch problem that couldn't be cured- it was sods law it was his car that was in the pits most of the day when its him that needs as much time on track as possible.
I met him for the first time and we got on well which is key in a team as you need to be able to work closely together all year to get the best from the car. The problem should be sorted in time for our next outing at Oulton on wednesday of this week.
With regard to my day, i was pretty pleased all in all. We found time throughout the day but also found a few negative changes to the car which we know NOT to use in the future as they had an adverse effect.
Its always difficult to get a comparison when there are no other teams out but I was really encouraged by the times we were managing to do by the end of the day and we were all pleased to see the car IS on the pace.
More than anything else though I'm pleased to now feel really at home in the car, i'm learning about its response to various set up changes and can't wait to get back in this week to continue development. My engineer, number 1 mechanic and i were also working well together- its something new for me to be looked towards with regard to setup, whereas before i've just been able to use matt's knowledge to set up the car now the guys are all looking at me to make the changes!!!
Hope everyone's cool and looking forward as much as i am to next weeks media launch. One shitty thing though that i've just learnt is we won't have our team suits delivered in time from Sparco as BTCC teams have taken a back seat to the F1 boys!!- RUBBISH!!