Heavy rain and Pole position
I was invited by the world champions team, Target Competition for the last two race weekends in TCR Germany, to drive the Seat Leon TCR. It was my first time in the Seat, but I knew that I would like it because it is very similar to the Audi. The biggest difference is that it has no ABS, a little more power and a little more weight. You can also choose between driving with DSG like I have in the Audi or with 60kg extra and a sequential gearbox. In my Seat I had the sequential gearbox and that makes that the start sequence is totally different. The first of the last two weekends are over and I am leaving Zandvoort with mixed up feelings after my shortest racing weekend ever.
The weekend started of with a track walk around the track and we were back in Zandvoort. I was very happy that the race was at Zandvoort because I had just been here with Audi and I really liked the track. It gave me some extra self confidence for the practice.
As I sat the first time in the car I tried to understand how the clutch works together with the handbrake which is needed to make a really good start for the race. This was something completely new for me and I thought it didn’t look to hard.
I went out with the car and just tried to get used to the new gearbox, it was shifting gears very quickly and the sequential gearbox was helping a lot in the brakings which was new for me as well. Instead of waiting for the electronics and adapting to the DSG you could just shift as you want and when you want. I did get really comfortable in the car directly and tried to do some good laps. I went a bit to fast and touched the dirt with my left front wheel, I pressed the brakes as hard as I could to get the car to stop as quickly as possible, but instead I locked up the braked because lack of the ABS. A lesson I wouldn’t forget, “this car doesn’t have the ABS”. Only did 2 full laps in the car which wasn’t to good.
It was just 1 hour after the first practice even if my mechanics did a really good job it was impossible to get the car back into one piece also because we didn’t have some of the parts that broke. So without any practice 2 it was just to get ready for the qualifying. Worried about how to start the car was something I had to forget and focus on the speed.
TCR has a slightly different format in the qualifying than Audi has. Instead of having one long 30 minutes it is divided into two different ones Q1 and Q2. In the Q1 you have to get into the top 12 to qualify into Q2. When you are in Q2 your fastest time will decide where you start in both Race 1 and Race 2. The top 10 in Q2 will have a reversed order, which means that if you managed to get P10 you will start P10 in race and and P1 in the race 2.
I was really stoked to get back into the car and show both my team and everyone else that I am better than what I showed in practice. I managed to get into the top12 which meant I was also in the Q2. There I managed to qualify into top 10 meaning that I would start in Pole position in the second race.
Starting P10 was on good feeling for doing such a few laps and I believed that this could be an amazing race. I had a great feeling and when the lights were starting to go red one by one I was focused. I failed the start and stalled the car and so did the car next to me, I was lucky and didn’t get hit in the start but the car next to me wasn’t as lucky. It was direct safety car and after 4 laps they red flagged the race. We had a restart behind safety car and 3 laps until checkered flag. Finished P15 really disappointed.
I was super excited to start in Pole position and this time I had practiced all night in my mind how to start with the car. I ensured my self that I knew how to do it. It was raining, and raining and the sky was opening it self. One of the other support classes that was driving just before us did 2 laps behind the safety car before they red flagged it and they didn’t start again. Then it was time for us and it was still heavy rain, we had 3 extra formation laps before they decided that we do a normal start. The race started and I got away, I lost 2 positions in the start but was fighting to hold the third position. After half of the lap I got aquaplaning with one other car and we went straight off. Safety car went out. Green flag and then 1 corner and safety car again. They did a total of 2 laps if you count in the half lap we did before I got aquaplaning.
In total I did 5 laps in practice, a full qualifying and a totalt of 3,5 green laps in both race 1&2. I was happy with my qualifying but both the race and practice was shit. I will bring the good parts and forget the bad and get ready to get back into the Audi TT for Nurburgring.