|Posted by Nathan Ward on July 20, 2010 at 8:38 AM|
With qualifying at 9:15 and the race being at 18:00, this was the longest day I have ever had at Castle Combe. Qualifying was an eventful session as all drivers desperately tried to make themselves a gap to set a hot lap. On lap 6 a car had an incident at Tower corner and was stranded on the exit kerb. Yellow flags came out and although the session continued, very few drivers managed to improve their fastest lap while trying to negotiate the stricken car. My best time, 1:12.7 was good enough for 10th place on the grid.
After what felt like an eternity (8.5 hours) we were called to the formation area and then released onto the grid. After a quick warm up lap we were ready for a race start. The meeting was being run by the British Automobile Racing Club and this meant a slightly different format at the start. Instead of our usual light sequence, where 5 lights illuminate sequentially and then extinguish, we were using the BARC method of 5 on/5 off. This meant that some of the drivers started to accelerate when the 5 lights came on and the rest when the lights went out. Unfortunately, I had misjudged the biting point and my start was not as good as it should have been. I managed to make up some ground and was able to get to the first corner in 9th.
After a very intense series of opening laps, the pack settled down and I was running in the lead pack. First and second place had pulled ahead and were starting to break away until contact between them meant that both were unable to finish. I was running in 8th but within sight of 3rd. I managed to work my way up to 5th within 5 tenths of 3rd place when a back marker decided to make a nuisance of himself with only 1 lap to go. This put me back to 6th place where I finished. At the line 3rd to 7th positions were separated by only 0.86 seconds.
This was the closest but also most enjoyable race of the year so far. I am very glad that the car now looks and feels as good as it did before the accident.