Underwhelming at Laguna Seca

Laguna Seca: I did alright here last season. Had a race win and some other good results. What will a lack of practice bring? Mixed results, that's what - and a near win.
November 14 2012

By the time the weekend rolled around I'd managed to lower my PB at Laguna Seca by a few 10's on last year, the same with my Optimal.  I started with a PB of 1:19.8 and a opt of 1:19.1.  I went racing on Friday night, without qualifying, with a 1:19.6 PB and a 1:18.9 optimal.  I hadn't planned on racing but Andrew was on and was going to race, and I was going fast enough.  

I hadn't yet qualified.  That meant I started 9th (from 13 I think, with Andrew second last).  I made it up to 5th by the 2nd lap but was stuck behind 4th. Right behind. He was ranked #11 so I was cautious about overtaking, and he was all over the road, especially through the corkscrew, where I was significantly faster.  Overtaking thorugh the corkscrew is not the brightest idea. The problem then was that he was too fast elsewhere for me to mount a safe pass.  So I sat back.  

He slipped again through the corkscrew and I slowed right down to avoid.  The guy behind me was more opportunist and took the chance to pass me, and got through.  I was more just wanting to get to the end with no incidents.  I didn't.  

What I did do was spin once.  It was a half spin, so not too bad.  Worse though, I got pinged twice through the corkscrew for "corner cutting" , which cost me about 3 seconds each time.  

Meanwhile the leading trio were bolting. Had I qualified I'd have been third on the grid, and probably right behind the leaders most the way.  Nathan Growden was third with a 1:20.5... The pole sitter, Tommy Nilsson was on a 1:18.6 so I posed no threat to him, with 2nd place on a 1:19.1

Andrew fared less well, coming undone about mid race and retiring.  



Race 2, On Saturday afternoon and I got a qualifying time in.  Not my best time, but a 1:19.998 was at least under 1:20.  It put me 2nd on the grid, by 0.009 seconds!  Off the line we were closely matched and quickly pulled a gap back to 3rd place.  I was in hot pursuit when on lap 4 he overcooked it through the corkscrew and run off to the right.  Richard Felton2 lost time but didn't drop back to 3rd place.  For me it was enough opportunity to take 1st and drive off into a 6 second lead.

To his credit Richard caught back up over the course of about 6 laps and we diced it out with a sub 1 second gap for a few laps, until on lap 14 my right rear clipped the curb on the 2nd last corner and I slid.  Now it was Richards turn to get better drive out of the corner he made a pass before the last corner.  I kept in hot pursuit spending the remaining laps never dropping back more than 0.5 from his tail.  We crossed the line 0.4 seconds apart.  

Great race!




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