I absolutely love going to Thruxton, I'm not really sure why but there's not many pre season test days, so the first time we get to go there is on the race weekend. I think a summary of the weekend is pretty simple – wet, from the second I stepped off the plane on Thursday morning it was raining and now that I'm home it's raining over here. I can't escape a constant state of dampness!
My weekend started on Saturday morning in free practise one, it was really a case of trying to find out where the grip around Thruxton and learning the car in the wet. Both of these were a first time so plenty of track time was needed in free practise one. Unfortunately this wasn't to be the case, the clutch decided to pack up so I had to sit out the latter part of the session. In between the two sessions the engine and gear box had to come out to repair the clutch and with literally ten minutes more work to do before going out in free practise two a pipe broke within the gear box which meant I had to sit out free practise two. It was a shame but to be honest I felt sorrier for the team who had to take out the engine for a second time within two hours!
Qualifying was going to be a tricky one for me and to be honest I didn't really know what to expect after missing most of the days free practises. The rain had stopped by this stage so it was a drying track this time out. Straight away the car felt quick and this was the first time I thought a really good result could be on the cards. Unfortunately a red flag at the most inconvenient time possible meant my session was cut short but still to come away with 7th was a great achievement considering the morning I had.
Race day the weather went back to its normal trick and lashed rain all morning! Race one I finished 7th, honestly I know people say they can't see because of the spray sometimes but this was like nothing I have ever experienced before! Next time it's lashing rain try cruising down the motorway behind a train of arctic lorries with your wipers off and that's what it was like the whole way through it!
Race 2 was another strong finish in 8th, again this race was dominated by the lack of vision. The spray was so bad that as soon as you got onto the back of the car ahead you would start making mistakes which were only down to not being able to see properly!
For race three we drew 2nd on the reverse grid which was an unbelievable feeling! The track was slowly drying and for quiet sometime it was forecasted to be the only dry race of the day. Basically we had a chance of doing unbelievably well but it was going to be a risk. I sat on the grid and thought out loud to my engineer about what we should do. The Hondas had the legs on everyone in full wet trim so to try and get one over on them we had to take the risk. On the green flag lap the sun started to peak through the clouds and I was thinking happy days while I had slicks on the front of my car! But unfortunately this was short lived, literally as soon as the race started the heavens opened and with that my heart sank..
It was a real shame but I guess in times were its 50/50 it's hard not to go for the glory option, the reason why everyone's sat on the grid is the want and desire to do well so yes in hindsight wets were the better option but if that rain shower held off it could've went down as one of the best tyre decisions ever!