It’s been a while since my last blog, since then we have raced at Snetterton and Spa two very contrasting circuits and in some ways two contrasting sets of results!
Snetterton is always a circuit I have gone well at and I really love it there! We turned up with no testing what so ever to go straight into a damp qualifying which levelled us out against anyone who had tested the day before. As the circuit was getting drier and drier the times were tumbling and I knew that the fastest times would come at the end of the session, I tried to keep my tires as cool as possible until the final few mins where I put in my fastest 2 laps, 1 with traffic good enough for P2 and 1 without good enough for P3 in the first race. It was a shame as the race 2 pole was on the cards if not for the traffic, however that’s racing and you get on and deal with it!
Starting 3rd for the 1st race everyone made an extremely even start which meant formation flying into the first corner, however the slightest of touches between Burns and multiple champion returnee Mark Davies caused Burns to spin promoting me to 2nd. From then it was a very close battle between the top 5, I managed to sneak underneath Davies into the infield hairpin to take the lead and then defended to the flag to take my 2nd win of the year! A fantastic start to the weekend.
Starting 2nd for the 2nd race I slotted into 2nd off the start but then pounced on cold tires to take the lead at Agostini hairpin on cold tires on the first lap. I only briefly lost the lead but then forced the leader into a mistake to retake the lead and hold on to the end to take my 2nd win of the weekend, even better!
I started the last race of the day from pole where again an even launch saw me lead into the first corner and lead for the first 2 laps until when defending my position into the Agostini hairpin I received a massive shunt from behind sending me to the inside of the circuit spinning. I dropped to 13th but was able to recover to 9th however the damage affected my straight-line speed around the fast Snetterton circuit. Fortunately the culprit for firing me off was awarded the correct penalties however it does sour a great weekend for the NDS SV21 team! Even with the misfortune I had climbed from 4th to 2nd in the championship which was a great result!
In between Snetterton and Spa I took part in 2 sprint distance Triathlons in Corby and Thame which consist of a 400m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run, I managed to finish 27th from 250 entrants and in Thame 26th out of 400 entrants with a 7min swim, 33min cycle and a 22min run in the hot conditions!
Headed to Spa I was confident that the track would suit me and we would go well there. To keep the budget low we decided to miss the first practice session as that would be another days labour for the team so we arrived for Spa as the 1st session was out, giving us time to set up for the 2nd session. The 2nd session was full of red flags making it hard to learn the track with only 3 laps available to me with such a fast track with sweeping corners the track time is needed to build the confidence!
After qualifying we were within a second of pole over the 2min50 lap so we were happy with that qualifying P5 and P6 for the first 2 races.
The first race didn’t start so well with a very quick turn around on the lights which meant I dropped to 8th, however it all kicked off up Eau Rouge with cars spinning everywhere meaning I had to take avoiding action and came out 4th because of it! The pack had split due to the crashes so I had some work to do to catch back up! Jake Giddings and I worked together to catch up with Brad Bailey and after being passed, I re passed both cars towards the end of the lap to gain 3rd place. Going up through Eau Rouge I made a small mistake over the crest which put the car into a tank slapper which I couldn’t control and I went backwards hard into the tire wall… race over.
Having flat spotted all 4 tires, we had to nominate old ones to put back on again for the rest of the meeting which put us on the back foot starting P6 in the 2nd race. The team did a great job to repair the car, a smashed screen and some patching up of the body was needed to get me out for the 2nd race.
It was very close throughout the first half of the 2nd race, with 4 cars battling very hard over 2nd place! The slipstream was a major factor in the battles which meant our entire race craft was put to the test. Half way through the race when challenging Davenport into the first corner he just checked up after almost T-Boning Bailey as he swept through the hairpin meaning I just nudged the Reflex racing drivers car snapping my own bonnet pins meaning the bonnet now raised down the straights impeding my vision and due to the extra drag leaving me a sitting duck in a straight line! I fought one of my best races to cling onto 5th place in the UK field by 100th of a second by the line, not bad damage limitation however a shame that it happened in the first place!
For the 3rd and final race of the weekend I was determined to finish this so far dismal weekend on a high! Starting 6th I managed to get up into 4th by Eau Rouge and when Bailey spun slotted into 3rd. I was clearly quickest on cold tires and quickly caught the leading duo. I towed past Basey-Fisher quite easily and let a charging Giddings past to tow with him so that we didn’t squabble and loose time to the leader and be re caught by Basey-Fisher. From then on the gaps spread out and I bought the car home 3rd which was a great result to finish on and a fantastic feeling to stand on the podium at Spa Francorchamps!
With Burns’ perfect weekend I dropped to 3rd in the championship and have no pressure on me for the final 6 races so I will be going for race wins and looking to secure a top 3 place in the championship in my first year!
A massive thanks to all the team and supporters from the 2 meetings, a massive thanks to Nationwide Driver Supply for their continued support this year! I’m looking forward to Brands, if you’re there come say hello!
David “Bouncing Back“ Pittard