Hello everybody and welcome back to my blog! And YES, I have returned from Portimao, Portugal!
In the practices and Qualy, there are two groups that are randomized and selected for a driver (because there are so many people)
For the heats, there are four groups A, B, C, D which all race one another (I was C) and the points scored place you in the according spot for the pre-final.
Here’s the run-down of what happened
During the days of practice before the Qualy I was moderately quick in the 15th-20th spot but had the potential in the top 10! I found it to be especially tricky adapting to the DD2 driving style that needed to be perfect in order to come in the top five. But nonetheless, I felt that I had a chance!
The trick that almost everyone knew by now is that the slipstream is vital and can cost you tens of places time wise. So going out for Qualy I had one goal, to get behind someone who wasn’t too far (that I was out of the slipstream) but wasn’t too close (to slow me down).
Warming up myself, the tires, and the engine, I was ready for a rabbit. By the third lap, I was already pushing, but classic Lucas, I was still not warmed up.
Second to last lap, I had someone ahead of me but I wasn’t in the slipstream. I knew that this would probably be my last chance so I put myself together and put out the best lap I could, placing me in 40th position overall, also around the same place my teammates Jakob and Abdullah finished. Undefeated by this news, Luka and I knew the only way to go next is forward.
Heat 1 – Heading into Heat one I felt no stress, only a goal, a goal to finish in the top 15s (starting 20th every time). I noticed that it wasn’t a bad plan to head around the outside in past races I watched, so I did the same and gained 5 places by the first sector. But because of the gap ahead of me, I focused on the 10 karts trailing behind me and eventually got done by all of them by the end of the race. You could say I was eaten and spit out on the other side.
The only thing I regret about the race was the fact that I didn’t push enough in the beginning, thinking that the gap ahead of me was too big and that there was no use. But by the end it was the same, meaning that if I had pushed and not worried about the people behind me I would have caught them.
Heat 2 – In the second race I did the same, driving around the outside of 5 ahead of me, but unlike last time I stayed with the pack ahead of me and pulled away from the one behind me, resulting in me maintaining my position for the entirety of the race.
Heat 3 – At the time of the third race everyone was already thinking about the pre-final but I was told that this is what mattered and that the pre-final comes after I do my job here.
Fully concentrated the lights went off and again I headed on the outside, where at first it didn’t help but for the 5th corner I did it yet again and gained 3 places. Still concentrated on those ahead I caught up to them, but only by the second to last lap. When they started defending and scrapping I starting to worry about those behind me catching up and forgot the task at hand which was to move up. This then placed me in a bad position for a person behind me to go up the inside. Already halfway through the corner he still hadn’t slowed down enough and ran into my front tyre, bending the steering column and bogging me down. By the time I got back up to speed I had lost 7 places, then another the next lap (last lap).
At this point, I was pretty disappointed with my own and other’s driving but knew that blaming other’s wasn’t going to help anybody. So I told myself everything’s fine and that I can do much better tomorrow.
By the next day I was pumped to go out, potentially for the final race of the grand finals. But I wasn’t worried I knew what needed to be done to be in the Finals. After Luka and I went over mistakes and things I could improve on, we calculated that I needed to finish within the top 13 to go through to the Finals. That meant that I had to make up 7 positions which seemed like a lot but could be done.
By the time the green flag went and the formation lap started, absolutely everything I could think on went from my head and I was in the zone.
As the lights turned off and each person stomped on their gas pedal, I headed, again, towards the outside but didn’t see potential and stuck behind my teammate Abdullah and made up 2 positions, but by the 5th corner everyone was slowing, stuck in the never-ending pack, so I slung the kart around the outside of 7 other karts and put myself in 11th, knowing that I would go through to the finals. Unlike before I wasn’t about to make the same mistake, so I stayed focused on those ahead and tried to stick with them as long as I could but I just didn’t have the pace I wanted. Eventually, the pack behind me containing my teammate caught up and I was resorted to defend against them. I had a great feeling because there were only 2 laps left and I was holding off fine so far… but on the fifth corner as I went to defend the person behind me went wide, and we made the slightest contact which managed to spin me (due to the momentum) off the circuit. That’s it I thought as 15 karts passed me as I struggled to get her going again. All that work for nothing, I’m out of the final, I was so close. That was all I managed to think of once I was running again. But at that moment a new thought entered my mind and interrupted the others, I won’t go down in vain or without a fight. So I pushed the last two laps catching the person ahead of me until I drove over the finish line, all the adrenaline leaving me.
After all of the “Great Drive, You almost had it!, You were so fast but unlucky” comments I didn’t feel so bad after all because both me and Luka knew that although I got unlucky that day, I still finished the race with my head down despite all that had happened.
Because that’s what racings all about!