Hi everyone welcome back to lpracing, I know it has been a while but I have been focusing on my studies and not much racing has been done since my last post!
For my first European f4 race I was looking for experience rather than a podium finish, but nonetheless, a podium wouldn’t be bad :). Prior to the weekend, I had participated in a full day of sim practice for the upcoming race, because practice makes perfect. It was a great experience as I had never known how realistic sim racing was!
After my 4 total practice sessions and a spin in the last corner, I felt that improvement was still needed to be made, therefore throughout the races I would consistently improve. Since this chassis and engine was fairly different to the one I was use to in the UAE I had to get use to a few things. Therefore, adding understeer to the car help exponentially with my confidence with the car.
You could say that R1 was me testing the waters, as almost everything was new to me. Although I had my doubts I raced on and finished in the place I started, with some scrapping of positions early on in the race. While reflecting over that race I realized that everyone had such similar times, prompting either boring racing or constant excitement, which could have been found within the packs of cars ahead of me. Along with this, I noticed that I lost almost a second in the last sector due to my lack of confidence in the car. But with a few changes and mental notes about the data, I was ready for R2.
Pumped for R2 I jumped into the car with one goal in my head, to move up the field. But this was promptly halted as somebody looked up their tires behind me and rammed my rear wing off. Distraught I pulled in the pits and was told it could not be fixed in time. “Things like this happen” I told myself, “Let’s just move on…”. And rightly so as there was nothing to speak about anyway, apart from mentally preparing for R3.
As black clouds moved in and rain started to fall on and off for hours, I started to worry. Worrying about my chances of finishing dead last drastically increasing. But once our race was up next the track had dried and was almost as before the rain had started. Now with a clear mind, I stared as the red lights slowly illuminated, with my clutch fully engaged in 1st gear. Once they disappeared I swiftly released my foot off the clutch and heard a low growling sound from the engine. This was when I realized that I had released the clutch too quick and that the engine was bogging.
As I watched my fellow racers pass by I suddenly attained an urge of motivation to prove myself even more than before. So from dead last (17th), made my way up the field performing overtakes around the outside, under breaking, and even halfway through corners. And as I passed the chequered flag, I felt that the weights had been finally lifted off my shoulders and I felt truly satisfied with my efforts. Sure, I didn’t come on the podium (13th), sure I wasn’t the fastest, but once comparing data we could see that the understeer was huge, meaning that I had finally gained confidence in the car, and that I would barely lose anything in the last corner.
So, all things considered, I feel that I have genuinely improved as a driver. And thats what I came to do.