2018 Round 4, Oulton Park International
Club meetings at Oulton Park are a quick-fire affair, as qualifying and the races all take place on the Saturday. With tight turn around times from one session to the next it is important to stay out of trouble and keep your car in one piece. The opposite of what I managed to do last year!
The weather was pretty changeable and qualifying took place on a wet but quickly drying track. I didn’t quite have the speed in these conditions for whatever reason and finished up 5th in session, which was 9th on the grid for race 1A.
Outlon, like Cadwell, is a parkland circuit, fairly narrow and fantastic to drive, but a little tricky for overtaking. Therefore, you can get queues of cars running round together. Which is ideal if you’re starting 9th and are keen to get on with it!
Once the normal first corner shenanigans calmed down I found myself in 8th place and on the back of the lead queue. I was in 5th by the end of lap two and after a safety car period slipped into 3rd just past half distance. It felt like Cadwell all over again and I thought I could win… until I ran into Druids too quickly, got on a damp patch and endured a grassy trip back down to 8th. Oh well.
I got pushed around a little at the start of race 2A and was in 12th place on lap one, but had the pace to move up to 6th just before half way. There was a pretty large gap to the front group and while I was slowly chipping away, I needed the race to be double the length to catch up. Still, it was a better starting place for the third race.
As race 3A got away I slotted into 5th place. At the end of lap two Mike Comber pulled a nice move to demote me a place but it wasn’t for long. The next time round there were four of us glued together over the start / finish line and I managed to overtake Comber and Ollie Allwood in one move to jump into 4th. Allwood was unfortunately tagged by a car behind and slid off, which gave me a bit of breathing room. By this point the top 3 were away, so again I just started chipping away. As the laps went by, my pace didn’t seem to drop and I was able to catch and pass Brian Trott for third place on the final lap.
It wasn’t a victory, but with 46 cars in this class A race podiums are not easy to achieve. Plus, I was really pleased to back up the success we had at Cadwell Park with more strong pace and another good result.