Round 2, Cadwell Park
Cadwell Park is a circuit with a split personality. It goes from fast and flowing, to slow and twisty. It’s terminally narrow and demands respect. It’s great to drive, but difficult to race. And it’s also a long way from home!
I found Friday tough, as I’d not really driven many slow sections in this car yet. We found some time during the day and after a good night sleep I was ready Saturday morning for qualifying.
4th in my session put me 8th overall out of the 46 entrants. I was keen to avoid any mishaps in race 1A this time and stay in the A races throughout the weekend (see Brands Hatch report).
As I said, it’s tight at Cadwell. I got boxed in at the start of race 1A and couldn’t do anything to stop the march of about 4 cars going round the outside through the first few corners. Had to get my head down and the first move I made was into the famous Mountain – a near vertical chicane at the start of the twisty section. After that it was a case of catching the guys ahead and trying to slipstream past up Park straight. This worked well; once up the inside, once round the outside (perhaps using a little grass). By the end I was 7th, which wasn’t spectacular, but was my first top 10 finish in this championship. Tick.
Race 2 was messy. It never really settled down and there were people everywhere. Again, I was a little blocked in at the start, dropping to 9th this time. I soon got into 8th and was then bottled up behind 6th and 7th, who were getting close to each other. It all kicked off at the end of the straight and for a split second I thought I was going to end up in the wall. I didn’t, but the door was open and ton of cars streamed past. Lesson learnt. After that there was a Code 60 (bit like a virtual safety car if you watch F1) due to a crash and not long after that the race was ended early. A scrappy one overall, but I survived to 11th and would have another chance in race 3A.
I started the final race 10th and made a good start, jumped two cars off the line (hurrah!) and ran 8th at the end of lap 1. I managed to squeeze around the outside of Park turn to take 7th and closed up on the cars in front. There was a nice queue forming behind 4th place, so there was plenty of action. It got a little strung out in the final laps, but by the last lap I was right with 6th place and was able to just slip past going over The Mountain and held it to the flag.
So, 7th, 11th and 6th over the 3 races – a pretty solid set of results. I need to find some more pace yet to challenge at the front, but this was only the third meeting in these great little cars. There will be another chance at Silverstone at the end of May. What a lucky boy I am…