Round 4, Oulton Park
Oulton Park is an old school circuit. By that I mean it’s undulating, long, pretty quick, fairly narrow and has a mix of fast and slow corners. In short; it’s a great track. The flip side is that it pays to have some experience of driving there. I have been once before, but it was a washout of a day and the car I was in kept fogging up, so I didn’t see that much. Therefore, I didn’t have massive expectations going into the weekend but aimed to improve as it wore on.
I qualified 7th in my session, which was 14th overall (out of 47 drivers) and put me in the all-important A race. After a pretty good start I began making my way through, until the second lap when I ran wide at the first chicane whilst running 11th. I could have bailed and cut the corner, but tried to make it and ran the large kerb, hitting the underside of the car. This unfortunately broke the differential and the drive shaft popped out too. Retirement also meant relegation to the B race. Bit of a disaster all round.
For race 2B we felt we should try something a little drastic with the setup, as I hadn’t been fully happy up to now. As it happens, the change we made really didn’t work for me and the car was horrible. Fortunately, I was able to get into third place early and held on to get a podium finish and promotion back into the A race.
Ali Bray (the “AB” in “AB Motorsport“) had another setup idea for me to try in race 3A. Unusually, this meeting was all taking place in one day. That’s qualifying and 3 races. Needless to say, time was tight but Ali did a great job and got me to the grid on time. Not only that, this change had transformed the car and I really felt that I could push like I normally do. From 22nd on the grid I finished up 12th after some good close racing (and one bit was a little too close).
So, every cloud has a silver lining and I’m hoping that this will improve my performances at future race meetings. There are further gains to be had too, as we were fighting a problem on the inlet side of the engine all weekend. With this getting fixed as well, I’m looking forward to the next round at Snetterton.