Round 5, Snetterton
Not to say I didn’t enjoy it, but Snetterton – for some reason – is a circuit I had never really ‘clicked’ with. This changed on the Friday test day ahead of the fifth 2017 race weekend. I was benefitting from the coaching of young Ben Tuck, who used to race these mark 1 Mazdas and now races Caterhams and GTs. Hopefully some of the lessons I learnt can be transferred to other circuits; I felt my driving generally improved over the course of the weekend.
We got off to a good start and I grabbed the second fastest time right at the end of the session. This was my best qualifying result so far and put me 4th on the grid for race 1A. With 47 drivers entered into the meeting, we were pretty pleased.
I had a good get-away and slotted into third place, only to be shuffled onto the outside line for the left hander called Palmer and lose two spots into Agostini. After running with the top four pretty well, the battling continued and at the end I finished up sixth. This was probably a fair result and I was pretty pleased to have a good result in the bag.
Race 2A began with probably one of the best opening laps of my life. I moved up from sixth to third, including passing the championship leader Will Blackwall-Chambers around the outside as we went under the bridge. Unfortunately it wasn’t to last; a wire to the alternator broke and I gradually lost engine power before eventually grinding to a halt on the final lap whilst running in last place. That was a bit of a tough one to take.
So, I was relegated the B group for the third race. Also relegated had been Patrick Lay, who was in sixth place in the championship going into the weekend. From forth I jumped to third at turn one, passed Lay for second at Agostini, then took the lead under the bridge (again, around the outside). Another good opening lap! Lay drafted past me down the main straight but I slipped back past and edged away. Then the fun really started as the rain started to fall, making the track pretty slippery. I took care and managed to pull away enough to secure the win, Patrick and I nearly a minute ahead of third place!
Victory in the B race was the best I could hope for after the disappointment of the retirement, but generally our pace was better all weekend. We go to Anglesey in North Wales next, which is a new circuit for me. Should be fun!