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Blog 8 – Knockhill17/09/12

Knockhill is always a tricky place to go in any championship and the PCCGB is no exception. The cars are very quick for this tight, twisty circuit - arguably too quick and do not take kindly to the abuse of the kerbs, particularly at the infamous chicane.

I had travelled to the circuit on Wednesday in order to test during the afternoon. All the Porsche teams were there as this is a circuit where nobody tests at and for most of the drivers including myself, it was exactly a year since we'd been here last.

We showed strong pace throughout Friday's test sessions as the weather remained dry for the duration. I was happy with the balance of the car in race trim, although there were a few tenths to find for qualifying to catch Meadows and Barker who headed the times. This circuit is a place where you have to attack and often drive the car beyond the limit. Personally as a smoother driver, I find it difficult to drive with the car dancing around and flying over kerbs but this is Knockhill and you just have to accept it and get on with it best you can.

For qualifying I didn't get the best out of the first set of new tyres initially but managed to go third by the end of my first run. As I pitted, the heavens opened as they had been threatening to do so, meaning nobody would improve. I was very relieved with my time as I had to dig deep when I thought I had blown the chance by taking too long when the tyres were at their best. In the end however, third for both races was great, right behind championship leader Meadows and I had even saved a set of slick tyres.

Sunday's Round 13 was once more dry. I made an average start allowing teammate Daniel Lloyd to get alongside me into Turn One but I held him off to tuck in behind Meadows. It quickly became clear that I didn't quite have the pace to stay with the leaders as they edged away. On Lap three I then made an error at the final hairpin and blew all chance of a win. With the leaders over two seconds ahead, I had a lonely race from then on. Jonas Gelzinis kept me honest for the next 15 laps until the safety car was deployed handing me a lifeline. Following a short spell behind the Safety Car, the race restarted and I was tucked up right behind Meadows. However immediately there was carnage in the midfield and crashed cars everywhere. The race was red flagged and declared a result, giving me a podium.

For Round 14, I now had my unused slicks from qualifying which I hoped would give me the extra pace needed to race with the leaders. As the lights went out pole-man Barker made a poor start and Meadows immediately went to the outside with me tucked underneath Barker. As we arrived at turn one, Meadows abandoned his overtaking attempt and cut back underneath Barker making contact with me. Meadows was sent spinning as I kept on the track. It immediately became clear that my car was damaged and sure enough, the radiator had broken ending my race on the spot. It was very frustrating as Meadows managed to recover and extend his championship lead.

All in all, it was a mixed weekend. I was very happy with the pace we showed on a track that I haven't typically gone well at and a podium in the first race was also valuable championship points. Unfortunately the second race ended prematurely but risks have to be taken if Meadows is going to be caught. It didn't work out this weekend but I won't stop trying until the final round.