Zolder is one of those tracks that people either love or hate. it has a lot of heavy braking with narrow chicanes and big curbs everywhere, and a mistake can be extremely costly.
Racing in the dark is always tricky, braking points can be hard to judge correctly, and entries and apex’s can be hard to spot. Zolder though does lend itself to a night race with great lighting through out the circuit.
Sat on the grid in P16 behind Clements, we awaited the start of the 90 minute Race. 2 mandatory pitstops with the changing of tyres left down to the driver was the rules set out for tonight’s race.
Through the green lights and down to T1 I saw an opportunity in the form of a big hole opening up, I took my chance and made it stick moving me up to P11. Next car Infront was the Ferrari of S.Marsh, at first it looked like I may need to make a move and get past as Marsh’s pace wasn’t quite quick enough. But before long his pace increased and it was clear to see we were catching the cars infront. Over the past few months I’d say my race craft has become better and reading the situation has definitely been an area I’ve improved on. I had two decisions, either try and make a pass on Marsh and potentially slow us both whilst fighting it out or relax, sit behind and churn out the laps and take the fight to the cars ahead. The latter was what I decided to go with.
For the next 20 laps or so, I followed Marsh and watched the relative to the cars in front slowly decrease. I made a mistake in T1 which saw me drop off the back of the Ferrari and the downward spiral of my pace dropping off began. My tyres began loosing pressure until they were very under inflated and a good 1 PSI or so out of the optimal range. With a pitstop nearing, I decided to alter the pressures on the MFD for the new tyres which would be fitted.
Pit limiter on, and rumbling down the pits with my tank of fuel and new tyres I knew I could now get back to race pace and chip away at the cars infront. Unfortunately John’s undercut had worked and he came out just infront pushing me back a position. Listening to John complain about his now over inflated tyres, it seemed like catching John and potentially Marsh wouldn’t be a problem but low and behold my tyre pressures were now all over the place due to being well over inflated. Has something changed in a new update to ACC? Anyone know, drop a comment below the post. With the tyres now pushing around 28.5 on left side it made for some tricky racing, if the braking point wasn’t spot on then you wasn’t stopping. With one more pitstop to take I decided to take it quite quickly after the first to give the tyres a break and cool down a bit.
Back on the track and the next car in front was Trulli’s Lamborghini. It took a handful of laps to find the new groove on the over inflated tyres and I slowly chipped away at Trulli. With about 5 minutes to go, I got a good run out of T4 onto the straight before the first chicane. Trulli backed out into the braking zone and I moved into 9th position. With a few laps left I knew I’d have to defend against either Trulli or Junior. Something happened before the final chicane between the two of them and Trulli entered the pit lane unintentionally I believe. Junior had the better pace and sat behind looking to make a move, but I stuck my lines and kept him at bay until we crossed the line. Clements managed to nurse his Aston home to a respectable P8, Dan Wood finished in 19th.