Oulton Park is one of the most technically challenging circuits on the calendar with tight chicanes, adverse camber corners and other elements that make this one of my favourite circuits.
Unfortunately when it came to qualifying, the car just didn’t instil much confidence for me and the weekend I felt as though we were constantly chasing the pack for pace. My qualifying performance confirmed this.
Race one I managed to go from P15 up to P13 by the end which really was the best I could achieve – we made a last minute change on qualifying which was not a great call hence the lowly position.
Race two promised to offer much of the same but then just before we were due to go out, the rain stopped and Westbourne decided to switch to dry tyres (which was an inspired call) – the team managed to make the necessary changes to set up but I had to miss the first out lap and start from the back of the grid on P17. Most of the field were on wet tyres/intermediates and myself and Niall Murray were on dry tyres.
I made an early move on Brad Bailey at the chicane on the inside but post race analysis judged that this was a robust move and I was docked a place.
Within a lap and a half of what I thought was a great move in the chicane, Niall and I had made up a few places and after taking two cars on the outside around Lodge Corner (!) I too was challenging Sennan Fielding for sixth – I decided due to the speed differential, to take him on the outside of cascades (adverse camber corner). Unfortunately Sennan appeared not to want to let me take him this way and leaned on me pushing me wide onto the wet grass (on dry tyres which were a bad combination!) – I went from 75 to 100 yards sideways on the bumpy grass and thought I had held it until I hit a large bump and the car decided to spit me across the circuit – fortunately I managed to stop the car from hitting the barriers backwards.
All that hard work (in an eight lap race too) was for nothing. I then saw Brad overtake me on the road as I was struggling for traction to get back on the track (back to P16) – I caught Brad up very quickly but he was making his car very wide and as I was on dry set up and him on wet, clearly the speed differential was significant on the track.
Anyway I ended up 11th and Niall had a great drive to achieve 2nd – what could have been had I not been forced off the track?
I tried my best to make an impact on the final race as I believe I am yet to demonstrate my true ability this season – I know you make your own luck in life but when I seem to go well, something else seems to happen which is outside my control.
Croft is next and I don’t know the track at all and have never driven a Ginetta around there so let’s see…………………………!!!
Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey