We had 4 hours of testing today. On the 2nd session, I actually posted the fastest time out of all competitors - my first such feat in the FCJ Series.
But that did not last long - by the end of the day, I dropped down to 0.8 seconds below the all-day fastest driver.
Thurs - May 28
Another 4 hours. We actually had time for lunch today, which was nice. My fastest was 1:53.9, 0.9 seconds off the top, putting me at 13th out of 18 drivers for the day. This competition is tight.
Fri - May 29
4 more hours of testing! The weather was nuts. On again and off again rain - anything from drizzle to absolute downpour. It was awesome - started one session on slicks and then the rain began to drizzle, and more.. and more. But then it stops, and the warm temperature and the 18 cars on the track dry it off almost immediately in places. Every turn I approach is in a different condition then before - at some parts of the track it rains while in others it doesn't, as the clouds move with the wind. So, as I approach each turn, I have to feel how much water there is on the braking line before getting to it. Seeing if there are any new drops hitting the visor is the biggest indicator. One moment, clear visor, next moment, it's getting hit by water like crazy! Really have to become one with the car to feel the surface underneath the tires. A ton of cars went off or spun out, lots of yellow flags waving around. In the last session, I ended up 4th in these mixed conditions, although at the end it was nearly dry again.
Saturday - May 30
Qualifying and Race #5
For Q1, I was 0.7 seconds behind pole, putting me in 12th place.
For Q2, which was interrupted about halfway with heavy rain, I got 14th position.
The first race was nothing spectacular - I got several good passes in on the first lap - but then could not get up to a good pace - consistently driving close to a second behind the pace of the leading pack. I finished 14th.
Sunday - May 31
I woke up to a pleasant sight of rain. Today's race was 17 laps. I was struggling with understeer at corner-entry, which I later found was due to a slight miscommunication I had with the mechanic in adjusting pre-race tire pressures once we were on the grid. But the race went well - as the track began to dry slowly over the entire race distance, my lap times continued to shrink and I was catching up with the cars up ahead. I was in 10th position for a large part of the race after having started 14th. The championship points leader, Naoya Gamou, had a poor start, so he ended up right behind me for the 2nd half of the race. The two of us were closing in on the 8th- and 9th-place pack at about a second per lap, but the race time was running out. As we were dicing it out at almost every turn, I finally made a strategic miss - coming out of the final turn onto the main straightaway, he was going to get in my slip, so I went to the inside to protect turn 1, but the simple fact that the inside line would be way more wet and slippery somehow escaped me. As we got into the brake zone right next to each other, I ended up spinning after locking all 4 tires as I hit a patch of track that was even more wet near the apex. I quickly recovered, losing only 8 seconds, but that caused me to lose 2 positions. My race ended in 12th place but it was definitely lots of fun and I felt satisfied with my performance.
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