Today I raced in the first round of the 2016 West Australian Formula Ford Championship. Qualifying was on a slightly damp track due to rain earlier in the day, this made the track just a little more slippery than normal. I managed to qualify third in the field of 19 with a 1:02.9, but was running with clutch issues which meant the clutch wasn’t fully disengaging, caused by some sand getting in there when I just put the outside wheels slightly off the track in an early lap.
As a result I started the first race from grid position 3. After dropping to 5th at the start, I was left to battle for fourth place. I would’ve had a great opportunity to overtake for 4th on one lap, however as I pulled alongside, 4th place still had the draft from others, so I was unable to make the move. The front pack was extremely close and tight. On the last lap I was overtaken and dropped to sixth, but regained that on the second last corner to finish in fifth.
This meant I started the second race in fifth. In this race, I had a terrible start and had dropped to 8th, and nearly 9th, by the first corner but managed to hold that car off. However, I fought my way into 5th by the end of the second lap with a few moves I was very pleased with, in particular one into turn 1. A couple laps later I was behind the battle for 3rd, and they were overtaking each other into the final corner. This meant I got a much better exit, was able to switch back to the inside and we were running three wide down the pit straight and into the first corner! Fortunately, I was on the inside, so I jumped two places to third. For the remaining two laps, I was closing the gap to the battle for the lead, but did not have enough time to catch close enough to make a move.
The final race was being run on a soaking wet track. Having not run on a wet track since before my first race last year, I am not very experienced racing in the rain. At the start, I got a lot of wheelspin and dropped to fifth. I was running behind fifth and made a move into the final corner a few laps later, for fourth. However, I went a little too deep into the following corner and I spun onto a piece of runoff on the outside of turn one. Fortunately, I was able to get the car going again, but it meant I finished 14th. For the day, I finished equal 6th on points.
Whilst I was very much in contention for a podium this round, all in all I am very pleased with the meeting, taking some good solid points away toward the championship, making some good moves and gaining valuable experience in the rain.
A huge thankyou to Edith Cowan University, Grand Toyota, Impressions the Home Builder, Rvend, Kingsway Community Bank Branch, OLS, Signarama Joondalup, Focused Recruitment, Fullworks Firesafety, Genesis Joondalup Gate and F45 Hillarys. Also, a big thankyou for all from “Team Calan” who came down to watch me race or supported me online today.