Fortunately earlier forecasts for wet weather on the Saturday didn’t eventuate, and a day of mainly dry running looked like it would be on offer. The morning however was affected by heavy fog, which not only delayed the start of the first session of the day, but also meant that the track itself was very damp and slippery.
Once the fog had lifted enough, and a couple of laps were completed by track officials to test conditions, the teams were able to hit the track, which was as expected very slippery and challenging. Steadily the conditions improved and we were able to push harder and harder to the point where lap times were not that far off dry track. With about three laps to go in the session I was trading place for the top spot on the timesheets, in the end finishing with the second best time for the session, less than a tenth of a second off first place and with the fastest time in the final sector.
With very good conditions for the second session, we took to the track early and set solid times on good used tyres. After 7 laps I came into the pits where we put new tyres on the car and allowed the track to improve even further before once again setting out. The car felt great, and I was able to push hard to set a quick time for the session of 1:39.2 which was even to place me 4th on the timesheets. At this level, and amongst experienced drivers from all across the world, I was very pleased to run inside the top 5 four times out of the 6 sessions to this point.
In the third session we ran 20 laps on two sets of used tyres which went well, ending up with a best time for the session of 1:39.5.
In the final run the plan was to use 2 sets of new tyres with the track being at its best for the day. To start the session however, we ran a short stint and then came straight in to put the first set of new tyres on. This part of the session went well, and a best time on this set in the 1:39s put me around 5th on the timesheets at that point.
Having put on my second set of new tyres for the session however, I made a mistake just as I started to push on the 4th lap out, having a slight “off” into the gravel at turn 4 damaging the underside of the car. I was able to continue, however the aero was affected from that point and the best I could manage was a 1:39.7 when the track was at its fastest and allowed the rest of the drivers to post their quickest times.
This was an incredible experience, and the intensity a massive step up, even from the test which I completed here in December which in itself was a different level than anything I had experienced before. To step into this and finish half of the sessions within the top 5 (and nearly take one on the top!) is something I am very pleased to have been able to achieve. Having said that, I am learning so much, so I am looking forward to developing everything I can out of that learning and continually strive to improve everyday.
Now it is off to show Mum around Barcelona for a day, and then I am looking forward to a couple of weeks of solid training and simulator work back at Fortec to prepare for my first international race meeting at another Formula 1 track, Circuit Paul Ricard in France.
Thank you to Mick, Tom and the team, my supporters, and sponsors Lazersafe, High Energy Service, The Wealth Designers, ES2, Rosehill Waters – South Guildford, Edith Cowan University (ECU), Kingsway Community Bank Branch, Fullworks Fire Safety, Rvend Vending Machines, Grand Toyota Wangara, Online Logistics Solutions, Inspired Insurance Services, Focused Recruitment, Walker Wayland WA, F45 Training Hillarys and Trizone Fitness.