The program for today was Qualifying 1 (to determine the grid for Race 1), and Race 1.
The day started really well with the 15 minute qualifying session. I managed the preparation of my new set of tyres well, and also the traffic, getting myself into good position for my flying laps. In lap 5 I managed a 1:02.9 to secure P3 for the session! This was a great result for both myself and the team to be inside the top 3 amongst this incredibly competitive field. I am feeling very confident in the car that MTEC and my team have given me, and I am sure there is even more to come.
Starting from P3 in Race 1 I got away reasonably well from the line, and positioned myself on the inside to try and hold out Lucas Auer through turn 1. New Zealander Brendan Leitch passed two drivers behind me around the outside and then got outside me around turn 1. This meant that he had the inside line into turn 2 which put me into 5th position.
From this point the five of us stretched a gap on those behind, and I worked hard to try and get myself into a position to make a challenge back at Leitch.
With 8 laps to go, a safety car brought us all back together for a single file restart. I got away really well, and once again the five of us in the lead stretched a gap on the rest of the field to finish the race in that order.
Overall it has been a very good day for me, and 5th place is my highest finish to date at an international level. However, we have demonstrated we have the pace to finish on the podium, and that is certainly the aim for the next two races.
Race 2 I will start from P4 (as the top 8 will be reversed from Race 1 finishing positions), and then the grid position for the NZ Grand Prix will be determined by another Qualifying session first thing in the morning.
Thank you for all the support I have received from home today, and thanks to Bruin and all the team at MTEC Motorsport for the car they have given me to drive – particularly my engineer David, and mechanics Thomas and Harry.
Big day tomorrow.