9 October 2009

Race Review - 3rd round of the Le Mans Classics Championships

The 3rd round of this series brought us back to the GT Team track, where I managed to score my last race win. Prospects of repeating this feat looked dim, as the competition from the Fly models looked stronger now - and somewhat to my own fault, there were some fast-paced Scalextric Ferrari P4s now, all fitted with "super-sticky" tires, the way that only those guys know how to!

Tires were just the key issue here. I spent all week trying to revive a couple of old P1 I had, since the ones I started this series with swollen so much, that the rear of the car sat too high - and that was the reason of the poor behavior I had to deal with last race. These new P1 were just 18 mm in diameter, but unfortunately now the car sat too low! Only noticed that on race day, when the car was showing its bad temper again. With no time left to prepare new P1s, I had to resort to a couple of used P6 tires with a lot of mileage on them, but no race distance ever done. At least they were the exact diameter I needed.

After quite some laps (and some treatment with lighter fuel), tires were beginning to grip quite well, dispite the "tail-happy" behavior always present. Nothing that some extra driving care wouldn't deal with. My only concern was on the performance of these tires on the exterior "blue" and "black" lanes...

With another "full house" (18 drivers) and a track cleaner than last race, I still knew that I had to do well on quali, so that I could join the last heat. That's what I did, and just narrow, with 6th place!

(top) Me with the rest of the "big guys", 1st on the left. (below) My car waiting for the green lights way back there! Another thing of notice: 4 Scalextric Ferrari P4s here!

The 2nd heat runners scored some impressive results, so we were all "on alert" on our turn. I had no choice but to start on the blue lane, which was the dirtiest at the start. Fortunately, it was good enough when I started the race. With a low-key result (which is expected when starting from this lane), I was last by the end of the lane, but 5th and 4th placed drivers were not far away. One of the drivers was having issues with a tire that decided to "unglue" from the rim, so his car was de-sloting considerably. That was my only chance of beating other car, since all the others were running too fast. Moving from lane to lane, I was running something between 2 or 3 tenths of second slower than the leader, but close to 4th place. Some mistakes on the penultimate lane, the fast "red" cost me a bit, but I was able to recover on the last lane - the yellow one proved the fastest lane to drive, and that's where I scored my best lap result and fastest laptime too. That was not enough to challenge for 4th, but I kept 5th in the heat and also overall, as every driver from this lane performed better than the guys from heat 2.

Overall, I scored 205 laps and 27 meters, which improved my last race here by some meters but this time it was not enough to claim the win, as I needed an impressive 211 laps. The Fly Ford GT40 was too fast for the Ferrari P4 horde..

The paddock picture and podium:
Today it's time to deal with the CSB track for the series final round. My chances of finishing this series on the top3 are small... I will do my best there...

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