Sunday, 6 August 2017

Snetterton 300 - Round Five - 1st Place and Lap Record

All 'racing drivers' seem to have a good list of excuses, and I managed to find one for what happened at Donington - I'll leave it up to your discretion if you think it's an excuse or not... but, it turns out the gearbox had pretty much imploded on itself, so the car was collected after Donington engine removed, gearbox removed and with the gearbox being sent off for rebuild, car checked over andthen  returned back to me all (just!) in time for this weekend.  Thanks to David Rowe and all the boys at DPR Motorsport for getting this all sorted for me.

So with all mechanical excuses (hopefully) unavailable to me, it was time to get back on it and have a good weekend.  I had a good couple of track and test days before the event, and set a pretty respectable time on the Friday test session, so was feeling confident.

Qualifying was 'interesting' and fun too, as there is SUCH an advantage of getting a tow down the two long straights there was a fair amount of tactics involved, but I managed to qualify 2nd on the grid alongside Matt Sheppard.

I got a great start, and led into the first corner...
Round Five of the 2017 Caterham Academy championship at Snetterton - the start
Round Five of the 2017 Caterham Academy championship at Snetterton - the start
Matthew Creak had a superb start from sixth? on the grid, and made an attempt for the lead at Wilson's hairpin, which I held off and then he made a bit of a mistake at Palmer corner which enabled James Murphy to take second place.
On three wheels at Murrays corner at Snetterton 300 circuit
On three wheels at Murrays corner at Snetterton 300 circuit
In the meantime I'd managed to build a small gap, which I really needed to capitalise on (as with a tow off me, James would easily catch me as it's worth up to 1.5 seconds here!), but I put some mega laps in and broke the tow...

Here's the onboard video of the race:-

And WON!  yyyeeeaahhhh!!!!  I managed to win by over twelve seconds, (which I was told was unheard of here at Snetterton in the Caterham Academy) AND set a new lap record of 2:17.593 (without a tow!) on my way to victory.
Daniel French winning the Green Group of the Caterham Academy race at Snetterton 300 circuit in 2017
Daniel French winning the Green Group of the Caterham Academy race at Snetterton 300 circuit in 2017
Time for some bubbly - the podium celebrations!  Well done the James Murphy p2, and Neil Fraser p3!
Time for some bubbly - the podium celebrations!  Well done the James Murpy p2, and Neil Fraser p3!
Time for some bubbly - the podium celebrations!  Well done the James Murpy p2, and Neil Fraser p3!
Charlotte, my girlfriend / partner thought it'd be highly amusing to get some baseball caps embroidered with my name on (I used to have a cap just the same when I raced remote control cars as a child, many, MANY! years ago!)... They are pretty embarrassing, but I like them really! ☺
Team Daniel caps out in full force - definitely gave me a boost!
Team Daniel caps out in full force - definitely gave me a boost!
So I think (points adjusted) I've got a nine or ten point lead in the championship, which is really, really good at this stage, and Andy Morgan has a similar lead in his group too.  In true 'racer' style, I'm still not thinking about the championship, so will take the next two races as they come and try and do my best at those too.

Next up, Rockingham ISSC on 16th and 17th September, and without seeing the timetable, I guess the qualifying is on the Saturday with the race on the Sunday.  

Feel free to come and say hi if you're around on that weekend, but you may have to wear a 'certain' baseball cap!

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