The second round of the 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship was held at Knockhill Circuit in Scotland...
...When this years calendar was released I think most of the paddock probably had a thing to say (or two) about heading all the way up to Knockhill for a race weekend - I for one thought it was a long way, but having made the trip up there, I can certainly say it's worth every mile of the 400 mile trip up there (for us).
Knockhill is the only circuit in the UK with a license to run in reverse (anticlockwise) direction as well as clockwise, and I believe that last weekend was the first time that a national motor racing championship has ever used the reverse direction. It really was a treat! The circuit is epic - I can only relate it to Brands Hatch Indy x10! The video's do not do the undulations justice - the elevation changes, and drop off's are immense, and there were plenty of places to get all four wheels off the ground!
|Daniel French flying through Butcher's bend at Knockhill Circuit in reverse direction|
Race 3 - Pole and Win
With a brand new gearbox, there was no room for excuses this weekend! Arriving on Tuesday night for a testing on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I set about finding a good rhythm and balance in the car. I got to a great setting (perfect) in fact, which enabled me to get a great qualifying session together putting it on Pole Position for the race with a 58.2 second lap, but I could've broken into the 57's had I not had traffic on the last lap.
With pole bagged, and the car feeling great - I too was feeling confident for the race. I got a good start, broke the tow and led from start to finish - consistently running in the 58'8s (slower than qualifying due to wind direction change).
On-board video of the race:-
|On the podium (l-r) James Murphy (p2), Me - Daniel French (p1), and Oli Pratt (p3)|
There was a paddock party in the clubhouse that night, so it was definitely a chance to enjoy the moment, (perhaps a bit too much!) and have a few beers with the other racers which was great fun, and all part and parcel of the camaraderie of the paddock.
Race 4 - 3rd Place
Sunday morning was wet, but it dried out quite quickly, and the day got steadily warmer and warmer - to a pretty hot late afternoon. With the finishing order of the previous race dictating your grid position for the second race, I started on pole again. I got a reasonable start, and managed to put a few good laps in and build a small gap... But... there was a strong headwind which meant the tow effect was increased and the gap wasn't as big as I'd hoped then on about lap 6 my tyres went off, causing me to get a tank slapper into and after the chicane allowing the pack to catch up.
A good fun battle ensued, but I made two very costly gear change mistakes (Which I need to stop doing!), and ended up finishing in third place.
Definitely a race that got away from me, but I'm very close to working out how to get the perfect settings (which I achieved in race 3). So on the podium (from l-r) Dan Halstead (p2), James Murphy (p1), and Me - Daniel French (p3)
|on the podium (from l-r) Dan Halstead (p2), James Murphy (p1), and Me - Daniel French (p3)|
|Happy days at Knockhill in Sunny Scotland for (l-r) James Murphy, Matt Sheppard and Daniel French|