Round seven (races 13 and 14) of the 2019 Caterham 270R championship was held at Brands Hatch Circuit on the Indy configuration on the weekend of 28th and 29th of September 2019.
Although Brands Hatch is probably my most local circuit, I don't come here that often, but I also seem to go reasonably well here.
Most race weekends start with two days of testing on the Thursday and Friday before the weekend (split into 4x 25 minute sessions on each day). A fellow driver / mate offered to give me his spare test slot for the Thursday, which meant I could have double testing time, so I took this opportunity with gratitude.
The conditions on Thursday can only be described as extreme wet, and as such I wasn't sure if to test or not (until it dried out a little), but as the forecast for the weekend race days looked mixed, I thought it best to get out there and get stuck in.
Unfortunately I got un-sighted by some spinning cars in front of me which caused a yellow flag, I applied just a fraction too much brake to avoid the possible accident on Paddock Hill, the front tyres locked up and the car turned into a barrier targeted homing missile!
On-board crash footage below:-
This was NOT how I wanted to start the weekend, and as the impact was pretty hefty I thought I'd chassis'd the car - luckily the guys from Matt Blyth Motorsport were on hand and worked on the car solidly from 9:30am until 1:30am the next morning to straighten the car as best they could, and incredibly get me out for testing on the Friday! I really can't thank them enough for what they did.
Understandably testing on the Friday was a bit more 'cautious' than usual - however, the car felt better than before the crash (which seems bizarre), but the odd vibration I was chasing around at Donington was resolved! The only real issue was the car did feel a touch better on the left than the right handed corners!
I managed to qualify in P3, which I was happy with. All I needed to do in the race to secure the championship was to finish ahead of my fellow privateer Matt Shepard, and he qualified in P5, so I was in a good position.
I didn't get the best of starts and dropped to P4, and found that I really struggled down the straights to keep up with the cars around me. I don't know if this was to do with the crash damage, or something else, but some of the other cars were blistering!
I kept my cool for the race, and stayed ahead (in the most part) of Matt Shepard, which meant that all I needed to do was to finish to secure the title. Ollie Pratt got a run on me on the last lap into Graham Hill bend, and I let him have it, as didn't want to risk a collision.
|Daniel French - 2019 Caterham 270R Champion!