Snetterton is one of the fastest circuits that the Ma5da series visits this year, so perhaps engine power would be more noticeable here than anywhere else. Regardless, the aim for this weekend was to break into the top 15 in both races and attempt to move into the top 10.
Qualifying continued with the same old story of having to learn the track, learn any changes to the car and then attempt to put a quick lap in before the 15 minutes (8 laps) was up. At the start of the session I followed a few cars to get a feel for the lines, and braking points, etc then I managed to get myself some clear space to put a few quick laps in. I timed this slightly badly as on the last lap I caught the group in front of me and decided I would back off for one final quick lap when the chequered flag came out, meaning I didn’t feel I got the quickest time out of the car by about half a second. Still, 24th was not too bad and due to the way Ma5da works with the group systems it meant I would start from 19th and 20th in my two races.
Onto race one and I got a good launch off the line, then missed a gear which was a bit of a shame as a lost a bit of ground. Fortunately I was able to make up for any lost time further round in the lap and moved my way up to 17th. A race long battle for 14th with Matthew Short and Nick Gilfillan proved tough and after a lot of overtaking at various points on the circuit I had to settle for 15th by 0.116 seconds on the line.
Starting from 20th this time for race two meant that i’d have to push extra hard in order to make the top 15. I didn’t make any places off the start, but then again I didn’t lose any! Each lap I was able to work my way further up the grid, and by lap 5 I had got myself into the target 15th position. It was becoming more difficult to pass as the difference in lap times was quite small amongst the people in these positions. The slipstream affect was also a real factor at Snetterton and being able to get away once i’d passed somebody was proving tricky on the long straights especially when battling with Chris Lovett. It took two or three laps before I could secure my position. On lap 7 the red flags were bought out due to a serious incident were a car rolled and the race was declared despite the fact that only 50% of race distance had been completed. When races are stopped like this, the results are counted back one lap to the last fully completed racing lap. Luckily I maintained my 14th position, as I couldn’t remember on which lap leading up to the flag that i’d got past Chris. Had the race of continued further then I may of been able to make up more places as I was fast closing in on the five car battle for 9th.
So to summarise, we’ve had the strongest race weekend yet. I feel comfortable pushing the car although I need to try and eliminate the understeer which has developed, and this is where we need some time to do testing and not just turn up on race days expecting to be quicker. Another second a lap would put us firmly in the top 10 when combined with a better qualifying, and given my progress up until now then I hope that by the end of the season this is acheivable. Race results are available here. I appear under Ma5da MX5 Championship – Qualifying Group 1, Race 2 & Race 3.