After the excellent finish to the 2018 season I was itching to get going again in 2019. Unfortunately I had to wait over the winter months though but this provided the opportunity to work on the car, in the form of a bottom end engine rebuild and a dual fuel pump was fitted. The engine rebuild was a preventative measure but the dual fuel pump would enable me to run less residual fuel in the tank. I did this to reduce the pendulum like effect caused by fuel moving around the tank, which would make a more stable car and therefore improve handling. This gave me even more reason to be optimistic for the new season
Due to the number of cars entered for the meeting qualifying was split into two groups and after qualifying we would be split into groups A/B/C. I was in the second qualifying group. The weather was glorious for qualifying and during the first four laps of the session I was stuck in traffic so times were relatively slow. However on lap 5 I found some space and set about putting in a good time. During the remaining laps I was able to consistently put in mid to low 59 second lap times, with my best time of a 59.083 coming on lap 11. This put me in 12th position in the second group of cars and 16th and 15th on the grid for races. Being honest, I had set myself a goal of getting into the 58 second lap times so was a little disappointed that I didn’t achieve this. However my times were very consistent which is good for race pace.
As always its critical to get a good start. My launch away from the line was excellent but it was so good that I became boxed out by the cars in front of me and had to lift which cost me 2 positions. The pack safely made it through turn one and I went deep into turn two. My aim for doing this was to overtake some cars caught as the cars concertinaed on the inside, and then hold the inside line for turn three. Unfortunately this did not pay off and I remained in my position. In the next few laps I tried to gain positions but was not able before the race was interrupted by the safety car. After this period three more cars fell off the track which gained me positions before I crossed the line in 11th position. I was pleased with a great finishing position to the first race of the year but knew that I would need to be more aggressive in race two to achieve a better position
In an almost carbon copy of the first race, once again I made an excellent launch but became boxed out. Again this cost me two positions. I decided to hold the inside line for turn two in this race and was then involved in a wheel-to-wheel battle for the rest of lap one. However I was too nice at the final corner and lost the position. The lacklustre start to the race continued at the end of lap two when I lost another position at turn one. I settled into the race and tried to stay close to the car I lost the latest position too. By doing this I we were able to both catch and overtake the next car. After doing this I found myself alone on the track so settled for 14th position when I crossed the finish line. I was a little disapointed with how this race had gone, the poor pace during the first few laps and I again needed to attack the track more during the race. That being said though I was leaving the first round with two top 15 positions and an undamaged car. Therefore this had to be viewed as a successful start to the season