I headed into round 5 of the 2018 BMW Compact Cup knowing that improvement in my positions was needed. A big part of this is getting a good setup on my car so I got support from AW Tracksport for this weekend. Andy set my car up on the morning of the test day and from the off the car felt great. The test day went really well for me so I was confident going into qualifying on Saturday morning
As I headed out onto the track I was able to work my way past some slower traffic in the first few laps. I was into clear air by lap three, which turned out to be my fastest of the session, and got my head down. I was using some faster drivers as a reference point and they were not pulling away from me significantly so I knew I was on good pace. I pushed harder on the last lap but locked up the front wheels on the way into the second chicane which stopped this being my best lap. However this joy was to be sort lived, the regulations of our championship require us to be above a minimum ride height after being on track and I failed this test. The punishment for this was to be put to the back of the gird with a ten second penalty for race one. I was absolutely gutted as my best time during the session was 1.5 seconds better than the last time I raced a Oulton and would of put me in 21st position out of the 33 drivers. The car was tested at multiple points of the flat floor but unfortunately failed on all so I had to accept the punishment.
I headed onto the green flag lap for the first race feeling quite relaxed as I knew I could only go out to set myself up for a better start in race two. As the other cars pulled away from the line my penalty felt like the longest ten seconds of my life. I was eventually allowed to go though. I charged through the first lap and caught up with the car at the back of the field at the end of the first lap. It took me just over a lap to catch the next driver and I quickly overtook him. I gained a further position when the next driver in front of me ran wide at the final corner. I was able to gain one more position and survive a late moment at the first chicane to finish in 28th position. I was pleased with how I had made my way back through the field but a little shocked as my best lap time in the race was over 2 seconds slower than my qualifying. With this in mind I knew there was more to play for in race two.
My getaway from the line in race two was not ideal as I suffered from a bit of wheelspin. I was still able to draw alongside the car in front of me by turn one though, having to take to the grass for some of it. As we then went through the first corner a driver in front span back onto the track. Fortunately I was able to miss the incident but the car just to my right had nowhere to go but the back of the car. I was able to get a really good run out of turn two and made an overtake on the inside of the very fast island bend. After exiting the next corner the safety car boards were shown for the first corner incident. The safety car was out for three laps before racing began again. During the last few laps of the first race I noticed the car now in front of me in race two was holding up the group. of drivers. With this in mind I knew I needed to get past him quickly. I saw my opportunity and went for an ambitious move on the inside into the second chicane. Unfortunately the front wheels locked up and I had to run on in the chicane which lost me two positions. I quickly made up for my mistake though passing the same driver just two corners later. I made one more place up at the final corner of the last lap to finish the race in 25th position. I was a little bit annoyed after the race that my attempted overtake into the second chicane kind of ruined my march up through the pack but at the same time I knew I had to go for it. The overall feeling was gutted that the disqualification kind of ruined my chance of getting good positions but the positives at the improvement in pace were very positive. I now need to continue this momentum into round six at Thruxton on the 2nd of September. I have driven at the circuit before but never races there so I am looking forward to it