The final round of the 2018 BMW Compact Cup Championship took place at the Donington Park track in the midlands. In the past I have always gone well at Donington, but weather for the weekend was very unpredictable.
I took to the track for qualifying in cloudy conditions but heavy overnight rain had meant that it was wet. I am not at my most comfortable in the wet conditions and this showed during this session. The track dried out fairly quickly and by the end of the session good times were being set but was still a little cautious. My best time of the session left me in 22nd position out of the 31 entrants. Shortly after qualifying the sun started to shine, and I knew in the back of my head that this was my time to shine.
I took to my position for the start of race 1 and noticed that the track was still a little damp. I adjusted my starting procedure a little and made a good getaway from the line. Unfortunately I was not able to make the most of it as I couldn’t find a gap in between the cars in front of me. I was able to gain a position midway through the first lap when two drivers collided in front of me and one span off the track. At the end of the lap I made an aggressive overtake, following another driver on the inside. I took a little bump for my trouble but made the overtake which is what mattered. During lap two I closed in on the car in front and tried an ambitious overtake on the outside into the final chicane. I was unable to make the move work and lost time. In hindsight, trying this overtake was not a good idea and something I will learn from. Within two laps though I was right back on this driver and worked my way to the inside line this time for the final chicane. At the same time as I moved up the inside, the two drivers in front of me collided and I was able to gain another position on the start finish straight. Less than half a lap later I was able to push the driver in front of me into a mistake and gained another position. At this point there was a gap to the next driver which I started to gain over the next couple of laps. However when going into a right hander I lost the back end of the car and just managed to keep out of the gravel. About half a lap later a car was pulled off the track so I figured I had slid on water from this car. I lost two positions as a result of this mistake, one of which I gained back within one lap. I then closed in on the next driver. I was unable to work a gap over one lap, but then saw an opportunity after getting a great run out of the final corner. I could see the chequered flag waving as I was gaining and it was a photo finish. The timings revealed that I lost out in the battle by 0.009 of a second, finishing in 16th position. I was a little gutted to have lost by such a small margin but was really pleased with my race. I would now have a better starting position for race 2, so I knew this was my time to shine
The lights came on for race 2 and I made a great start. The track then opened up for me on the outside as a number of drivers blocked each other off on the inside of turn one. I swept around the outside and gained numerous positions. I lost a position midway around the first lap but regained this on the start finish straight of lap 2. However as I was going down the craner curves at the start of lap two, the sun reflected off my passenger doorcard which distracted me momentarily and meant that I touched the grass on the outside of the circuit. This meant that I lost control and ran off the track beached in the gravel. I was furious with myself. I had worked my way into 13th position over the first lap and things were looking good for me to gain further positions.
Unfortunately this was a disappointing way for me to end the championship but its done now so this is something that I must learn from