Our Elkhart Lake adventures have come to an end after 47 laps of an intense race… For the luckiest ones. Let’s rewind and start from the beginning.
One week before the race, we were still brainstorming on how to get on pace, relentlessly trying different sets of parameters on the car, with no quantifiable results.
Two or three days before the race, something started to take shape. We weren’t too sure, but there was something in the air, and while we still seemed to be lacking some speed, by our projections, it as going to be alright somehow. Carefully planning diferent strategies, monitoring telemetry to adjust to various weather settings and track temperatures, saturday was coming fast at us and we’d finally have the chance to have a real go at it.
Saturday, 3pm CET, Qualifications.
Davy, who wasn’t the most confident before the race, pulled it together and had a great lap putting him 5th on the grid early in the session, and would end up 6th after improving on his second lap, putting him just in front on Greger Huttu. That was it, the moment we’ve been waiting for. We’ve put ourselves in gear and we ain’t going to stop. But it doesn’t come without pressure either, and mostly from ourselves.
Ilkka might have had an exceptional pace, the conditions still weren’t easy. Maybe knowing the possibilities and wanting to do really good or who knows what goes on in these moments… no clean lap was recorded in time and thus he was going to start last on the grid in 31st position, with a race on his hands.
João put down a 1:35:667, about 5 tenths off Davy, and 16 positions down from the frenchman on a tightly packed grid, with Dion just behind him.
4pm CET. Race time.
It started alright, great reaction time for everyone. Davy in front stayed on the cautious side of things and left ample room for everyone to stay clean. Alas that wasn’t going to be enough, as on the outside of turn 2, he would become a passenger to his car, losing the rear abruptly and unexpectedly, causing unfortunate collisions with some of the following cars. And that was the end of his race. We’ll be studying and try to understand what happened, as we didn’t encounter this problem in many laps of practice, especially at this corner.
Behind him João and Dion masterfully managed the situation, not losing ground and avoiding any further troubles. At the back, Ilkka had a cautious start, as he was definitely going to pick his moments to go through the field and score important championship points. No rush, but a calculated race and as it appeared, a unique 1 stop strategy against all odds, that eventually gained him a few seconds overall, and even more, as it also saved him from getting stuck behind other cars in between passing zones. It was a bold move that worked pretty well, as the Finn went from 31st to 12th on the finish line, putting 19 cars behind him in the process. Great recovery, outstanding pace and control.
So while the race weekend was a miss for us in terms of results, as we had plenty more to offer, we hit the mark on many things as well, upon which we’ll keep building. Looking forward to Monza now, as we start to prepare for the race, with the same care as we always do, but with a little extra hint of excitment on top!
See ya in Monza and enjoy the rest of the pictures we took of the race !