Mechanical issues plagued us at the penultimate round of the HiQ NZ Formula First Championship at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park.
Practice one felt good to get back in the car after a long six week break. It was greasy conditions on the track which made it good fun as I am fast and enjoy racing in the wet.
Practice two was dry however we couldn’t convert our pace as we struggled in most areas. We were unable to catch drafts which really hurt us.
Practice three was over before it started for us. Before we had even started the session the team discovered a issue with the engine however we still went out at the start of the session and came straight back in as the problem came back. After returning to the garage we discovered a tappet had come loose and the team is now busy changing the engine.
A frustrating day for me and the team as we missed the final practice.
Saturday and Sunday didn’t go our way unfortunately. Qualifying was like final practice all over again as the car slowed to crawling pace on the out lap which forced me to pull over and sit out the session. As I did not get to set a lap I knew I’d have my work cut out as I would have to start from the very back of the grid that afternoon. Although at the time I thought I wouldn’t be competing for the rest of the weekend as I thought I had blown another engine. Thankfully the team were able to repair what was just a fuel pressure regulator failure and send me out for race one.
Race one started off very well as I managed to get an awesome start off the line and get past five cars by the exit of turn one. However thats where the good ended as the engine just could not put out the power we needed to move up the field. We struggled to catch a draft from the cars in front which smothered our chances of making our way to the front of the field. We managed to hold onto 11th and set a faster time than qualifying which put us further up the grid for race two.
We started from ninth for Race two but we struggled with the power again and ended up losing a position and finishing in tenth. While it was an improvement on Race one it is certainly not where we want to be.
We starting off tenth for the final race of the weekend and we managed to hold onto to another top ten finish.
Overall a frustrating weekend as it was out of our control, however next weekend should be better and I still lead the Rookie of the Year by 92 points. I must finish within 31 points of my teammate Cameron Dance in all three races to hold onto the the title. I am also in contention for a top five in the championship, I need to finish at least 17 points ahead of Arran Crighton in each race to take home a top five finish.
Thanks to all my Supporters who came out over the weekend to cheer me on, it means a lot!
A huge thanks to Dennis Martin and Sabre Motorsport and my engineer Jonathan. Thanks also the the SpeedSport Scholarship trust, Sierra Motor Company, Race Brakes, Quality Tyres, Chicane Racewear. And to my personal sponsors Alastair at Formula Fit HPC, Ryno Power Sports Supplements, Counties Fitness and Cyrus International Cargo.