We finished Saturday’s VLN race in third place after quite a lot of challenges.
After three victories in a row we had some challenges to overcome this weekend. It started with some technical problems on Friday, and that meant zero laps for me before qualifying Saturday morning.
The car was ok in the quali, but we are really struggling with the heat and are down on power compared to earlier. We drive around 20 kph slower on the straights than normal. My second lap in qualifying was 08.47, and then I tried to go faster on the third lap when my tyre separated. Then Kenneth drove 08.45 and that was good enough for P2.
I started the race from fifth position in starting group 2. When we came out on the start/finish straight I saw the car in pole position hit the throttle, and so did I. The start was good, and into the first corner I was third in starting group 2, and first in SP3T.
On the first lap up from Bergwerk I was easily passed by the 303 car, and then a couple of laps later I was easily passed by the 330 car on Dötinger Höhe. Our car was just so slow, and I was struggling with the balance. All in all it was quite frustrating, but we were still hanging in there when I handed over the car to Anders.
Anders is our fourth driver for the 6 hour race, and he did a fine job. But suddenly he ran out of fuel. We lost a lot of time on this, and it was nothing Håkon or Kenneth could do. We also go two stop & go-penalties, and I was to blame for both.
First we got one for a jump start. I haven’t seen the video from the start yet, and maybe it was a jump start. But I have seen others jump the start way more than me earlier, and they have not been punished. Like in VLN1 in 2014, for example, where I was in pole position, but where our competitor jumped the start and went straight into the lead before the lights went out…
Then we got a stop & go because of something that happened in code60 zone. I was behind a driver who was driving in 50 kph. I went side by side with him, since I followed the rules and drove in 60 kph, but then I slowed down to 50 and stayed by his side until the green flag. This was apparently not ok, even though I know other drivers who have done the same thing many times before…
So after 12 seasons in the VLN with zero stop & go, I got two on Saturday.
Anyway, this was not our day and we lost a couple of laps when we ran out of fuel. But we still managed a third place. The team never gave up, and with some solid driving and some very good pit stops we earned another podium.
We’ll be back September 24th.
Saturday night party with Dennis Olsen, trying not to miss the plane home: