First Round Bears Fruit for Sutton
Oulton Park Round 1
After winning the Team Hard scholarship the first round of the Volkswagen Racing Cup soon came around.
We had a pre-race test on the Friday before the race which was on the Monday. The testing did not go as planned as there were several problems with car. Due to these issues we only managed 4 laps testing in the car. So after little testing, I didnâ€™t feel as confident as I would have liked. However, I was more than up for the challenges ahead. Upon arriving at the track Monday morning, hoping that the previous problems with the car had been solved, it was straight into qualifying.
It was an extremely cold morning for qualifying, so getting heat into the tires was going to be difficult. As we were waiting in the holding area to go out on the track my Mechanic Darelle told me to take it easy and build my speed up progressively. Out on the track I was building my speed up lap by lap. By lap 4 I felt as though I had enough heat in my tires to start pushing. But, to my dismay, I pushed too hard spun and hit a curb. This caused the tracking to be out of alignment, preventing me from getting the best from the car. So my hopes for a top ten finish in qualifying were not looking promising. After the disappointments in qualifying I ended up in 17th out of 29 drivers, leaving me a lot of work to do in the races.
As I was getting strapped in my car for the first race Tony Gilham, my team boss, came to speak to me. His wise words gave me the confidence to go out and do what the team know I am capable of. We had two warm up laps before the race started so it was essential that I had my tires up to the optimal temperature. I made a great start, and was soon up to 13th place. So now I had 9 laps to pick off as many drivers as possible. After some good overtaking I finished in 9th place. I couldnâ€™t believe I had finished in the top ten in my first race. It was an amazing feeling and my confidence shot through the roof for the second race.
After a great race 1 everyoneâ€™s expectations were higher than before. I had a good getaway from the line and I was soon up to 7th place and catching the leading group. Then the safety car came out and bunched everyone up. After 4 laps behind the safety car it went back in the pits and we were back racing. I knew we only had around 2 laps left so I had to make short work of getting past the guys in front if I wanted to move up the field some more. By the flag I was in 5th place. What a great way to end the weekend.
Lap by lap I was getting better and better and my confidence grew with every corner. I have had only 29 laps in the VW car and to have finished in the top 5 is out of this world. I am confident with a few test days I will soon be fighting for podiums and even wins!!
I would just like to say a massive thank you to all of Team Hard for everything they have done for me over the weekend, without them I would not be racing this year.
Credit to Craig McAllister of SMS Images for the Pictures