Sam Morgans Blog
After a difficult time at Spa Franchorchamps, my confidence was a little more dented than my car! I was changing from the right hand drive car with a Touring Car style pedal box with no brake servo, back to my white Volkswagen Racing built Golf GTi which has a servo and is left hand drive. Shouldnâ€™t be an issue as Iâ€™ve driven it before, should it?
I had never been around the GP circuit at Brands Hatch, so the test on Friday would allow me to get used to the car and the circuit, or at least that was the plan. With almost 50 cars on circuit at any one time, I could barely get a lap in before a red flag came out. This happened time after time, so progress was slow. I just wasnâ€™t in tune with the car, I didnâ€™t feel comfortable and I just couldnâ€™t gel with it. After a telling off from the Birthday Boy (Dad) I sat with Tony to see where I was going wrong. Darelle was working HARD. making changes too. Tony got me to focus on the job in hand and I instantly knocked 7 or 8 seconds off of my lap times in the last session of the day, when I got a clear lap. High hopes for qualifying the next day. Off to party for Dadâ€™s birthday....hopefully heâ€™s calmed down! Great laugh with the lads from the team. Massive laugh! I though David Sutton was going to choke to death at one point, he was laughing that HARD!!
We had a late night but I was up bright and early for qualifying, even though our session was late in the day. I spent time on the car with Darelle, got lunge lessons from Gav and more serious advice from Tony. I was ready, qualifying here I come. Remembering the earlier advice I set about warming the car up, tyres, brakes and more importantly, me. I was off, as the pit boards were shown, I could see I was coming up through the field of drivers. It was always going to be tight, push hard enough to qualify just in case of a red flag, make sure I did the mandatory 3 laps for the MSA and keep myself a gap so I donâ€™t get held up. My best lap turned out to be my last lap, it was a P15 start for race one, I had set myself a top 15 target and achieved that. Car felt good and I was happy with it, 15th out of 27 drivers all of which had more car racing experience than me. Iâ€™ll take that! The top 11 drivers split by just 8/10ths of a second!
Race one and I positioned my car on the P15 starting slot, it was a long way to the front but I was confident I could make some places. I started well and pushed HARD. towards the first corner, the notorious Paddock Hill Bend. Cover the inside, donâ€™t get punted wide, accelerate down the hill, going to plan so far and I made a place or two. Into Surtees for my first ever racing lap and then along the straight heading towards Hawthorns. BANG, a hit from behind and I was off, managed to get back on and I was dead last. I was disappointed, but thatâ€™s racing. Focus, determination and some HARD driving got me after the pack and I was pretty much on it time wise. I caught the next car up, passed him, and did this again and again. Watching the time count down each time I went down the main staright, could I catch and pass just one more, yes. Iâ€™d made it back up to 18th. Frustrating as I had lost 3 places from my starting position, but the team were chuffed that I had come back through. Sector times looked ok too, so I was getting there!
Race two, and even further to the front this time! Lights were on, seemed like ages, and then I was off, too much wheel spin and I lost several places off of the start, let the challenge commence. I managed to regain places and then I caught up to a 4 car battle for 10th place. At the front of the battle was my teammate David Sutton, he was defending well from another driver who in turn was defending from another teammate Tom Barley. Behind him and trying to pass tome was the Scirocco of Kieran griffin. That was it, we were all locked in battle for a few laps. Suddenly Dave pulled over with what looked like flames from the exhaust and we continued to try to pass each other. I saw a gap and decided to have a go at passing Kieran into the hairpin at Druids, we swapped a little paint and I got past, but down into Graham Hill Bend, he had the legs on me and, to be honest, I didnâ€™t put up much of a fight as I really wanted to finish. We managed to overtake the red golf of Richard Morgan (No relation) and then the checkered flag was out. I had my best finish in the Volkswagen Racing Cup, a solid 12th place. I was over the moon with the result. My times were encouraging too, on the last lap I posted times to match some of the front running cars.
Car was great, team were on it and I felt part of the car again. Some great positives to take into the break before I head to Donington Park Circuit in October. I love it there. And I â€˜podiumâ€™dâ€™ at both of my previous visits too, hope I can do it again! I REALLY canâ€™t wait. I went HARD. at Brands Hatch, but â€˜you ainâ€™t seen nothing yetâ€™ Iâ€™ll be even HARDer at DP!I would just like to thank my sponsors Aetna Group UK, IT Installations and Pelican Helpdesk for their continued support. No forgetting my friends and family who follow me all over for my racing, whether itâ€™s in person or via facebook, twitter or my website www.sammorgan41.co.uk.