Tom Barleys VW Cup Blog
The VW Cup is an very competitive championship. I know this, the team know this, and when you're 7 tenths off pole but starting 11th everyone knows it. I felt I had really good pace at Brands, on the world famous GP loop. What a magnificent circuit, tight and technical where the brave and committed are rewarded.
It's never ideal to start outside the top 10, but I had to dust myself off and remember that the lap time from qualifying was actually very promising. I believe it would have secured pole the last time the VW Cup raced here. Race one was green and a promising opening few laps saw me climb to 8th place. 6th would be the ideal finish as that secures pole position for race 2. Whilst in 8th I was victim to an over ambitious move from behind which put me off the track and into the gravel. Keeping my foot in I got the car out and did manage to continue but needless to say time and places were lost. This was then made worse by a 5 second time penalty for exceeding the track limits. I cannot argue or protest this, I think it's fair to say I was using all of what's available and then some to get the lap times down and chase those ahead. 13th would be my race 1 finish. Not the result I have come to expect from myself, and I feel I owed the team more. Never have I worked with such a great group of guys who all have the same passion as myself to succeed and smile whilst doing it. I was going to have to put things right in race 2.
Miraculously the weather holds off and it's still warm and dry for race 2 at the end of the day. The British GTs have been out for their 2 hour endurance and rubbered the racing line in nicely. I made a steady start and climbed a few spots to finish 10th. Important championship points as I'm now sitting 8th. Not bad for my debut year in such a championship.
To be very critical on myself I should have extracted more from this meeting. Good results and strong pace this season have gradually increased my expectation and this was the first qualifying session of the season that I genuinely believed pole could be mine. It wasn't to be, and thats racing, so you move onwards and look towards the next challenge, the next race weekend, the next 'one 10/10 lap' and the next race start. I'm so focused on that, that Brands is now a mere memory. I watch the video below to remind me of it though! Hold on, it's a hell of a ride!
Tom Barley #47