Spanish Nats Report.
The third race of the Spanish Nats arrived to Vigo, one of my favorite tracks. So I expected to be in the fight for the victory and to reach a good result.
I had a lot of things to test, however free practice during the hole Friday and Saturday morning were in wet conditions. My first fuel tank in dry conditions was during the controlled practice just before the first qualification. So we decided to start with a very similar setup than Valencia, where the car was very good one month ago.
The track hadn’t to much grip and I don’t feel very comfortable with the car because it was very nervous and difficult to drive. We move to more rear toe in, and it worked a bit better.
I hoped that during the qualifications the grip would improve step by step, but surprisingly the grip stays very low the whole day. All the team Serpent had the same problem during the Saturday, too much steering and low traction.
After the four qualification heats we were on the four place two seconds behind the poleman Cabezas, Victor Gonzalez and Peracho. The distance between the four first drivers were less than two seconds!!!
Sunday morning we revised the car carefully, and prepared it for the long final. Because of the high tyre wear in the outside wheels we decided to move to harder tyres in the outside, so we used 32-35 in the front and 35-37 in the rear trying to equilibrate the tyre wear in the two sides of the car.
During the finalist training the car was very good, and I was much more comfortable with it doing very good lap times and very constant with a low tyre wear and fuel consumption. So I was very confident for the final.
The final started and in the first turn I had a bit crash with Peracho who started just in front of me. He lost a lot of time, and I lost my position with Alberto Alonso who starter 5th . During the first laps I was behind Alberto a bit nervous because Victor and Cabezas were running faster than we. Finally I forced the mistake of Alberto and with no traffic I started to do very good laptimes. Before the first refueling I was just behind Victor Gonzalez, but I lost 2 seconds in my first refueling, so I have to reduce the gap another time. Then just before the second refueling I was again behind Victor, he stopped two laps before me, so I had no traffic two laps. My father did a very good refueling this time and I returned just ahead Victor and in the first position due to Cabezas lost some seconds in the entry of the pit lane.
So in the minute 9 of the final I was first, and in theory I had to do one less refueling than Cabezas. All good news! But Alberto Alonso broke their gas servo just in front of me and we crashed resulting in my car on the grass. So I lost my position with Oscar. The next minutes just before the tyres change Cabezas and I were very close. I think that I was a little bit faster with small tyres. I did my tyres change at minute 25, two laps before Cabezas, and six seconds slower!!!! So I lost my advantage of his extra fuel stop in the tyres change. Cabezas return just ahead me of his tyre change. Victor was in first position because he wanted to not change tyres and Cabezas and I were second and third with new tyres. I press him durning some minutes, but I could not pass him. When we arrived behind Victor, Cabezas pass him very fast and I have other crash with him losing some seconds. I achieved to reduce the gap another time but just when I was behind him I did a little mistake damaging one rear tyre. So I couldn’t press him as I was doing. So the only way to win the race was to do one less pistop. I entered to the pit at minute 40:10 so I have to do 4:50 with one fuel tank!!!!! Almost imposible taking into account that I was doing my pitstops at 4:10!!!!! My mechanics advice me to drive very smooth in order to save fuel. In fact Cabezas returned just behind me after his pitstop. So I had to stay first saving fuel with Oscar pressing me!!! I could do it, however just in the last lap, my engine ran out of fuel, just in the entrance of the pit. So I did an extra pit to finish the race in second place!
In conclusion we have a very excited race, with good fights where I was the fastest driver during the final. The car was amazing the whole 45 minutes, very very fast and with low and equilibrated tyre wear.
Thanks a lot to my mechanics for their good work, to my sponsors, Procar, Serpent, Matrix and Rc World for their support and advices!!! I will try to do better next time!
My set-up: 966 Spanish Nats Vigo 2011
Till next race!