We set off for Spa last Wednesday, cramped in the back of the family car, took about 4 ½ hours by Eurotunnel and road.
Many great drivers consider spa to be their favourite circuit, and now I can see why, after walking the track with my engineer. It’s 7 ½ kilometres long its fast, flowing and undulating and I knew it would be very challenging once I actually got to drive it.
In the evening, when you’re racing, there’s not much social life. We had supper at an Italian restaurant with my family and team mate Maro Engel then back to the hotel for an early night.
We had free practice early on Thursday morning, which went reasonably well, I was fourth in first practice and 10th in the second session. We made some set up changes in order to make the car slightly better for qualifying later that day, and the changes we made worked very well because I managed to qualify 3rd for the first race. Friday saw us take part in the second qualifying session and again I qualified third. I thought I had a beter chance of pole this time but on my best lap I found traffic at the last corner and had to throw it away. I was relatively pleased with my qualifying performances, you can get two good finishing positions from third especially at this track as there are many overtaking opportunities.
Race one: I won!! Really pleased, that’s my second of the year now and it’s put me back up to second in the championship. I got a really good start and was able to get into the lead by the first corner. However, there’s a seriously long straight afterwards, where the pole sitter got a good tow from me and managed to retake the lead. I had to sit behind him for two more laps before I re-took him, and pushed hard to get a good 3 ½ second lead which I maintained to the flag.
Friday night saw heavy rain and by morning, the track was extremely wet. The officials decided to start the race under a safety car, which a lot of drivers thought was unnecessary. Anyway, it was fairly uneventful, apart from the fact that I couldn’t see where I was going because of the amount of spray from the tyres of the cars in front of me. There were only four racing laps because an accident brought out the safety car again, and we crossed the line in formation, with me staying third. Bit boring, but a good points haul.
All in all, a very good weekend. I’ve closed the gap on the championship leader. However, he’s still a long way ahead and I’ve got to do something spectacular or he’s got to do something fairly disastrous if I’m to win the championship!
Another busy week this week, I’m off to Pembrey, a race track in , renowned for testing, where I’ll be coaching a young Spanish driver who aims to do either FBMW or FRenault in 2008. then on Thursday, it’s back to , this time to Zolder, where I’ll compete in a race called the Masters. This is a big, one off race, where all the top teams and drivers from around Europe and go head to head.
Really looking forward to it and I hope to be able to give you guys good news next week.