|Nothing major happens on this lap. It's a relatively
uneventful lap, not that there's anything wrong with that.
There are however several little subtle things happening that I'd like to point out, as they set the scene for what happens next.
|Note how Diedrich is taking a completely different line in the
hairpin this time around. Instead of overshooting the corner by a
mile, now he's tucked in close, right up to the inside apex.
Braking into the hairpin, this is the closest I've been yet to Diedrich at the end of the straight. I'm quicker than him in the twisty bits, but he's usually much faster on the straights.
It looks encouraging how the gap has come down, but the real reason is that I've left my braking too late and I'm coming in a bit too hot now. I'm worried about the #35 Prelude that's close on my tail, and as a result I make a mess of this turn.
|Note again how Diedrich has switched to taking the classic racing
line, letting his car accelerate in a smooth arc all the way out to the
right snowbank. If he cleans up his cornering technique like this,
I'll never be able to catch him.
Especially since I've buggered up my own line. Too much speed on the entry now carries me too deep on the exit. Too far sideways, still trying to regain traction, I'm late getting back on the accelerator.
Fortunately the Prelude behind me makes an even a bigger mess of his line, as he's still being closely hounded by Jim Graham.
|I can't afford to give Diedrich this much breathing space.
It's unlikely I'll ever be able to catch and pass him on a straightaway. Ideally, I would like to pass him in the Kink and stay ahead until the twisty section. There I should be able to pull far enough ahead of him that he wouldn't be able to catch me again on the next long straight.
But how the heck will I ever get close enough to pass him in the Kink? It's certainly not going to happen on this lap.
Besides, I'll be lucky if the Prelude doesn't pass me right now.
|Watch the video and count how many times I check my left side
mirror. I know I was slow out of the hairpin and now I'm keeping
a close eye on the Prelude in case Nathan decides to attempt a pass. In
the video you can see the red car reflected in my rearview mirror as he
moves up alongside me.
Having seen how he nearly rammed Jim off the track on the previous lap, I certainly wouldn't want to risk going side-by-side with him through the Kink.
For the moment I hold my line and keep my foot planted on the throttle, hoping that will discourage him from trying to pass. But if he does try to force his way in there, I'm prepared to back right off and let him go. Fortunately he decides not to push his luck, and he backs out first.
Look how far Diedrich is already ahead...
|...and look how close he is now.
He sure is slow in this section. But I'm not close enough to take advantage of it even though I'm pushing as hard as I can.
Actually, I'm pushing far too hard. Pushing too hard is just as bad as not pushing hard enough. In fact, it's usually worse because you're more likely to make a costly mistake.
Pushing too hard, or not hard enough. Either way always ends up slower than the optimum calm smooth line.
|Partly because I desperately want to pass Diedrich, and partly
because I'm being pushed by the Prelude behind me, I came at this
left/right kink with a bit more speed on than usual.
I stay on the gas and let the car drift all the way out to the very edge of the track, using the full width of the track available to me. It sure feels fast. But it's not.
If he wasn't being seriously held up again by the Prelude between us, Jim Graham would almost certainly have passed me right now.
|Only just a wee bit faster and I would have hooked that snowbank on the
Note to self:
It's time to take another deep breath, count to a hundred again, and chill out...
|We reach the left turn at the end of the back straight and it's the same old story.
I'm faster than him all through this stuff, but Diedrich only needs to make his car a bit wider and there's nowhere for me to get by him.
|Approaching the second left, Diedrich defends the inside line so I
go wide on the entry, planning to cut left behind him on the exit of
Note that I'm taking my usual line here. Remember that on the previous lap Diedrich understeered straight off to the right here. Note also that I'm on the snowy surface with traction, whereas Diedrich is on the polished smooth dark ice surface.
This has good potential to turn into a passing opportunity...
|But Diedrich foils my plan completely by slowing down to a
crawl. He doesn't understeer off to the right as I had
But this is just plain wrong.
Approaching the corner slowly, tight on the inside, and leaving the corner slowly, tight on the inside, is clearly not the fastest way around any corner!
Obviously his objective here isn't to try and pull away from me in a burst of speed. The objective seems to be to go as slow as possible so as to maintain as much steering control as possible, in order to be able to block my line as much as possible to keep me behind him in the sections where I have an advantage over him.
|It's not like he's slowing and pulling aside to leave me room
either. He's still sort of in the middle of the road.
There is just enough room on the left that I could try pushing in there. But check how those front wheels of his are still pointing full left...
|Seeing that his front wheels are still pointing left, I make a snap decision and swing right.|
|Instantly his steering comes over to the right and he slams the door
The steam is starting to whistle out of my ears again...
|I have a good run on him in the final turn leading onto the pits
straight, but I'm not sure yet whether he's going left or right from
I strongly suspect he's waiting to see which way I go before deciding to go the same way...
As I'm closing in, still unsure of whether to pass on the right or left, Diedrich suddenly pitches his car sideways.
Instead of being able to accelerate onto the straight, now I actually have to jump on the brakes to avoid hitting him.
|And while I'm still on the brakes, he hits the gas and takes off.
|Any further chances of passing before the next long straightaway are eliminated by the presence of a yellow flag at the finish line.|
|The tow-truck on the left has just pulled someone out of the
Diedrich takes full advantage of the no-passing zone to slow right down so he can best position his car tight over to the right for the fast left-hander leading onto the straight.
|Rounding the corner onto the fast straight, he's already on the gas and pulling away from me...