|It has taken me another lap to do it, but I'm catching up to
Hiroki's Festiva again, with Ken Staples' yellow Pulsar still ahead of
Nearing the end of the Rubber race, the ice surface has been buffed smooth and it is now extremely slick.
|As we turn right into the S-bend, you can see that Ken, Hiroki, and
I are still taking completely different lines.
Ken starts in from way wide on the left then cuts tight to the inside on this right turn.
Hiroki stays more to the middle of the track on the entry to this turn, then goes wide to the left on the exit.
I hang a bit more to the right of middle on the entry, then slow more than either of these two other guys, hoping to stay right on the exit so I get a good run into the left-hand portion of the S-bend where I know I'm faster than Hiroki.
|Still trying to turn right, I'm having problems keeping in as tight
as I would like because the ice is getting really slick.
Ken however has his car tucked nicely over to the right side of the track, where he is benefiting from the better track still available on the untravelled section of track.
Hiroki is over on the left somewhere hidden in the blowing snow.
|Ken drives his Pulsar all the way around the outside edge of the
left turn up ahead, keeping on the snow covered portion of the track.
I would also really like to get my car to go straight ahead from here, along the right edge of the track, but I came at it from a tighter angle than Ken did and I'm carrying a bit too much speed, so my car drifts further to the left than I would have liked.
|Still, I'm better positioned than Hiroki, who is way over against the left snowbank from where he has to make a much sharper turn than I do into the left bend.|
|And again Hiroki first swings right to cross over and avoid the slippery track surface, then has to slow in order to drag his car back in an even sharper left turn, intending as usual to cross back over the slippery surface and exit the left turn positioned in the middle of the track.|
|Hiroki is very slow and vulnerable at this point. I'm already
building speed and hoping to cut left of him on the exit of this turn.
I've been in this exact same position before, thinking I've already got him beat, only to have him pinch across my line, forcing me to back off.
|But this time Hiroki is really struggling to get his car turned
The ice has become treacherously slick. As a result, instead of turning back where the front wheels are now aimed toward the centre of the track, the Festiva continues to slide further away to the right, leaving the door wide open for me to stick my nose in there.
|Yes! I've finally got him!
I know that once he has his tires hooked up with traction, he's quicker than me accelerating in a straight line. But this time I've managed to get up beside him, with me on the inside for the upcoming left turn.
He could try to stay with me on this short straight, but then he will be forced to run wide around the outside of the hairpin and I'll certainly beat him there.
It's a done deal. I know I've got him beat now.
Yes! Yes. er, maybe. no. Aw, nuts!
That's when I notice the yellow flag being waved at the next flagging station (under the arrow).
|Damn. Damn. Damn!
If there is a waved yellow flag here, then there must have been a steady yellow at the previous station. I can't remember seeing a yellow flag there, but I'm not certain that there wasn't one there.
If there was a steady yellow at the previous station it means I just passed Hiroki under yellow, which is a big no-no.
In previous years I have inadvertently missed seeing yellow flags, while focused too intently on making a pass, and been very lucky to get away with it without receiving a penalty. I can't risk it this time, so I give a frustrated wave to indicate to the flagging marshalls that I've seen their yellow flag, and that I'm being a good boy and slowing down to let Hiroki get back ahead of me, in the hope that this will convince them it wasn't an intentional infraction of the yellow flag no-passing rule.
|Hiroki, who I suspect hasn't even seen the waved yellow flag since my car was blocking his view, and who clearly wasn't expecting me to slow up so suddenly and prematurely before the corner, goes flashing past me on the right.|
|Not only does he go flashing past me, but Hiroki also goes flashing past the actual corner, running way wide into the deep snow and very nearly joining the car that brought out the yellow and is now stuck out there in the far snowbank.|
|If you go back up and check images #4 and 5 on this page, you'll
see that there was no steady yellow flag displayed at the flagging
station before the waved yellow.
That means my pass on Hiroki had been completely legitimate. I didn't need to slow up and let him get back ahead of me. Fortunately Hiroki was so surprised by my gift to him that he ran wide in the corner and gifted the position right back to me!
Racing sure is fun, isn't it?