I went up to Canada again this weekend for DMCC Round 5 at Mosport. It was nice having a change of scenery as this round is near Toronto and the only round outside of Quebec. Also, everyone speaks English, so I was able to actually talk to the fans this time. I drove up on Saturday and met up with my crew guy, Kevin. The event was on Sunday, and everything went pretty quick since it was scheduled to end by 5pm.
We got a couple of hours of practice in the morning. I made about 10-15 runs. The track was a short straightaway into a fast full-throttle fourth gear right turn, then slow way down, downshift to third, left turn, manji, double apex left, and slow last right turn. I got the entry down after a few runs, and the slow part of the track was easy (because V8). The only thing that was getting me was coming out of the fast first turn and slowing down for the slow second turn. I kept either overshooting the slow left turn and parking it to avoid going off track or coming up to it too slow and having to e-brake extend. I did have several good runs in practice where I nailed it though. I noticed that my brakes were being weird too. Sometimes I would get on the brakes and it would be normal, pedal goes down a little and brake pressure gradually increases. Other times, as soon as I even touched the pedal, the brakes would almost lock jerking the car when I was barely on the pedal. Not sure why this was happening, or maybe it was just in my head.
We went into qualifying after practice. I was planning on driving the first run at 90% and just concentrating on getting the braking perfect going into the second turn. I came out of the first turn, transitioned, got on the brakes, shifted to 3rd, got back on throttle, and the transmission came out of gear! Uggh. I straightened out and got a zero for that run. I guess I didn’t put it into gear all the way causing it to pop out.
So this was a crappy situation. I debated whether to be conservative or to go for it on the second run. I had only spun out once in practice and knew it was unlikely to happen again, but it would have been dumb not to qualify trying to do a run at 100%. So I did the second run ultra conservative going slower than usual and with a lot less angle. I concentrated on hitting 3rd gear, and it worked out fine this time. I expected to be towards the bottom of the top 16 because of how safe the run was, but I ended up in 9th place. So when they announced me in 9th, I was thinking, “OK, this is not so bad, at least I won’t be going against one of the top-ranked guys in top 16.” Then, they announced 8th place, Briggs. So now I was thinking, “God, why would you let that happen?” Apparently, Briggs didn’t have a good qualifying session either, so now #1 and #2 in the championship standings would be battling in top 16.
I was still feeling confident about it. I beat Briggs in the last round. He had some transmission issues in practice so wasn’t out there as much as others, and I never got to pair up with him to practice following and see how fast he was. I followed him first, and I decided to be more on the aggressive side to make sure I could stay with him throughout the course. I took off next to him, got in behind, and went through the first turn about a car length behind. We transitioned and started braking for the second turn. I think he got on the brakes a second before me, because all I remember is me closing in on him way too fast. I stabbed the brakes instinctively, and the car snapped straight. Uggh! I always do that! I kicked it back out and finished the run decently close to him. In the video it doesn’t look like the closing rate was that crazy, but for some reason, I panicked thinking I was going to crash into him. I think I have terrible depth perception.
Since I was able to catch him when following, I thought I might have a chance to pull out a gap and get a OMT. So I wanted to stay tight on all the clipping points and go as fast as possible for my lead run. I got through the first turn well and got on the brakes for the second turn, ended up slowing down too much and knocking over the inner clipping point, and finished the run with a few car lengths gap on Briggs. Kevin told me Briggs made the same mistake that I did and his car snapped straight in the braking zone. However, he got the win. I was told the judges’ rationale for the decision was that my entry speed on my lead run was slower than my qualifying speed, and I slowed down excessively at the second clip, which suggested that I was doing some “funky business” to mess up Briggs. I agree. Those runs were crap, but I wasn’t trying to screw up Briggs. I was just plain sucking.
Here are the videos of the two runs. Thanks to Pierre-Olivier Belisle for the footage!
We watched the rest of the competition, which was filled with nice phazing and crashes in that braking zone. Congrats to Pay Cyr for the win. He drove great. Then, I had a nice 8-hour drive home to think about my mistakes… haha. Both Briggs and Laflamme, 2nd and 3rd in the points standings, lost in top 8, so they only gained a few points on me, and I’m still leading the championship.
Thanks to Kevin and Cedric for working on the car and making awesome shirts and hats. Check out Cedric’s brand, WIDENED, on Facebook. The car is still in one piece, so on to round 6 at St. Eustache!