Monza – aka Ferrari Land !

Hello Everyone … a quick summary of our first racing weekend !

Friday afternoon

This was NOT planned. Our first free practice was scheduled for Saturday morning. However, at our last test date, we broke the gearbox and it needed to be broken in. So, with the team it was decided to join the free practice on Friday with all the other cars.  We ended up being 74 cars on the track ! It went well, without hazel, making sure to avoid traffic and cars coming my way. After 50 minutes I was finally allowed to speed up at a regular pace.

Saturday : Free Practice

It was business as usual getting to grips with the car after not having driven it for 4 weeks ! Times were coming down, but nothing could be done against the Ferraris.  We knew they had very good top speed and excellent braking, thus very good in both sectors 1 and 2.  However, I was clearly the fastest in sector 3, which required a car with aerodynamic in two corners: Ascari and Parabolica.

Saturday : Qualifying

We did our best amongst the Italian race horse (Ferrari) and bulls (Lamborghini). I thought of holding P3, but lost it in the last two laps to another Ferrari. I was the little German car surrounded by Italians, ready to have me for lunch, maybe dessert, after their expresso !

Saturday : Qualifying race

Staring P4, we were on the clean side of the track. Unfortunately, the car in front had a slow start compared to the row of cars on the right.  I just followed, and held my breath after seeing three cars entering the first corner – someone was going to crash!  You simply do NOT enter the first chicane at Monza with three cars – two yes, NOT three. It was inevitable ! Two cars did not turn and went straight into the 2nd leading car. I avoided them, but was hit ! I was super worried that my right rear differential had been hit, but continued. Very luckily, the car went well, no wheels came off and the car felt okay – I was P2 ! After 4 laps a safety car was deployed, then a restart.  Then a full course yellow (FCY) was deployed followed by a safety car, then a restart.  Finally, we got a red flag which stopped the race. All this in less than 20 minutes. It was simply carnage ! I am not sure whether it was the heat (32 degrees on the track), or the testosterone, but everyone behind me went nuts ! I did finish P2, so staring P2 for the main race.

Sunday : Main race

To avoid the first corner incident I talked with the driver in P1. We had agreed that once the safety car was away, we would start the race.  Unfortunately there was a miscommunication, as he had said I should wait for him to accelerate. Well, I accelerate, took off and had to lift ! Result : I lost 3 position after the first corner, but no incident, no crash !  It took me a while, but after 7 laps I regained 2nd and simply cruised to the finish, managing my position.

The boss had specific instruction: gain as main points as possible in the land of Ferrari and that’s exactly what we accomplished !

A great thanks to my sponsors and partners… Karim

Qualifying race:

Main race : (watch the 4-8 lap!)