I really enjoyed my first experience of ‘the Rock’ as the track was so twisty it was easy to follow the entire race from any position. Also, it may seem like a small matter, but one to note – their facilities for the spectator were excellent. I had one of the nicest burgers I’ve ever tasted, and the toilets had a ‘new’ feeling about them, which is always a bonus when you are expecting portaloos!
Ahead of the racing I got the feeling that most of the drivers weren’t too thrilled about the track as it was so intense – I was told that it was one of those tracks where the driver needed total concentration at all times as there were constant corners, and it was also pretty brutal on the body as the cars really moved about under the bumps and hefty kerbs.
As it turned out, the tight turns provided us with some great racing as the cars really went into battle as they vied for positions. For most of the first hour the front 6 cars were so close to each they kept swapping places and there was plenty of shunting across the track.
During the first hour Alex Buncombe was looking very strong in the RJN Nissan having pushed through the field with the beasty GT-R.
However, the biggest drama of the race was Andrew Howard’s huge crash in the Aston. It was an epic spin as he smashed against the wall and it looked like the car was in pieces. Thankfully Andrew was out of the car in seconds and immediately looked after by the medics. I spoke to him straight after and he was frustrated not to be able to continue.
Health wise he was fine and full of praise for the medical staff at Rockingham. There was speculation being around the pits that given the condition of the car after the crash it would put the team out for several races, I guess time will tell about that. I really like the Aston and it was quite horrifying to see the tyre blow and spin the car like that; Andrew was a total passenger.
Lotus Sport UK’s Sailes Bolisetti and Phil Glew also provided some pit lane drama as the Indian came in with the back of the car on fire – a real issue given the fuel hoses in the pits, but his team were on it straight away and drama was thankfully avoided.
Back on the track and the fight between Jann Mardenborough and Allan Simonsen was seriously exciting. Their on-going battle as they kept swapping places in the battle for third was intense, but the Ferrari ultimately came out on top. At the head of the field Joe Osborne had been running away with it, and then on the last lap Simonsen’s quest continued as he passed Osborne’s Trackspeed team-mate Phil Keen in a cheeky move.
That was the first two-hour endurance race of the season and it was endless drama and extremely good fun. I can’t wait for Brands Hatch!!!