In 2014 a lot of things are brand new for me, and coming to Rockingham was no exception – new track again! The only track experience here was my track walk Saturday evening, so when I got out in the first practice session Sunday I had a mission – learn the track, and learn it quick.
The two practice sessions went alright. I was feeling more and more comfortable with the circuit and actually, I started to kind of like it. Racing on the oval part was a cool experience and the smaller part of the track on the infield, reminded me of racing back in Denmark and Sweden where the circuits are quite small and narrow as well. But there was still work to do before qualy, so I spent a lot of time looking through the data, to catch up with the last few tenths on track.
Going out to qualy is always a big challenge, where a lot of things need to be putted together right. With the Avon tyres there are only one or two laps to put the time in, and with these few laps it is very important to put all your best sectors together, avoid any traffic from both faster and slower cars and just be on the limit. I managed to get the most of this right and set a good first lap out, only five tenth off my teammates in the pole sitting car, a good feeling on my first visit to Rockingham.
Sunday evening I once again spent a lot of time looking through data, so I could be prepared to improve even more in the race. On race day Monday morning we had a small warm-up of ten minutes and split into two that only leaved room for one out lap, a flying lap and an in lap. Trying out the things I have learned by the data the night before, I put in 2nd fastest lap time in the GT4 category. This made me feel even more ready for the 2 hour race later that day.
I only got into 3rd gear before the engine stalled and almost exploded in smoke
As the race started, my teammate Aleksander Schjerpen was in the car. A combination of our best qualification times made us start in 6th position. He did a great job by pushing the cars in front and putting us into 5th place. Just before the pitstop he was on the tail to 4th position, so things were looking good.
Our pit stop turned out perfectly but just 300 meters after, the disaster happened. I only got into 3rd gear before the engine stalled and almost exploded in smoke. Nothing to do, we were out of the race!
It was an empty feeling being spectator to the rest of the race. I really had the feeling that we once again could have been on the podium, but sometimes these things just happen. Reflection afterwards, it was still a very good weekend, despite a very unlucky and poor result. The team did a fantastic job and put a lot of effort in the preparation, strategy and setup for the race, so I feel sorry for them coming home with this result as well.
I think we will back even stronger for Silverstone, and I’m more than ready to kick some a**!