In the first of a new series, Adam Carroll recalls his final corner pass on Edward Sandström at Monza in 2013, which reminded Audi of what they had missed out on and marked the dream start to a relationship with Gulf Racing which continues today in the World Endurance Championship.
That was my first race for the team as a McLaren factory driver and I was placed with Gulf. It was a full Pro line-up that year and I was part of the team with Nico Verdonck and Rob Bell. Monza was the first weekend of the season and although qualifying wasn’t particularly competitive, in the race because the line-up was so strong, we managed to drag it into the top ten. I think Monza was one of the tracks where it was as competitive as it was going to be, because the McLaren was quite decent in a straight line. I got in for the final stint in fourth and I was absolutely flat out, giving it everything the car had.
It was going to take something to help come our way, I got alongside Sandström in the Audi a couple of times and he was really good to race with, really fair, but once it settled down he probably had the legs on us a bit. Once it settled down, he was able to open up around a car’s length, which was just that little bit too much.
But I never give up right until it’s over – I thought ‘it’s probably too far now to get alongside and have a go, but if anything happens I’m still here’ and sure enough, as we approached Ascari I could see a Nissan a little further up the road which was going slowly.
Sandström had to brake a bit early to make sure he didn’t catch him at the wrong point in the corner and try to get a run on him down the straight, but I was able to get a run on both of them. I went to the outside, suckered him into going too deep on the brakes into Parabolica and was able to cut back on the exit. I think we managed to get him by 28 thousands of a second over the line.
I actually did it before in GP2 on Lewis Hamilton, it was pretty much exactly the same – it all starts from Ascari, and that really sets you up down the straight. It was nice to do something like that which backs up what you know you can do yourself anyway, then people know they can rely on you to give it everything you’ve got and fight hard.