Croft: RML weekend summary

IMPRESSIVE RACE 1 AND 2 PERFORMANCES WITH A TRICKY THIRD RACE FOR THE RML- RUN CHEVROLET OF JAMES NASH Some consistent lap times in practice from James enabled him to get to grips with the Croft circuit, on which he achieved great success...

IMPRESSIVE RACE 1 AND 2 PERFORMANCES WITH A TRICKY THIRD RACE FOR THE RML- RUN CHEVROLET OF JAMES NASH

Some consistent lap times in practice from James enabled him to get to grips with the Croft circuit, on which he achieved great success in the UK Formula Ford Championship. As the second practice session neared the final minutes, James put in an awesomely quick lap, taking P4 and proving his, and the car's, great ability and potential for a strong weekend. He was just 0.64s adrift of Jason Plato who stole P1 having completed one qualifying simulation. Mat finished the session in 5th, 0.014s off James.

Going into the qualifying session James planned four runs with new front tyres each time and would then swap the previous warm fronts to the rear for the next run, He finished P10 after his first run, but having suffered with traffic, both James and the Racing Silverline drivers found it difficult to get good, clear laps, much to their frustration. James qualified P14, unable to match his personal best time from the second free practice session. Despite this, James was happy with the car and turned his attention to the first race having proved the Lacetti's pace earlier in the day.

Race 1 got underway in similar conditions to Saturday's session, hot and dry, which proved challenging for many, including championship rivals VXR.

James made a great start, immediately racing against the VXR Giovanardi and SEAT of Eaves. By lap 3, in only his second outing, James was mixing it up with Dynamics driver, Thompson. With door-to-door racing against BTCC giant, Thompson, James held his nerve and fought confidently before one of the SEATs snuck past the unsuspecting pair. James took Thompson into Chicane and by the seventh lap had worked his way into a potential points scoring position of P10.

Struggling with getting the best from the tyres, James ran wide into Chicane as the grip dropped off, pushing him back to 13th position. A red flag incident involving Vaulkhard and Chilton ended the race on lap 13.

With much cooler temperatures, an overcast sky and a slight chance of rain, the second race looked set to be close.

Another good start from James enabled him to move from 13th position up to P11 on the first lap, again racing against the Honda Integra of O'Neill and the Civic of Pinkney. James drove a consistent race, enjoying some midfield dicing before finishing the race in 15th position.

Heavy showers fell just before the start of the third race, creating pockets of standing water and treacherous conditions for the BTCC pack. As more rain fell, the drivers complained of very poor visibility and several fell victim to aquaplaning, resulting in lengthy safety car periods.

Despite several calls from drivers for the race to be delayed, the race went on and in very challenging conditions, James aquaplaned off on lap 3 and was unable to continue.

Speaking after the second race, James added: "Starting with FP1 - that was a big learning curve. We made a massive improvement through the second practice session, finishing 4th overall. We were doing qualifying simulation, and it was good to understand the tyres and how they fade and come in. It's so important to get a quick lap in one flying lap.

It was a disappointing qualifying session, having been held up twice through Sunny in, both on my quick laps. We were held up by something like four tenths, so we could have qualified 7th or 8th, which was the target.

Race wise, the pace was there, but we couldn't maintain the tyres, so I was losing time as the race went on.

I changed from right to left foot braking, which was a vast improvement and I feel more comfortable in the car. We know we have some pace and I closed up to within three or four tenths of Jason. We just need to focus on better tyre management having had no pre-season testing to fully understand how to get the best from them."

The next race is at Snetterton on 2nd August.

-credit: rml

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