If things don't go as planned The Saturday and the Sunday of the season kick-off took a perfect course, for Laurens Vanthoor: two pole positions and the race win in round one. On the third and final day of the event held at...
If things don't go as planned
The Saturday and the Sunday of the season kick-off took a perfect course, for Laurens Vanthoor: two pole positions and the race win in round one. On the third and final day of the event held at Oschersleben, however, he had to cope with dark clouds. In his diary, Vanthoor talks about the less happy days in the life of a racing driver.
The weekend so far has been a truly successful one and yesterday evening we were up there on the very top. But...! The race isn't over before you have crossed the finish line. Today was a disappointing day. I made a big and stupid mistake. It all began at 07.00hrs when I got up. Following my win yesterday I felt good and very confident. I was in the right mood for repeating this feat. When we had arrived at the circuit I tried to relax, drink enough and have a little fun with my team-mate. Following a short chat with my coach I focused on the day. Every day is a new day and it doesn't matter if you have won a race the day before. In the briefing with my engineer, Rik, we discussed the forthcoming race. Then it was back to the usual preparation programme. And I really wasn't more nervous than yesterday. On the starting grid, Kris came to me and introduced me to one of the Volkswagen Group's board members. Meeting him represented a big honour for me. Than I had some final words with the team, closed my visor and blocked out the world around me. The warm-up lap was started and despite encountering some wheel spin, my test start was quite nice. Then, we were back on the starting grid and I was ready to race. The starting lights were switched on but I started moving before they were switched off again - a jump start! For several seconds, I just didn't know what had happened and was completely beside myself. Therefore, I made another major mistake. I braked and let the other drivers pass me. Actually, it would have been better if I had continued as I knew that the penalty would come anyway. Afterwards, I succeeded in gaining several positions before I had to come in for my drive-thru penalty. Nonetheless, I tried to keep my cool, give my very best and score some points. At the end of the day, however, making it to the points proved to be impossible. It was disappointing and after the race I apologised to my team via the pit radio. In the Parc Ferme I climbed out of the car, congratulated my team-mate who had won the race - and returned to our team truck. I retired for 30 minutes as I didn't want to talk to anybody - I was just too annoyed with myself. After a while I tried to get over it. I thought about it and have learned my lesson. I tried to forget it and think about my win on Saturday. Then I talked to the guys of the team. Quite obviously, they also were disappointed - but they supported me, nevertheless. Frits tried to cheer me up and Kris also talked to me. Thanks to their efforts, I soon could laugh again and we began making jokes about it.
Then we started the worst part of the weekend: the break down. Everybody is really tired and therefore, it is a kind of a nuisance - but that's something the entire team has to cope with. When everything was packed we hit the road to Magdeburg and there, we celebrated our race wins. In those moments, I really feel at home. Now it is 23.00hrs and I could need a snatch of sleep. But I hope to soon be able to tell you about more race wins.