The second race of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup took place this past weekend at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville Ontario. Mosport is an historic track with dramatic elevation changes and extremely fast corners. I was excited to...
The second race of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup took place this past weekend at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville Ontario. Mosport is an historic track with dramatic elevation changes and extremely fast corners. I was excited to travel to Mosport for the first time and experience the circuit first hand. The race weekend consisted of one practice session, a qualifying session, and a race. Having very little time to learn the circuit, I knew I had to be very smart in how I utilized my one and only practice session.
Shortly before it was time to go out for our practice, a rain storm moved in and all 29 of the Jetta's had to be fitted with rain tires. Not only was this my first time at Mosport, but this was also my first time driving a car in the rain on a true competition rain tire. I was able to develop a feel for the 2.5 mile track as well as the Jetta TDI Cup car's characteristics in the rain. I was happy when I learned that I had the fourth fastest time in the practice; this was a great boost of confidence and a great start to the weekend.
When it came time to qualify, the imminent threat of rain still loomed over the circuit; however the track had already dried from the storm that passed through earlier in the day. The decision was made to keep all of the cars on the rain tires because of the high likelihood of rain. Unfortunately for the rain tires, it did not rain. It was not a very good feeling to destroy a brand new set of rain tires on a dry track, but it had to be done in order to post a good time for qualifying. Because I was still learning the track, I did not post my fastest time until the last lap of qualifying and by that time the tires were shredded to pieces. Even though I had posted the ninth fastest time in qualifying, I would start the race in 14th due to a penalty I received from the prior race at VIR. During the race I had passed a car in a section of the track which was covered under a local yellow. I knew there was no sense in arguing the penalty and that the best thing I could do would be to forget about it and focus on the upcoming race.
Similar to Saturday, there was a threat of rain all day Sunday as well. It was decided that all of the cars would use slick tires for the race because the track was still dry. As we waited on the false grid for our race, it started to rain very lightly. The rain persisted as we took our parade lap and then waited on the grid for the race to start. The race was underway and I launched off the line with a good start. Going into turn one I watched as cars spun and bounced off the wall in front of me. Another car had gone off the track in turn two and the track went full course caution. When the safety car came out I found myself in 6th place. We spent about four laps behind the safety car as the immobilized cars were cleared from the circuit. It was still raining and the circuit was starting to get slick. After the green flag came back out I was able to overtake another car and when a few cars spun in front of me, I found myself in 3rd position!
The rain increased in intensity as I was pushing harder than ever to close the gap on the second place car. Shortly after taking 3rd, I slid off the track in turn two. I did everything I could to keep the car out of the wall and prevent it from spinning. I was barley able to make it back onto the track as my tires spun on the slick rain soaked grass. The race was cut short two laps later due to the increasing rain and I would finish in 9th position. I was very frustrated for going off the track as I am very hard on myself for making mistakes like that. It was an error, yet I understand how this situation was created. Although disappointed, I do not regret trying to catch the next car and improve my position.
It was great to have the support of my father as well as my uncle there at the track. I would also like to give a huge thanks to Mathieu Audette, driver of the number 12 car in the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship, for all of his help throughout the weekend.
I have a long break between now and my next race which is at Portland International Raceway in Portland Oregon, July 25-27. I will be taking some time during my break to travel to PitFit Training in Indianapolis as well as compete in a 12 hour mountain bike race.