Sensational Spa Francorchamps!
I was really looking forward to racing at Spa Francorchamps and it certainly didn’t disappoint! It’s an awesome circuit with so many challenges and I was keen to get back on the circuit and top the time sheets after my big accident at Pouhon corner when I was last at the circuit testing at the end of March.
The 7 km circuit is set in a beautiful forest with huge elevation changes throughout. It’s a demanding circuit and it’s very tricky to get the perfect lap. The weather at Spa always has a part to play as the trees can make the track damp in one place and dry in another.
It was a privilege to race on the same programme as the World Endurance Championship as we did at Le Mans last year and the tens of thousands of fans enjoyed some great racing at this very special track.
On Thursday it was very wet all day and we opted not to use any new wet tyres for our two practice sessions as we were sure it was going to be dry for qualifying and the races. Sure enough on Friday it was dry, and we had a fantastic qualifying session. Team Parker Racing did an amazing job to set the car up perfectly and I managed to set three fastest laps on my way to securing pole for both races. We were so happy!
The first race ( Round 3 of the season) later in the day on Friday went according to plan with a lights to flag victory. This may sound easy, but it certainly wasn’t, as Dan Cammish in second place pushed very hard throughout the 30 minute race and put me under a lot of pressure, so I had to stay calm and control the pace and the tyre degradation. I was absolutely delighted to take my first win of the year.
It felt so good to give Team Parker Racing team their first win of the 2015 season. My engineer Brad and my mechanic Mark worked so incredibly hard to get the car set up absolutely perfect. They deserve all the credit for the win. It was my team boss Stuart Parker’s birthday too, so it was a great pleasure to give him the winner’s trophy as a birthday present!
The race on Saturday was very unusual. The rolling start went well and I was leading comfortably when the safety car came out very early in the race following a multiple car accident at Eau Rouge which required specialist medical attention for the drivers involved. We ran behind the safety car for over half the race which worked against us and ended my chances of a second win, as instead of a 45 minute endurance race which we’d set the car up for, we had a 15 minute sprint. I managed to hang on to take 2nd place which was the very best I could achieve in the circumstances.
Really great news is that Team Parker Racing were awarded ‘Team of the Weekend’ and I was awarded ‘Driver of the Weekend’. With two poles, a win and a second place we certainly made our mark at Spa Francorchamps and we’ll be in fighting spirit again at the next round at Oulton Park 6/7 June. It would be great to see you there.
We dashed back to the UK after Race 2 to get to my big sister’s wedding on Sunday. It was a perfect day and everyone enjoyed the celebrations. Congratulations to Joe and Leah!
With good wishes to Paul McKay and Shamus Jennings for a speedy recovery. We hope to see them both back on the grid very soon.
Finally, many thanks to all my sponsors, Nine Group, Zenith Intelligent Vehicle Solutions, Porsche Retail Group, Workflow Group, Close Brothers Leasing, LA Connect, Swissvax, Melbek, Everyone Active, Gradtel, Whittlebury Hall and Flying Saucer Creative.
Thank you for all your support, tweets and messages. It’s always great to hear from you and I hope to see many of you very soon. Take a look at a few photographs from Spa in the gallery.