Race Report – 14 April 2012
We struggled all practice day with an engine misfire. We changed wiring harness, battery, chargers, all electrical components and it would still not go away. My dad, Peter Lanz, who was the mechi / tuner for the weekend found the fault Sunday morning. The misfire was gone then, but we had a carburettor issue as the straight on the Rotax Grand Final track is very long, but there are some sharp corners as well. So one needs to find the best of both.
I have never seen the track before until this weekend. We raced half the grand final track on Saturday. So Sunday in warm up, I drove on the complete Grand Final Circuit for the first time. I have also never raced a Haase chassis before either. So the challenge was extremely tough to learn a new track in one session and a chassis in one day’s practice. But actually never had the chance to do so as we had that misfire… So had to do everything in warm up. Not too bad, we were 3rd quickest.
First heat was quite tough as I was still trying to remember which corner came next and how to race them. It is a very technical track, but I like it a lot! I fell back a lot in the first heat as I struggled to get heat in the tyres and was analysing the kart set up whilst learning the track some more. I started to get the hang of it and posted the fastest lap time.
We did some changes for the 2nd heat. It went a lot better. I was setting the pace again and the kart was handling much better as well. Overtaking on this track shows for some great spectating as one bolsters down the long pit straight into a very fast left hander. It was my favourite place to overtake. We finished in 3rd place here.
Final of the day: I started in 5th position and went into 4th in turn 1. I then went into 3rd in turn 2. It is a left and immediately a right hander. I made that one stick. So was good. I then overtook 2nd place in turn 9. The 3rd place driver tried to overtake me in the 2nd last corner in lap one, but he was not next to me enough, so I drove defensive and kept my position. So I went from 5th into 2nd in the first lap of the 15 lapper final. We had extreme pace, the kart was handling well (did some more set up changes for the final) and I got the tyre temperature up faster. I then overtook the leader going into turn 9, a very fast left hander in lap 3.
I then lead the race from there on, growing the gap from the rest. About 4 laps from the end, my tyres (which were used from the previous day. I never wanted to put new for the last heat as we were still sorting everything out and I felt it was no use just to put new for the last heat. In this case, it was necessary for the last 4 laps as my tyres were just too tires. Everyone else in the field had fitted new tyres for the final. So at a disadvantage, we had some amazing pace in comparison) lost grip and I let the 2nd place go through. (He had caught me as I lost the pace). He was in contention in the championship, so also did not want to jeopardise that as I was a guest driver (i.e. not scoring). We had very good top end, whilst the bottom end was not good as I could not carry the corner speed. So I followed the leader and 2 laps from the end wanted to try take the lead back, but settled for 2nd as he was in the championship, not me. So we finished 2nd.
This meant we finished 2nd for the day and this made us the first girl to be on the podium in the Middle East.
I would like to thank Al Ain Raceway for their help and assistance for me to race their Demo Kart, the friendly and helpful mechanics that assisted where needed, my dad for his hard work! Big thanks to the sponsors, GSC (Gary Stephenson Computing) and the private Individuals that support me.