No titles, but what a fight!

28.10.2016

Kevin went to the final meeting at Estoril with outside chances to take titles both in PRO and Endurance classification but ended up with P2 and P4 respectively.

Sprint lap 2

Endurance race on Saturday was only four laps old when Kevin had to retire from P2 due to a bizarre failure. A tiny particle, not even stone, but rather a piece of tarmac or rubber had entered the cockpit via air intake. This in itself is very common but what followed is perhaps a novelty in the whole history of motor racing. Namely, that particular particle found its way into the gear-changing mechanism, landed on the downshift sensor and blocked it. Kevin didn’t feel anything different and kept shifting the gears but downshifts did not happen. Retirement was the only option which also meant Kevin lose even mathematical chances for both titles. Worse than that – Markkus Palttala pushed him to P3 in PRO points standings.

But came Sunday and PRO Sprint race and Kevin put on a monumental show. Titles were lost but fighting spirit had not left him. Kevin started from P3 and then... Well, let him tell what followed.

Kevin: „This was an insane demolition derby on the opening lap! At the start, I thought maybe I could outbrake leader Steijn Schothorst and overtake him from the outside because he covered the inside firmly. But he went a little bit too deep into the corner and I could not turn in. Palttala also took the inside line and forced me to go wide. I was left on to the kerb and Sathienthirakul also overtook me which meant I had dropped to P4. I grabbed one place back in Turn 2 when I overtook Sathientirakul from the outside, it was for P3. Then I caught Palttala, he left the door half-open before Turn 4 and I took my chance immediately. We had a slight contact but I went by, although he pushed me a little bit and I had inside wheels on the grass. But something was wrong with the car after this contact. I caught him in the space of two turns, I was maybe a full second faster then him over that short distance, actually both Marc VDS cars were incredibly slow. Exiting Turn 4 I felt the car was suddenly all over the place and to make things even worse he hit me heavily from behind. In the end of the back-stretch I braked as usual but almost lost the car, it was extremely wobbly. I went wide, got back onto the track and then he hit me once again! I made a 360-degree spin, hold pedal on the floor and kept running. Sathienthirakul basically overtook me into the next turn but went wide himself, I switched back and regained P2. Then I had to brake very early before the chicane, something was completely wrong with the car, I thought I will retire. One more time I was hit from behind, I flew onto the grass but somehow I managed to return to the tarmac before the turn-in and surprisingly I was still in P2.

Car#3

Of course I was extremely fortunate not to fly into the gravel when spinning and even more fortunate not to lose three or four places in the process. Car was all smashed in the back and perhaps those first two contacts with Palttala also bent the rear axle or something, steering wheel was not straight any more either. I changed brake balance for the remainder of the race, turning it seven clicks toward the front in the hope to make it driveable at least. After that front wheels tended to lock all the time but ABS did what it was supposed to do. It was not overly effective but at least I could keep going. I really don’t know how those behind me were eben slower than me. Maybe our car is very good in the wet and not so good in the dry, it was the only wet race this season.

Initially I thought that Pieter Schothorst will overtake Fumanelli for P3 and catch me and maybe even overtake. I calculated the gap to Palttala – I was seven points behind him before the race and in order to take P2 in points standings I had to keep my track position. I was a little bit worried about Schothorst for the first 5-6 laps but then I saw nobody coming, whatever the reason. After that I just took it easy until the flag.“

Podium

 

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