It was as he prepared for the right hand sweeper into the last chicane, that Danny’s race began to unravel.
It was a fast sweeping right hander, in his own car Danny could take the corner at nearly two hundred and sixty kilometres per hour, in the Lamborghini with its higher top end speed and larger brakes to pull it back from that top speed, it closer to two seventy five.
His approach to the corner was on line, his speed was reading two hundred and sixty eight, his revs were below the limiter and the car was preforming as it should have been. He was by himself on the track, the car in front of him more than three car lengths ahead and the car behind a little less than two car lengths.
What should have happened was that Danny should have brake checked his car, touched his left foot on the brake pedal to make sure they were working, this would have wiped up to ten kilometres per hour from his speed, he should then have taken the sweeping right with his foot on the accelerator. As soon as the car was through the apex of the corner he should have taken his foot off the accelerator, put it on the middle pedal and begin his hard braking manoeuvre into the chicane. In the mere seconds, while he was braking he should have used his left foot on the clutch, his left hand on the gear stick dropping back to third gear and braked hard while preparing to pull left into the chicane and missing the ripple strip with his left hand tyres. From there he needed to attack the centre of the chicane running his right hand wheels over the ripple strip, lifting the right hand side of the car off the road a few millimetres. The same move should have been repeated with the left hand side as he exited the chicane and powered on to the last right hand corner and onto pit straight.
But it didn’t happen that way.
Instead, on the entry to the first right hand sweeper, just after he’d preformed his brake check Danny let his car slip to the left, only millimetres but it was enough to change his approach angle. What resulted was that as he swept through the right hander his left front tyre rode the edge of the racing surface. Had that been all that happened he’d have been fine but because the rear tyre took a slightly wider track it slipped off the track and into the dirt
Danny knew better than to hit the brakes when the car was off line and at least one wheel was in the loose dirt, it was far safer to let the car wipe its own speed off, bring the car back onto the bitumen and then take the actions needed to either slow the car down or get it back on the racing line.
Behind Danny three cars all took evasive action to his error and under race conditions slowed, pulled right and made their move to go around Danny without causing themselves or any other driver more problems.
Danny may have dropped four positions as he approached the left hand turn into the chicane but how all four cars managed to get through the fast sweeping right hander and into the chicane was a superb feat that showed the professionalism and skill of all drivers.
The Lamborghini slipped itself back into tenth position comfortably without upsetting any other cars. Immediately Danny could feel an unbalance in the car as the dirt and gravel that pushed itself into the hot rubber of the left hand rear tyre hampered his grip on the track.
Danny felt the rear of the car kick out slightly as he sunk the boot into the accelerator on the exit of the chicane, it wasn’t much and Danny recovered easily. However to an experienced motor racer it was also immediately obvious that the dirt and gravel had scored the tyre which would require it’s change earlier than his other three tyres.
“You fucking dickhead!” Danny said into his helmet. The fact that he wouldn’t get fined for swearing given that the race wasn’t aired live on TV was not in his mind. “Drive the fucking thing properly!”
The Lamborghini was speeding up again, despite the crap stuck in the tyre and the slight loss of traction the car was handling well as and Danny sped towards the final right hander of the circuit. It was only a short run into the corner but the car washing pushing towards a hundred and ninety kilometres per hour fifty meres from the breaking zone.
It was at that moment that Danny made the one mistake no driver, especially a professional should ever make, he lost his cool and slammed his fist into the steering wheel. It was an unconscious action done at the wrong time by an angry mind but it was also an action that shaped what happened from that point onwards.
First off Danny missed his brake marker, secondly the car edged closer to the left hand side of the track and thirdly he decided his best option, because of the way the car was moving meant he wouldn’t get it to turn into the right hander and come out the other side without hitting the wall was to slam the brakes on and shoot the car down the pit lane entrance.
Given the speed he was travelling and the time he had to get the car’s speed down it was always going to be a risky move, but the short straight run was a much better option that trying to tackle the corner and continue along the track.
Unfortunately for Danny while it might have been the best option it still wasn’t a great option and by the time he knew he wasn’t able to wash enough speed off for the turn into pit lane Danny knew he was going to hit the wall and hit it hard and all he could do was brace himself and hope that the car cushioned the impact.
Previous Racing story here.