A tough weekend for Ryan, as two incident packed races scuppered his chances of a high scoring finish.
Preparation for the weekend went well, with the car undergoing a full differential re-build and check over. The crew also found the route cause of our electrical issues in the previous round. We unloaded at 11 on Thursday evening ready for Friday Practice.
Friday – Practice
The day was split in to two 45 minute sessions. The first was dry and we where able to run on slicks throughout. The second session was wet, presenting Ryan with very tricky driving conditions despite the soft Goodyear wet tyres.
Despite the changing conditions, Ryan put in a good number of laps, testing setups and making sure the car was mechanically sound.
Ryan was consistently running around mid table of 28 drivers, despite not really pushing in the second session knowing full well conditions where predicted to be dry for the following two days.
Saturday – Qualifying
Saturday brought us qualifying in the morning and a 25 minute race in the afternoon. Qualifying started well, at one point Ryan was sitting in a very impressive 11th position, a flurry at the end of the session dropped Ryan to 17th. Still, an impressive result after two rounds out of the car.
However, grid penalties for other drivers bumped Ryan’s starting position to 16th. With just 1 second splitting himself and 11th position.
Lining up on the grid, the nerves started to kick in. As the lights went out Ryan sprinted up to 12th before the first corner! The next few corners would be the real test, as a tightly packed field head onto the back straight scrambling for positions.
Ryan emerged from the chaos in 16th before being pushed onto the grass and back to 20th. The next incident arrived as the pack entered Bomb Hole Corner. Two cars collided, filling the track with tyre smoke blinding the rest of the field heading in to the final corner.
At this point Ryan was running 21st, battling with his fellow Directors Cup challenger Neb Bursac. A split in the field had emerged as a result of the crash and the gap was too big to close down.
For the rest of the race Ryan battled with Neb, running around half a second a lap quicker. Despite the pressure Ryan was putting on his rival, he ultimately lost out by 0.421 of a second as they crossed the line.
Sunday – Race 2
Sunday arrived and Ryan was feeling confident, knowing he had the pace and the car was setup nicely. The race was being streamed Live on ITV4, getting underway at 2:45pm.
Ryan got another fantastic start in race two, gaining 5 places within 4 corners and staying with the pack in front. After two fast laps the safety car was brought out. After a couple of laps the field was released and Ryan was straight back on the pace.
Ryan was sticking close to the cars in front, lapping as quick as 9th/10th place. Backing up his confidence before the race.
However, it was seemingly going too well. Heading in to turn 2 the car behind locked up, shunting in to the back of Ryan’s car consequently pushing him in to the car in front. The impact was violent enough to shatter a wishbone, driveshaft, suspension arm & the bumper.
It was heartbreak for Ryan and the crew after such a positive start too the race, leading his class by some margin. It was a long walk back to the pits and an expensive end to the race. Overall, Ryan still had to be pleased with his performance. Jumping back in to the championship with no testing and being right on the pace was very pleasing.
Image credit: Mini Challenge