Please Gamble Responsibly
The penultimate round of the 2019 Mini Challenge Cooper Championship saw Andy and the Flying Panda visiting a rather wet Donington Park.
The National Circuit was the configuration to be used for the three races over the last Saturday and Sunday of September. For those unfamiliar, the circuit is located at the end of the East Midlands runway and gets rather slippery when wet due to the ‘Av-gas’ residue dropping from the departing aeroplanes.
Testing on the Friday saw changeable conditions with the rain so heavy at one point that the lights at the end of the pit lane were not visible.
Starting in 10th for a dry Race 1 after a disappointing qualifying, Andy was working hard to gain on the battle between Manning and Norman in front. This battle proved fruitful as Andy took advantage of them as they slowed each other down in a daredevil manoeuvre passing between them. Unfortunately they both returned the favour on the final corner to put Andy back in 10th following a DNF for Michael Paul.
Two green flag laps were the starting orders for Race 2 due to a change of conditions to wet… or at least damp which led to a difficult tyre choice. Unfortunately the start was delayed due to a colleague hitting a barrier on cold slick tyres.
Andy sat on the grid remembering that he had seen rain approaching on the radar prior to getting in the car. The decision was made to change to wet tyres making Andy a pit lane starter - essentially at the back of the grid.
The gamble paid off as conditions worsened during the race which left those on dry setup as sitting ducks. Andy picked them off one by one until disaster struck after carrying too much speed and an early turn in to Redgate destroyed the chances of another podium finish. Seventh was therefore the end result.
A wet Race 3 got off to a disappointing start with lots of wheel spinning and an early gear change resulting in Andy falling from 7th to 11th before Turn 1. This remained the order of things until Michael Paul had a spin at Redgate and Adrian (now Andy’s regular battling partner) met an unfortunate DNF in the gravel at Coppice (not my fault this time!).
So another weekend of highs, lows, gambles that paid off and tough lessons - what’s in store for the finale at Snetterton on 19th and 20th October???
The highlights video from Donington can be found below. Like, subscribe and comment on YouTube to let me know what you’d like to see more of.