We arrived at Monza fully prepared and confident of a decent result getting our season off to a good start, unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be!
3 weeks prior to the 1st round of the Blancpain championship MP Motorsport tested in Monza and felt we dialed our selves in nicely, the car was performing brilliantly but unfortunately come race weekend and after FP1 using our new dedicated Blancpain car which was a different chassis to the one we used in testing it was clear that we didn’t have the same balance in the car we were used to.
We were also struggling with the BOP which seemed to be against us particularly in Monza, one of the slowest overall in the speed traps and struggling with the set up it seemed our one lap pace was around .5 off the pace! However, because our problem was that the Aston was just being too kind to its tyres and not working them hard enough meant our long distance and race pace was actually pretty good! We settled for that and although I managed to put a time on the board, which was the quickest we had managed all weekend, we were along way down the grid. (So far I actually can’t remember!!)
We felt we were to start the race a little our of position so it was decided to try something different with the strategy and put me in the car to start and run for as long as possible followed by Joe Osborne and then Mark Poole to finish. I got a great start making up 8 places in my first few laps and chasing down one of the many and very fast (in a straight line) Ferrari’s until we had contact from a very optimistic #19 Black Falcon SLS lunging down the inside of me into the Parabolica. Inevitably this sent me spinning into the gravel trap and effectively ending our race. We lost 2 laps while the marshals recovered the car and sent me on an off road course through the woods which would eventually see me on the old banking! We carried on hopeful of a few points and after Joe’s very consistent and clean stint we were 11th the car was then handed over to Mark to finish the race who seemed to have one of the stints of his life setting some great times but in this very competitive field and relatively short race it was impossible to claw back 2 laps so we ended up a very disappointing 11th just outside the points.
Onwards and upwards this weekend we are at Oulton Park for the first round of the British GT Championship and we are in the old car which we hope to feel more comfortable in! The next Blancpain round is Silverstone. We finished 2nd in Pro-AM last year and wont settled for anything less!
I will tweet as much info and news as I can throughout the weekend. To keep up to day follow me on Twitter – @Richard_Abra or check our my website! www.richardabra.com