K1GP Shenzhen Grand Prix
As a “Green Card” entry, having been approved by GVA organization. I feel lucky to be in the hot seat of the K1GP karts. I would like to give a special thank you to Chester Lam and Jacky Lin for their ongoing support, and the mechanic who looked after the kart on the day.
Heat 1 – I was on 3rd position on rolling start. We warmed up our tires brakes and adjusted the low jet, squeeze into the rolling lane. Eyes at the board of red lights, the lights goes off, low jet switched into full injection, pedal to the floor, we’re into the 1st lap of the race. Everyone was cautious at the start, but competitive as always. At T1 I was holding tight onto the leading kart Benny, passing Eric in the process leading us into dog fight formation at the chicane after T2. I feel the string of karts behind me looking for the opening. I knew I had to overtake early, because once everyone found their pace, it would mean I’ll be in a tussle of gang fight, risking higher wear on the kart and potential spin outs. Lap 2, T7, high speed into T6, full throttle into middle of the track, now running side by side with Benny, braking into left hander T7 (大山灣) writing off the full width of the track, I hug the apex taking the lead from Benny, and into 1st place. Pacing myself and hitting the best lap time while the road condition was semi wet.
Heat 2 – I started from further afield, at 2nd to last. Rolling into the lane, blast off at the start, snatch forward a few places. I’m in 4th position. While the front pack was having an intensive fight for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, me and Benny are following behind waiting for the opening. As the fight got into the boiling point at lap 3, Benny catch Murphy unaware, overtaking on the left hand double apex after the straight, at T2, I follow tight as Murphy shoots wide, now the positions as follows; Jacky, Andrew, Benny and me. At T6 me and Benny slide into the tighter line overtaking Andrew, now it was 3 of us in the fight. Jacky had great pace, there was no opening for a couple of laps, we followed tight. Lap 6, Jacky made a slight mistake on the T6 Benny overtook before T7, while I can only press the line to gain more speed on T8 to catch the inner line on the 180 turn passing Jacky in the process. I’m just following Benny at 2nd place. Lap 7, exiting the corner leading into the pit straight, we were side by side passing the starter platform. Entering T1, I hold onto the inner line and take the 1st place for Heat 2. I pressed on keeping a close eye at my back, passing the checker flag at 1st place again, I’ve earned my Pole Position…!!!
Final – I was concentrating in pacing myself with a balance of tire wear, lap time and defensive line in the lead. With my head down focused at the finesse of driving my kart to the best, I realized the slower corners I was having trouble with comparing to Heat 1 & 2. The low rev pick up was sluggish so at lap 3 I adjusted the low jet, the pickup was better, but I still bogged down a little the moment at the limit of traction, and it was not really relevant to the jet setting. I was being hounded by Benny, it seems we were going at similar pace… The laps accumulated and the difference is low speed corner was taking its toll. At lap 10 through the final set of chicane entering the pit straight, Benny closed the gap and got inches close to me. At the end of the straight, he braked into the inner lane, and corrupted my line, now we were side by side preparing for the entry into T2. With yet another inner line advantage, I got stuffed back into 2nd place behind him. I follow him tight for the next few laps, as we got pass the “Last Lap” board, this is my last charge. As I follow his lines through the course there was not sufficient opening to in an overtake maneuver. The final set of chicane, entering the last left hander, I try to shoot through the curbing for a tighter line, but Benny smartly squeeze into the curb, I skim over the ditch, the back swings out with the adjustment action to avoid collision with Benny. Luckily I caught the tail and dashes back into the racing line, but it was too late, I finished 2nd place after a superb bumper to tail race. With all driver were hitting 46.38 to 46.58 seconds lap time, leaving only 0.2 second difference, this just proves how competitive the race was…