The opening round of the 2013 FunCup Championship was a voyage of discovery for a number of new teams, and also for some of the old teams who were switching from Diesel to Petrol Sequential for the first time.
Team Racelogic went into the race with a whole season of knowledge of the new car, so we aimed to make the most of this early advantage whilst we could.
However, Joachim was on holiday, and Nigel decided to qualify and race at Donington in the Britcar race on the same day as well, so Julian had a lot of work to do!
Qualifying was exciting as there was a coming together on the first corner out of the pits, but Julian managed to find a strong tow from a number of cars in the dying moments to post the quickest time.
However, we had to start from the back of the grid for the race, and it started to rain to make it just a little bit harder! Over the next 7 laps, Nigel managed to safely carve his way through the field and pulled out a useful 30s gap, before handing over to Julian. The gap was then extended to just over a minute before we started to suffer from fuel surge (due to an over optimistic fuel strategy!). Julian then drove around conserving fuel for a few laps until the pit window was open, and then dived into the pits earlier than normal, catching his team a little bit on the hop!
Nigel then went out for a double stint, but a safety car a few laps later bunched the whole pack up again. Nigel was then due in Donington for the Britcar race, so he handed over to Julian and climbed in a helicopter!
Julian then went out, and watched as Nigel circled overhead, making sure he clipped every apex, as he knew Nigel was watching and making notes!
The gap over second place slowly built up again, but another couple of safety cars during just before the next round of pit-stops meant that the whole pack was again bunched up behind us when Julian came in for his final pitstop.
Unfortunately we had a very slow last pitstop compared with the normal front runners due to Julian having to run around the car (he needs to go out running more!) and some problems with the belts. This put us back down in 5th place some way off the leading pack. Nigel’s last words were ringing in Julian’s ears, “easy on the brakes and avoid the kerbs” when he left the pits, and was driving quite cautiously thinking he was still in the lead for a few laps until he spotted the pitboard saying P5!
At this point he realized he needed to up his pace significantly, and set about catching the leaders. A brief battle with ECO Racing who came out of the pits in 4th place slowed him down a bit, but a spectacular spin at Old Hall put ECO back behind again and Julian about 6 seconds behind 3rd place.
It took a few determined laps, but eventually Julian caught Graham Pattle in Team O’Brien Car 207, and thinking it could well be the last lap of the race, Julian dived up the inside at the second chicance, and managed to just avoid Honeywell as they turned in. A close call, but we were now in third place.
Neil Plimmer wasn’t going to let Julian past without putting up a fight, and for a few laps they drove side by side, with Car 147 appearing to double in width at times!
Julian eventually out-braked Neil into the final corner by going the long way round the outside, and set about catching Bram in the rapidly disappearing Nimbus Data Car 263.
This took a few laps, but a great exit and tow from Bram coming out of Cascades gave Julian the inside line into Island bend and he managed to sneak through into the lead.
The race ended a few laps later, with Team Racelogic managing to hold onto to come home in first place, a great result!