Hockenheim has been my home circuit since I joined the CFFC. So everytime you get there it is very familiar. This weekend however was however different: The Jim Clark Revival made it a very special weekend.
When we arrived on Thursday at 11:00 we found that the schedule had been changed and the only free practice was now at 11:30. So we decided not to attempt to participate, as time to prepare was very short. That saved €100, which is a bit more than we're used to pay for a "free" practice. There was nothing to test anyway and the track is familiar enough to dispense with an extra run. That left us free to sample all the amazing cars that were already in the paddock. So the fact that there was no racing was no problem. There was lots to see and do.
We had a bit strange schedule for the weekend. Qualifying was on Friday and the times were also out of the ordinary. First qualifying was at 8:00 AM and the second qualifying was at 6:00 PM. So the first qualifying was a matter of the early bird catches the worm. Last year I managed to do a 1:58.7 so this was the target. I finally lapped the track at 1:59.8, which I thought wasn't very good. I had hoped to do a 1:58 again or maybe better. When the results came in I found that I was third and even second in class. It has to be said that several people had problems: Matthew Dean didn't go out and Hanno Hess had clutch problems. But preparation is an integral part of racing so this was a feather in my cap.
There was no need to do something on the car so there was plenty of time to sample other classes like the Thoroughbred Grand Prix cars, Super Sports and all kinds of Ferraris and Maseratis from the Ferrari Challenge. The other thing was welcoming some of my Lotus friends from Holland: Jan-Bart Broertjes and Ferry Kerkvliet who had come to the Jim Clark Revival.
The second qualifying I saw Matthew passing me early on and I followed. I saw him as one of the treats to my position, so if I could keep up with him there was no risk of losing a place to him. He was a bit faster than I was but only marginally and as I wasn't doing great laptimes I wasn't worried. Eventually I passed him and did a 1:59.4. The next lap I overcooked and as there was almost nomore time I came in. When the results came in Matthew had pinched my place on the last lap with a 1:59.0. It even turned out that while I was still chasing him he already done a faster 1:59.4 than mine. As Hanno had set a blistering time and Alan Crocker hadn't gone faster due to carburation problems I was fourth on the grid of the 1600s.
|Class||1st Qualifying||2nd Qualifying|
|1||Hanno Hess||van Diemen RF88||B||2:01.383||1:57.879|
|2||Chris Stones||van Diemen RF85||B||1:59.356||1:58.630|
|3||Matthew Dean||Reynard FF88||B||-||1:59.025|
|4||Ed Waalewijn||van Diemen VD82||B||1:59.873||1:59.430|
|5||Alan Crocker||Ray FF71||C||1:59.854||2:06.194|
|6||Onno Zuiderma||van Diemen RF87||B||2:00.701||2:00.701|
|7||Paul McMorran||Crossle 25F||C||2:01.136||2:00.935|
|8||Jörg Grieshaber||March 718||C||2:01.423||2:00.935|
|9||Benita Brouwer||Reynard FF88||B||2:04.254||2:01.389|
|10||Roberto Kraft||Swift SC88||B||2:03.100||2:03.430|
|11||Rebecca Dean||van Diemen RF87||B||2:03.711||2:03.115|
|12||Felix Haas||Mallock Mk 9||C||2:04.183||2:03.817|
|13||Thomas Rohmer||van Diemen RF87||B||2:06.673||2:04.107|
|14||Stephen Collyer||Dulon MP15||C||2:06.589||2:04.774|
|15||Povl Barfod||Titan Mk 6||C||2:04.921||2:05.189|
|16||Gunther Böhm||Swift SC88||B||2:48.921||2:05.739|
|17||Nils Leuber||Vaney 71/2||C||2:06.227||2:06.225|
|18||Antonio Garrido-Mayer||van Diemen RF87||B||2:13.338||2:07.558|
|19||Wolfgang Eisele||Merlyn Mk 11||C||2:11.661||2:11.904|
It had been dry all day but the treat of rain was always present. An hour before the start a short shower with some snow made the track wet. As the temperature was quite low the chance the track would dry was very small. I had a couple of peaks of the track and at the last moment just before we went to the pre start we opted for the full wet set-up. On the pre-grid the sun came out and made things even more unpredictable.
The warm-up lap showed that the track was drying quickly and that the condition would be difficult. The start was very good, I think I overtook four cars. On the entry to the Parabolica I was a bit apprehensive and several cars shot by, among who were Alan Crocker, Paul McMorran and Chris Stones. Most of the track was now dry only the last corner before the start-and-finish straight was very wet and very slippery. When thing settled after the first lap I was behind Hess, Stones, Dean, Crocker and McMorran. I could see that my wet set-up worked very well compared to the others. I had so much traction coming out of Sachs, that it was scary to enter the double right hander before the start-and-finish straight. The first bit was okay but to negotiate the second part was very difficult: turn in, wait till the car is almost straight and then floor it gently. I could make ground in this section.
Hanno shot off in the distance and there was a battle for second between Chris Stones, Alan Crocker and Matthew Dean. Paul McMorran followed a small distance and I followed him again at a small distance. I closed the gap and overtook Paul in Sachs in front of the public. I set off after the group, that were battling for second. We were now in lap 6 and all the while I had been gaining on them. Apart from Hanno Hess I was now the fastest man on the track of the 1600s. Next time I came to the stadium I was almost on their tail and decided to take full advantage of my traction, but overdid it. On coming up on the start-and-finish straight I spun and I was facing the wrong direction. When I saw Paul McMorran fly past, I flicked the car round another time and I was heading the right direction. I set my target to get past Paul again and I was steadily gaining on him when I saw Alan Crocker in trouble and off the track. He got back on the track a few seconds in front of me and when he was speeding through the Nord kurve I saw spray against the setting sun. I hoped it had started raining again because I had noticed a few drops on occasion the laps before. I went through the corner pretty slow only to notice it was bone dry. All the spray came from Alan's car who retired on the same lap.
So I pressed on and caught Paul again. I gathered he would let me pass quite easily as he was lying first in the C-class so that was to precious to throw away over a fourth overall place. I made a quite determined move in Senna and he let me past. From then on it was plain sailing till the end.
|1||Hanno Hess||van Diemen RF88||B||14||28:32,207||1:57,556|
|2||Matthew Dean||Reynard SF88||B||14||29:09,237||2:00,292|
|3||Chris Stones||van Diemen RF85||B||14||29:09,604||2:00,034|
|4||Ed Waalewijn||van Diemen RF82||B||14||29:34,535||2:02,291|
|5||Paul McMorran||Crossle 20F||C||13||29:37,371||2:03,866|
|6||Onno Zuidersma||van Diemen RF87||B||13||27:52,623||2:02,716|
|7||Rebecca Dean||van Diemen RF87||B||13||27:55,169||2:04,030|
|8||Benita Brouwer||Reynard SF88||B||13||28:12,852||2:04,984|
|9||Jörg Grieshaber||March 718||C||13||28:17,098||2:02,803|
|10||Roberto Kraft||Swift 88||B||13||28:18,282||2:04,727|
|11||Felix Haas||Mallock Mk 9||C||13||28:18,437||2:05,330|
|12||Stephen Collyer||Dulon MP15||C||13||28:22,381||2:05,955|
|13||Thomas Rohmer||van Diemen RF87||B||13||28:43,097||2:05,543|
|14||Povl Barfod||Titan Mk 6||C||13||28:47,310||2:07,285|
|15||Antonio Garrido-Mayer||van Diemen RF87||B||13||29:01,330||2:07,486|
|16||Nils Leuber||Vaney 71/2||C||13||29:01,481||2:07,812|
|17||Gunther Böhm||Swift SC88||B||13||29:32,977||2:09,458|
|18||Wolfgang Eisele||Merlyn Mk 11||C||12||28:34,937||2:13,366|
|19||Alan Crocker||Ray FF71||C||9||19:13,765||2:02,609|