James Doherty's Euro Max Blog
James Doherty's Euro
#1 - Salbris
In a new series for UK Karting, leading Junior Max racer James Doherty will be keeping a diary of his experiences and observations about racing in the Rotax Max European Challenge.
In his first entry, he tells us about the first round at Salbris, France (25 March). Weíll be bringing you his insights and stories throughout the series and if youíd like to learn more about him, visit www.jamesdohertyracing.com.
Jamesí Euro Max Blog
I knew it was going to be a long journey but never a funny one. Somehow we lost our guide and found our way into the heart of Paris. We finally navigated our way out and reached the hotel at 1am.
The hotel was very basic indeed and Iím glad we did not spend much time there, as we had to use the toilet in the hallway and didnít have the luxury of a TV.
The track was truly amazing, with breath-taking chicanes and long straights. It took 20 minutes to walk around!
Practice wasnít good at first but as it progressed I started to get the rhythm and produced decent lap times.
As we stormed out for Qualifying, it started to rain and I was on slicks. I ended up 17th out of 63 in total, so it wasnít a total disaster. This meant that I would start from 9th for each heat and we set an objective to get top 5 every time and thatís what I executed, with two 5ths and a 3rd.
Funnily enough, when they added the points together, I was given 8th place on the grid for the Pre-Final. After an average start, I made up two places and soon caught the battle for third. From there I picked karts off cleanly and avoided taking myself out because I wanted the best possible points score for the Pre-Final and Final. By the last few laps I was in an easy third place and started to preserve my tyres for the final.
I started third for the Final and soon took advantage as the pole sitter (Max Hawkins) went wide and I moved through to second. Feeling comfortable at this time, I sat behind the leader and hoped we were leaving the pack behind. But it was not the case, as I got caught and became involved in a battle for second. This allowed the leader to make a break. At one point I went down to 8th but pulled myself together and made it back to 5th as we came across the line neck-and-neck.
Coming home felt quicker than going there, as there was no traffic Ė making it an easy ride.
Overall I am feeling very happy on my achievement in my first ever euro event and Iím 2nd in the championship at this moment in time. The next race is in Germany (Wackersdorf, near Munich, 20 May) and I hope to move up one more place in the table. The track looks challenging with its twists and turns and I feel that smoothness (on the steering wheel) will play a big role.
Photos courtesy of www.kart-magazin.de.
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