Mental Again in Macau

1MS_0156Another strong showing from Tom and the team despite an early exit in the final race of the season. The team arrived in Macau for the 60th Anniversary GP having had a successful weekend in Shanghai two weeks prior with a couple of 3rd places in the Yokohama trophy. Looking to continue the strong end to the season, Tom started about setting good times in free practice 1. With such a tight and twisty sector two, a good qualification spot would be vital if more points were to be gained. His sector times improved and he would post a time of 2:34:034 and finish in P14. Free practice 2 was a stop start affair with the two Red Flags being shown in the session. Tom was looking to post a time of around 2:32 in qualification so this session was frustrating.

For qualification Tom went out with new tyres. The session was red flagged after Valente crashed out. Tom came in for another new set of tyres and promptly posted the fasted sector one of any driver. He posted a time of 2:31:983 which put him in 4 place overall. He then came in and the team held him in the pit lane to conserve tyres as his first ever place in Q2 looked assured. The session was then stopped again and Tom had fallen to 10th. Tom decided to track Oriola in the Chevrolet as he was in P9. He went out with 4 minutes to go and Tom followed. On his last lap Tom was in 12th and on the verge of going out of Q2. He tracked Oriola closely and as the Spaniard crossed the line he over took Tom into 12th. However, Tom was close behind and when he crossed the line he went into 12th and Q2. A great result for Tom and the team.

For Q2 Tom wanted to get out with the pack. However an air filter issue meant that the team had to work on the engine. This was fixed but the team were not sure how it would hold up. The decision was made to set a time in order to get at least 12th spot. This was duly done but Tom could not set a competitive time due to the issue. Still a great result though to get to Q2 and he would be starting both races in 12th spot.

Race 1 and the final rolling start for the WTCC. Tom got off to a good start not losing places. He was behind Tom Coronel for the first lap. They got held up by Tom Chilton who had hit the barrier. Once past him, Tom overtook Tom Coronel on the fast start-finish straight and then looked to chase down D’Aste. He closed him down for the next 7 laps but couldn’t pass and would finish in 10th spot, 4th Independent. This was later promoted to 9th overall as Pepe Oriola was penalised for the move on Chilton. More championship points gained and vital Yokohama Trophy points as well.

Race 2 was over too quickly. Tom made a great start passing Marc Basseng but going into the first corner he was caught up in an incident started by Michelisz hitting Chilton. Tom was collected by a couple of cars as he avoided the initial incident. This was a disappointing end to the weekend as even more points were on the cards.

After the race Tom commented “Despite the early end to the second race I am happy with the weekend. You know at Macau that these things can and usually do happen. I was really happy to finally make Q2 and it was a good race one. I managed to get by Coronel and then tried my best to get to the cars ahead, but we were held up on the first lap by Tom Chilton’s accident so couldn’t make up more places. It has been a difficult season and very frustrating at times, but these last two race weekends have shown that we can compete well in the championship. I really now want to work on getting back for the 2014 championship!”

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