Ben Grice: Weekend Summary.
Round 2 Australian Suzuki Swift Series
- Finance Ezi Racing Suzuki Swift
Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC
May 24,25,26 2013
I Arrived at Phillip Island feeling as though this is my home track after many hours training on the iracing simulator. I felt confident and almost dialed in before we hit the track in first practice.
The first two sessions we were fastest and second fastest in practice 3. This place is smooth and bad fast, Turn 1 is all commitment, 200+ and just flat. It is such a pleasure to have the chance to compete at a world class Grand Prix circuit in a Finance Ezi backed race car.
The perfectly smooth and high speed, constant radius bends required stiff shock setting and low ride height to maximize the grip in the front of the car. Through the Friday sessions we tuned these areas and found a settings combination I liked and decided to run that for Qualifying.
Qualifying was a laugh! The long straights at Phillip encourage slipstreaming and bump drafting. In the session I teamed up with a rival driver in car #57 for some competitive co â€“operation, we worked together slingshoting each other down the straights. I managed to claim my second pole position of the year and I helped Car #57 to qualify in second place.
Race 1: A dominating race, which I will never forget.
Made a good start from pole defending for the first couple of laps until I settled into a rhythm and pulled a gap of seven seconds to consistently control the race to the finish. I was very satisfied with my first national series race win! It came with a smooth faultless performance vastly different to the previous, disheartening race performance at Mallala, a transformation, which I was proud of.
Sunday I woke to rain and the challenge of a one hour endurance race as part of the four hour Australian Production Car Eduro. The Suzuki Swift category started at the back of the grid 15 second behind the four hour cars. I started off pole and after first two laps the rain intensified, I was determined to make no mistakes or slip off the road and I faded back to 5th. Knowing that it was a long race I handed the pioneer reigns to others. Four laps in to the race, there were alredy two badly bent cars hanging out of the fence. I did not want to be one of them.
The next surprise in the damp conditions was the fleet of Suzuki cars where coming through the field of ought right cars passing Much faster BMWâ€™s, GT Falcons and Honda Integras which was a surprise to all. We made it to 8th outright in the wet.
About 20 minutes in, The rain stopped and the track dried out, We where sitting fifth in class 8 seconds behind the leader. I knew it was time to go and carved through the top order using pack drafting and bump drafting techniques to hunt down the leader.
With three laps to go I took the lead and was passed again, being lapped by the faster cars was quite tough we had to remain quite sensible while dicing for position to avoid being run over by the faster outright cars.
I was severely compromised by faster cars at least three times at the end of the race, which most certainly cost us the victory, that aside the finish margin was only 0.07 of a second, about the length of the bonnet.
Equal 1st on round points
A very successful weekend, which I am most proud of. Stayed on the road in every session, no mistakes, and first or second in every session qualifying or race.
Also moved from 4th to 2nd in the series points and we are on the hunt to win the series this year. The next round of the Suzuki is at Winton Motor Racway on June 21-23 Iâ€™m glad to repay Maurie and the good People at Finance Ezi with a Fantastic result and wish to thank them for their ongoing interest and support.