WSK Masters Series Round 4: International Circuit 7 Laghi
Friday: Testing / Qualifying/ Superpole
Saturday: 4 heat races
Sunday: Pre-Final / Final
(Heat Races= 8 laps, Pre- Final= 16 laps, Final 16 laps)
Track Data: International Circuit 7 Laghi
Length: 1256 m
Width: 8/10 m
The track was really enjoyable for me. The layout was perfect for my driving style, which are high-speed technical sections that take the guts and precision to put in a fast lap. The tack was really nice in itself; the infield was complete grass, the rumble strips were nice, and the asphalt was a very new and good quality with loads of grip. The only disadvantage to the track layout was with the tight technical high-speed sections came the limited passing in the races. It was really hard to pass at this particular track, and most passes you had to complete we’re what drivers would call a lunge. This means that the driver who is completing the pass never had a run on the driver who is being passed. The driver pass was solely completed under braking. This is a difficult pass to make as all the drivers at the front in Europe are already on the limit. You have to go over the limit if you want to attempt a lunge. This type of pass is also prone to the driver being passed to immediately pass back the driver who is making the pass due the bad drive off the corner from going in so deep to the corner. This was the only real fault to this particular track layout was the lack of race craft in my opinion. The track facility was average, definitely nothing special compared to some European tracks I have had the pleasure of racing at. It had the basics, which is a restaurant and café.
The Location: Castelletto di Branduzzo, Italy
Track Facility: 6.510
Track Layout: 8.5/10
Track Location: 7/10
A Solid Start
The weekend started off really good. All throughout practice we showed pretty good pace. But we waited until qualifying like always to bring out all our bags of tricks. Qualifying was pretty straightforward, make it to Superpole is always the first on the agenda. Then you work towards winning Superpole. We did just that, all we wanted to do in qualifying is set a good enough time to advance to Superpole. You don’t want to go destroy the tires in qualifying. You wait till Superpole when the tires that you use are not the ones you have to race four heats on. In Superpole the goal was obviously win the Pole, but we missed the combination of setup and a perfect lap by a very small amount and brought home 5th overall. It was another top 5 qualifying result, my fourth straight in WSK action. I was really happy with that result and with how my whole team digging deep to achieve it. On a side note, I was the only non-OTK product in Superpole, which also gave Energy Corse and I some confidence as a team. The only problem with the qualification result was that it put me in-group “E” which meant I would be pole on outside row every heat race.
Tough Luck During the Heat Races
The racing gods just weren’t with me in the heat races. I was fast enough to be at the top of most of my heats. But a combination of first lap incidents, strange engine problems and to put the cherry on top a mechanical failure in the final heat coming out of the heats I was not sitting very well overall. The first heat I raced in we finished up eighth, the start was very good later in the first lap I made a few minor mistakes that cost me a lot. Other than that it was a solid first heat race. The second heat race was really good reaching a third finishing position and setting the fastest lap. This heat was by far our best heat race in all aspects. The third heat race a weird heat race. We did some engine testing to see how another engine would perform in the race conditions given. We estimated a tenth difference, and used the same Carburetor as the engine that completed the previous heat races. The start was very good for the particular race, P2 coming out of the first sector. But when we got onto the back straight the engine started cutting out. It continued for a lap and then gradually cleaned it self out. For the first lap I struggled to hold my position but in the end of the heat the engine felt strong and we climbed back to an eighth place finish. In the final heat all I wanted to do was finish the day off with another decent finish so I would have a pretty good start for the Pre-final. Disappointingly you can’t always get what you wish for. I was sitting in third place when my spring on the carburetor that makes the throttle close when you let off the throttle broke. This caused my throttle to be stuck open and ultimately ending my race. When I tried pulling off to the side of the track and killing the engine a driver ran into the back of me extremely hard. I don’t know how as I was off the racing line but it completely destroyed the chassis. The Energy Corse mechanics would have to work extremely hard and late getting my second chassis built for the Finals the following day. After all the weird things throughout the heat races I would start 12th for my Pre-final A.
A Weekend to Forget
After all the hard work the Energy Corse team put into making my second chassis ready for the Finals wouldn’t pay off. The Pre-final was pretty average. Starting on the outside on the 6th row wasn’t easy but I made a really good start in my opinion. I made up positions and had no incidents and no damage at the end of lap one. From there I would advance to seventh. I had a possible shot at a top five but made a miscalculation with one of my lunge passes and would pay for it with a loss in positions. All in all the pre-final wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t too great at the same time.
The Final was what counted, and that what I was counting on. I had not a bad starting position, 13th. Finally got an inside starting position for once! When it came to the start of the Final, immediately I knew there was a problem. The engine would not get off the starting grid to take the start. It was bogging a lot. I didn’t realize really how serious the problem was until at the end of the first lap where I was still experiencing the engine problem. Such a shame to be struck with a mechanical failure when I think we had pace for another podium. With my lap time being over a second off what they we’re in the Pre-final my finishing position would be a 18th. Really disappointing after how fast we we’re early in the week. This goes to show you need more than just speed to translate into results in the Final in European racing. You need the full package. In the WSK Masters Championship I secured 6th place overall after this weekend. Now Energy Corse, GFR Engines and I are focusing on getting regrouped for the second and final round of the European Championship in Ortona, Italy this week. It should be good; we’re sitting fourth in the Championship with a shoot at the tittle! Keep you updated on how it goes through my next Driver Diary on CKN, my website: www.parkerthompsonracing.com, Twitter: @Parkertracing or Facebook: Parker Thompson Racing.
This all could not be possible without the partners of Parker Thompson Racing. Thank you very much Sylvan Lake RV, RLV, Bell Racing Helmets, Tillett Racing Seats, CanadianKartingNews.com, Racing Against Cancer, Panigada European Transport, GFR Engines, TM Racing Engines, Douglas Wheels, Tillotson Carburetors and Energy Corse Factory. For more information check out www.parkerthompsonracing.com or Parker Thompson Racing on Facebook and Twitter @parkertracing.