Race Report for Viking Racing, Kart #64. Redline Oil Karting Championship, Infineon International Karting Center. Race #2 April 11th, 2010
April 11th was the date for the second round of the NorCal Rotax Challenge, the Redline Oil Karting Championship this time at the technical and physically demanding Sprint layout that we had not run since July last year. We were anxious to get on the track upon our solid start of the season with one win and two thirds. When we showed up at the track we were met with almost perfect weather but the report for Sunday was heavy rain and wind - something that would show to be right!
As usually we started to work on the lines and get in to a rhythm as well as working on the setup of the kart. However as the forecast for Sunday was rain we did not spend much time on the actual setup (which would be significantly different in the rain) but put our primary focus in to the lines and braking points. By Friday evening we were back in to what we believed were competitive lap times even without the right set up. Against all forecasts already Saturday morning it started to rain on and off and instead of going on the track we decided to hedge our bets and started to set one of the karts up for a wet race.
Later in the afternoon it cleared up and we put down a couple of sessions improving our lap times from the previous day and we called it the day as the forecast for Sunday still reported rain, which is impossible to practice in the dry. Racing in the rain in a Kart (versus a car) is a mixed experience. The actual driving is fun but it is cold, wet and it easily takes 8-10 hours to clean up the Kart and equipment afterwards - we know since we just did it at the Challenge Of the Americas race in SoCal! As such a number of drivers decided to stay home. We need all the rain experience we can get for the US Grand Nationals in July, where rain is very common.
When we showed up at the track Sunday morning it was raining heavily, windy and pretty cold in the low 40's. We decided to turn it into a positive and got on the track as soon as we could for practice and maximized our track time without focusing too much on the actual race. We probably put down 50 laps of invaluable wet laps where we constantly improved our lap times by working on the wet line, which is substantially different from the dry racing line. We went directly in to qualifying and qualified on pole in our class on second on the overall grid with the Masters Light drivers.
By the time of the Pre finale the rain had picked up even more and parts of the track were flooded but instead of canceling (and thereby disappointing a lot of people) the arrangers chose to shorten the track to a small loop with only 6 corners and a lap time of around 36 seconds VS 1.08 on the wet original Sprint configuration. Starting from the overall second place we made a great start taking the lead already in corner 1 and opened up a comfortable gap. 2/3 in to the race we started to lap people, which is quite a challenge on a 6 corner track with no straights and a very slick track surface.
We managed to pass a couple of drivers and in our attempt to lap a Kart in Corner 3 the driver suddenly hit the brakes much sooner than we anticipated, we had contact and - he spun and we hardly avoided going off track enabling the rest of the field to catch up. We managed to stay in front, however it turned out to be more exciting than needed!
Starting the main finale from pole we opened a comfortable gap and never looked back and as such the main finale went on in an uneventful manner. We won our second race in the season and is in the lead of the Masters Championship with maximum score. As we will miss the next race due to travel we will not rest on the laurels! In the wet over weight is more neutralized and driver skills prevail. As such it was comforting to note that our fastest lap time in the pre finale would have been the second fastest in the normally much faster and 40 pounds lighter Senior class. Yet another good weekend.
Watch the exciting on board video and photos from the event in the video and photo section respectively.
We would like to thank our sponsors for making this season possible!