Brands Hatch frustration for Abra

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

After missing the previous two rounds JCAM backed paring of Mark Poole and Richard Abra returned to the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge raring to get back racing after their strong run last time out at Donington which saw them finish on the podium.

Richard Abra was again chosen to qualify the car in the 40 minute session. “Qualifying started off damp we knew the circuit would dry out so we waiting till half way through the sessions were it looked like the circuit was dry enough to put a quick lap in but it wasn’t to be, we went out too soon and just took the best out of the tyres pushing too hard on what realistically wasn’t the best conditions the session would see” said Abra “I pushed as hard as I could towards the end of the session and put in a 50.2 which was provisional pole but then as now the track was completely dry everyone else decided to put fresh tyres on and we and inevitably Dan went quickest on a 49.8 I said to the guys on the radio I just cannot do that time on these tyres,  so instead on using 3 sets of new tyres just for qualifying like others, we decided to settled for 2nd on the grid.”

Sunday would see Richard Abra starting the JCAM backed car for the 90min endurance race round the Brands Hatch Indy circuit. Starting second Abra made a good start but lost out to into the first corner and had to settle for third. “I had a great start and was slightly ahead of Dan going into paddock but unsure of tyre temp and grip levels I decided to break early, in doing that I had to tuck in behind the Stratton car who was right on the tale of Dan! I stayed cool and calm, trying not to push too hard on new cold tyres and just took my time bringing them up to temp, I could see the Stratton car being very aggressive in trying to pass Dan and knew he would kill his tires in no time”

By lap 4 Richard was confident that he had the grip under him to challenge the second placed Stratton car “I felt the car was fully up to temperature and started to push on, putting the Stratton car under pressure, knowing that Dan was slowly starting to pull away in the lead I knew I had to get past quickly luckily the Stratton car made a mistake going into druids and leaving the door wide open for me, I didn’t need a second invitation!” 

By this stage Dan de Zille had pulled out a 2 second gap which Abra set about closed down in 3 laps. “I really started to push and the car felt great I remember telling the team that the car had never felt as good as this in a race! I quickly caught Dan up and he was having a lot of trouble at Surtees and turning into clearways, leaving the door wide open for me, it took a couple of tries but eventually I went through and started to pull a bit of a gap, unfortunately at this time we had started to lap the slower guys and had to deal with the traffic, so every time I would pull a 3 second gap it would be reduced to 1.5 seconds!  The car was feeling great and at the end of my stint we were 3 seconds in the lead”

Abra pitted the on lap 53 to hand over to team mate Mark Poole after  maintaining the lead which he’d taken from Dan de Zille some 46 laps earlier. “I came in to hand over to my team mate to finish of the race who unfortunately only managed two corners as he suffered total brake failure going into druids. Mark did a great job of turning into the corner and scrubbing off enough speed not to hit the barrier but he was beached in the gravel and that was the end of the race for us! The team are investigating what and why this happened to ensure it doesn’t happen again but it looks like the brake fluid boiled in the pit land causing the pedal to go soft as I didn’t have any brake issues at all.”

“It was massively frustrating to retire while leading obviously we were heading for a very strong result and the car had never felt better, but that’s racing...”
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