What're you looking at!
The two most dangerous times in a Formule De race are in the first lap--especially the first half--because of the danger of collisions, and in the last lap when you are tryig to nurse your car home and still drive aggressively.
Our Kyalami race certainly had a good dose of the first crux, and an exciting finish due to the second.
Out time trials were conducted in the rain, so the corners were a little ticky. There are no three-stop corners on this track, but the two two-stop corners are rather elongated hairpins, and recquire some careful navigation. Despite the rain, we clocked in some pretty good scores:
Shadow (c): 21
Noel (c): 22
Turtle (p): 24
Lucky (c): 25
Lady Bug (p): 26
Bumble Bee (p): 26
c = me (Chris)
p = Penny
Only two cars opted for hard tires (Lucky and Lady Bug). This hadn't seemed like a track particulary hard on gas or body, so we mostly went with a standard construction: 5 or 6 tires, depending on whether hard or soft tires were used; 3 or 4 gas; 4 brakes; 2 or 3 points allotted for body; two for engine and suspension.
I took a chance and only gave two body points to Noel. This can be risky in that two collision points can rack up pretty easily.
All cars got off to a normal start, with pole position (Shadow) making it into the first corner in second gear.
On the first lap, especially on the first few corners, the pack can get pretty crowded. This race was no exception with Bumble Bee taking a collision point in the first corner.
The second corner recquires two stops and the entry to it was quite clogged as Lady Bug, Noel and Shadow, all had collisions. As a result there were danger spots on the first space on the inside and outside lane, and in the spot before entering the outside lane. So navigating this second corner would have to change on the next two laps.
Noel briefly took the lead, which was then taken by Lady Bug. The third corner is a nice long one-stop corner that allows for high speed. Shadow regained the lead, only to lose it to Noel as they approached the fourth corner.
By the time they left the fourth corner, everything had changed again, as the three frontrunners were in a clump, and the back three formed their own group:
Bumble Bee got in another collision on the fifth corner, but by the next corner, had taken second place, as Shadow made a bad shift entering the sixth corner. Bumble Bee was now in fifth gear in the middle of a very tight corner and was gearing down, so his gain would likely not last long.
Turtle also surged ahead, but had to gear all the way down to first gear to complete the corner, as my three cars now occupied fourth, fifth and sixth place.
Both Lady Bug and Bumble Bee fell short on the seventh corner, giving a Noel a chance to catch up, but a collision sent him out of the race!
Amidst the confusion, Shadow recaptured the lead.
Only Bumble Bee stopped in the pits fo some body work, gas and tires.
Entering the second lap, the cars were in the following order:
Shadow now had a good lead, while my other car, Lucky, was trailing badly. Turtle took another collison on the second corner, making it more of an obstacle course.
Lady Bug was now catching up to Shadow, as Lucky managed to catch up to Turtle.
Leaving the fourth corner, the order was:
Shadow was now driving conservatively to make it to the pits. With only one brake and tire point left, he wasn't taking chances. Lady Bug made a bid for the lead at this point, shaving Shadow's lead, but not catching him.
Only Shadow and Turtle opted for the pits on this lap. Lady Bug and Lucky both had hard tires and felt they had enough left to finish the race, where Bumble Bee had stopped on the first lap.
With shadow in the pits, Bumble Bee caught up, and then pulled ahead. Turtle suffered the first engine damage of the race, followed shortly after by Bumble Bee.
Shadow regained the lead by the second corner, and held it. By the fourth corner though, despite a pit stop, Shadow had to drive conservatively to ensure he would finish the race, and Bumble Bee passed him again. Lady Bug and Turtle were a respectable third and fourth, while Lucky was amazingly far behind.
Shadow and Bumble Bee raced neck and neck through the last three corners, both abandoning all caution. In corner eight, Shadow had a slight edge and shifted into sixth for the final push and won!
Bumble Bee (6)
Lady Bug (3)
Noel (eliminated: body damage)
The Kyalami is a solid track: not too punishing, but not too easy.