Rui Teixeira Driver Diary 3.0
Virtual CTCC round 3 Barcelona, ES
Lombardi Honda Racing
GT: XPR Rooster
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test for Catalunya as much as I was hoping for. With the busy week coming off Road Atlanta and doing some things for real CTCC I found myself on race day without any practice.
Qualifying: I had no testing heading into the event, I had no idea what would be necessary to qualify in A or B lobby as well. I had also learned qualifying at Infineon that my lap time was good enough for fourth, but a dropped wheel added 20 minutes to my time and would put me to the back of the grid. On the grid for Qualifying at catalunya I asked the lobby host what time would be ideal to aim for. A 132.000 would be ideal for me to be competitive so I began my 5 lap qualifying session. Lap 1 was a miserable 136.689 to put me around 4+ seconds off the pace. Thankfully each lap was getting better as I could shave off about 1 second a lap. Come the end of the session, I was only able to get down to a 133.040 putting me down in B lobby.
Race 1: This race was interesting for me, starting third in my lobby I knew I had to get a good start if I had any chance at taking points away from HCR Fezza Power in the Ford Fiesta’s. Fortunately for me I start races better than l qualify. I was able to get literally in between the two HCR Fiesta’s making it 3 a breast going into turn one. Being able to make up one spot halfway through the first lap was a bonus to split up the HCR guys. Going through corner 5 and 6 the leader went just a bit wide through a very fast section. I was lucky enough to get up the inside while the rest of the field was forced around the outside giving me a larger than expected lead. It wasn’t many laps until I saw the two HCR cars together in the distance behind. I knew they were quick, and together they could catch me. I pushed as hard as possible to just keep my gap alive until the ST cars caught us. The strategy worked well as the ST cars caught the HCR boys and EZT TomCat7 early. This would put them a little further back giving me enough space to manage the second half of the race easily.
Race 2: Just as always race 2 is a little more heated. I knew that the HCR guys wouldn’t lay down and let me walk away with this one. Again I had an extraordinary start to the race taking the lead going into turn one. I Caught myself with a smirk feeling like Alonso at Catalunya back in 2010. Anyone who hasn’t seen that start is missing out. To put this race into perspective if there was a demonstration for multi-car class racing and CTCC this would be the one. Not only did the lead change many times, but the ST cars had a major effect on our results as I’m sure we did on their’s. Around mid race I couldn’t hold onto the lead anymore having one of the Fiesta’s go by. The ST leader was coming up on us so I thought it would be a good chance to attack for the lead. The exact opposite happened as I went wide in the final section of the lap and found myself holding onto my second place. The lead to first was a big one at over 4 seconds. With only a third of the race left to go I knew it was going to take some ST class luck. 4 laps later my luck had come through, putting the lead fiesta wide. I regained the lead with 4 laps left and was in a tight battle with the other HCR Fiesta for the win. On the penultimate lap I came up short in a great battle with the Fiesta for the lead. Coming off the final corner of the race I had a great run through the chicane and was able to put my LHR Fit in a drag race for the win. Unfortuanly I came up half a car length short unable to take my second lobby win during the weekend.
Final thoughts: Once again XPLR has pulled off an excellent event and XPR with the Fit ready to go as always. Big congrats to my teammate XPR Colgate in the sister Fit on his A lobby win. We were even able to take the team championship lead by a mere 4 points. The championship is getting really exciting and I am thankful to be a part of it. Like to acknowledge the HCR Team for great competitive racing. Another big congrats to EZT TomCat7 on your progression in the series! From race 1 at Infineon to race 3 at Catalunya you have come a long way.