FIA Under 18 World championship round 2-August
Following the promise of the first round the Velocity team travelled to France for the second round with great anticipation. A really good test prior to the event meant the Velocity team had found a great setup for the intrepid chassis with developments following the first round to ensure the chassis's pace stayed consistently fast throughout the race. Set up would be all important on the Angerville circuit which has many corners a track that Gus does not like despite his speed around it!
Practise went extremely well with Velocity topping the time sheets and never dropping out of the top 10, this despite a rain shower in the last practise session. Qualifying was held on a drying track Gus being unfortuante to be in the first session. By his own admission Gus did not get his positioning right in the qualifying session encountering traffic on a a lap where he was 4 tenths up on his previous best, Frustratingly Gus missed pole by just 3 tenths and the team where dissappointed with 8th in group in the knowledge that the pole time was there in the kart. The team however concentrated once more on the first objective which was to make the final. After a shaky start in the heats following a crash Gus went on to finish 15th, 8th and a great 4th the kart looking faster as the session went on, this meant for the second time in a row Gus made it to the final, Gus battled hard in the race to record a creditable 22nd position with competitive lap times.
The next race will be a first for the team and in fact for everyone, Held in November at the Bahrain international GP track the event is set to be the first CIK FIA international Kart race to be held at night. Check back here to keep up to date how the team gets on.
Pictures are courtesey of Chris Walker Kartpix. For more great shots check out the Velocity Motorsport 2012 Gallery here
Harrison and Velocity finsh 6th in the World in Abu Dubai!- November
Velocity Motorsport and driver Nathan Harrison made the long trip to the Al Ain Raceway in Abu Dahbi to represent the UK at the Rotax World Finals in the Junior Rotax catergory. The event is special in that every driver has equal equipment handed out at the start of the week long event so its up to the driver and race engineer to work closely to achieve a good setup in order to out perform the competition. Renewing old relationships Nathan and mechanic 'Carbon' soon got back to their previous ways and were pacesetters in the very first practise session! .
Carbon acting as race engineer / mechanic / manager for this event and Nathan worked hard throughout the limited practise sessions focusing primarily on the race pace, going into qualifying the pair were in confident mood despite only being 22nd in the final practise. In true Velocity spirit however there had been a logical plan to testing and come qualifying all the pieces were put together. This strategy was taken due to the ease of which other competiors could copy your set up due to the shared paddock area! The event showed the experiance in depth of the Velocity team due to the event being run on the unfamiliar Birel kart, this did not pose a problem! The qualifying session was a 15 minute long session the strategy was therefore to wait as long as possible to save the tyres and go for the one off hot lap, the pair timed this to perfection and Nathan put in a stunning lap to qualify 3rd overall on only his third rolling lap, this put Nathan as top Brit!
Going into the heats there was a relaxed mood in the Velocity corner of the UK pit area, Ash from Evolution was on hand to help Nathan out with his race tactics and act as a 'spotter' on the other side of the 1.4km long Al Ain raceway. Unfortunately disaster struck as Nathan was muscled back to 5th at the start of the first heat following a nervous first corner, Nathan was then hit hard again after colliding with another driver on the first lap and sending himself into a spin after getting onto the dirt and marbles. Nathan staged a fine recovery drive setting fastest lap along the way, coming from 32nd to finish 17th, unfortunately the stewards would later impose Nathan with a 10seconds penalty for his actions on the first lap. This incident made the team a little nervous however we knew we had the pace, Nathan therefore opted for a conservative route in the 2nd heat to finish 3rd. The following day Nathan knew he had to get a top ten finish in the third and final heat to be in with a shout of making the world final . The weather conditions were much cooler with the worry of rain on everyones mind (this being in the dessert) however this failed to come to fruition and Nathan made a super start and the Velocity Motorsport setup looked very strong a fine 2nd place finish being the result. A nervous wait followed as the team waited to find out if Nathan had automatically qualified for the World final, after an anxious few moments the team found out that Nathan had easily made the final despite his first race incident Qaulifying in 17th position for the pre final.
The finals were held in much hotter conditions, the tactics were simple stick tight to the inside on the chaotic first corner and make up as many places as possible in the pre final! The long pre final went much to plan with a fanatastic start putting Nathan from 17th to 13th on the first lap. Nathan then patiently worked his way through the field to come and eventual 9th the kart looking strong in the middle of the race.
The final then came and it was great for a Velocity Motorsport driver to walk out onto the main straight of the driver and place the kart in 9th position in front of the 5000 strong crowd and many thousands more watching the race over the internet. The race was all or nothing, and knowing that the track would be much grippier following the other catergories pre finals changes were made to the chassis. Nathan and Carbon made a pact on the grid that whatever happened they were really proud of there achievements but there was only one place to finish in a race like this and thats first! Going into the race every one was nervous but quietly confident.
Nathan made a superb start, however the 4 rolling up laps in the 35 degree heat were making Carbon nervous, would the Kart stay onto the end of the race after the pair had made the decision to go for an aggressive strategy and be fast at the start to ensure the front row drivers did not escape. The teams strategy worked well on the opening lap of the race with the kart looking superb and Nathan making it to a fantastic second by the 3/4 distance point of the race, an aggresive move during this fantastic rise up the order saw Nathan hit a kerb hard, post race this event was found to have bent the kingpin putting the front geometry of the kart out of line. As the race went on towards the closing stages the circuits ever imrpoving grip and the four rolling up laps started to take its toll and Nathan started to drop back towards the pack a ambitious move by the Austialian driver forced Nathan wide onto the marbles meaning that Nathan lost futher momentum and slipped back to his eventual finishing position of 6th.
Initially Nathan and Carbon were gutted as they aimed to at least make the podium following the strong showing through out the week long event. However following time to reflect Carbon and Nathan grew happy in the knowledge that Velocity Motorsport and driver Nathan HArrison had just finished 6th in the World. Well done Nathan! This meanth that Velocity and Nathan had managed to beat 66 drivers at the event which in totalling up all the drivers from the 56 Nations present meant that had beat over 4000 of the Worlds best Junior Rotax competitiors!
Velocity now looks to further its relationship with Nathan in the 2012 season were pending further negotiations Nathan will be part of Velocity's attack on the CIK FIA under 18 World championship.