I’ve never driven or raced on a rally ‘cross track’. Then, to be racing at Holjes Sweden – it was certainly not how it looks on TV. From the driving seat its wildly different! It is a totally different discipline to what I have been used to and what I trained for many years to do. I could compare it between boxing and UFC.
That was my first hurdle. Learning and understanding the track was the first priority. Secondly, my seat position. I have to be confident and because I was finding the position uncomfortable in my test laps some changes were required. I am 5ft 2.5inches. The .5 is very important! The mechanics had to build a box on my footplate so that I had that adequate control over the pedals. I need to brake with the ball of my foot and not my toes and so some mini-engineering was needed so that I could drive this beast! More importantly I needed better throttle control!
What I had to get my head around was the throttle. I say this because it is not just the power in an electric car, which is a lot. It is how to deliver that power. I was being told by the team that my right foot was too aggressive, eager me just wanting to blast off, anyway, I blamed my seating position for that. This was soon rectified!
So, my jump start was not my finest moment, again my determination to get a flying start from the grid did highlight another problem. Smaller people tend to have smaller hands and of course a smaller thumb reach. In order to activate launch control you have to have the car in First Gear and then Race mode then you have to press and hold the launch button with your thumb whilst holding the car on the handbrake. Launch control is then engaged.
Once the ‘ready to race’ lights come on then you have to apply a 75-100% throttle of course this is weather dependant. Once the ‘green lights’ come one, you release the handbrake and the launch control button pretty much simultaneously! The problem for me was on releasing this button and the handbrake at the same time whilst the equivalent of 600bhp was delivered. I could only hold the wheel with my left 3 fingertips and therefore opted to use a manual start. This effectively meant that I lost time off the grid.
I’ve been increasing the strength in my hands dramatically ready for the next race.
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