This weekend saw me head to Barcelona to tackle the Catalunya circuit for my first race with Arden. You never know what to expect at the start of the season but I was excited nonetheless ahead of the race, the same feeling I had when I made my JOTA debut last week.
We arrived at the track on Friday evening, but just before stepping out onto the tarmac the heaven's opened. This meant we could only do a limited amount of running, as we had to save the wet tyres for the weekend ahead. In the end, we could only complete a few laps which wasn't ideal, as you need to have a decent amount of time to learn how the car responds. However, every driver has to deal with the same conditions, so you can't complain too much.
On Saturday morning we moved on to qualifying; where our strategy was to go out and set a lap time straight away, just to see how the overall balance was of the car. Although the sun started to break through, the circuit was still damp from the night before, meaning the track was continually evolving.
After 30 minutes qualifying, we ended up placing 5th overall out of 25th drivers, putting us in a strong place to fight for a podium position in our first race.
On race day, the track was nice and dry. We had time to watch the F1 qualifying during the day and I also managed to watch the GP2 race after that as well. There is often quite a lot of waiting around on race day, which gave me time to check in with my team mates at JOTA, who were racing at Imola in Italy at the same time.
On to the race then and I made a great start which saw me in joint third position going into turn one. Unfortunately, the guy I was alongside didn't see me and ended up squeezing me off and onto the grass, dropping me back down to 6th place. It's unfortunate but just one of those things, there was nothing I could do but back off and loose a few places.
At the end of that lap, I was overconfident going around the last corner and understeered wide and onto the dirty part of the track. I ended up going through the gravel which I meant that I lost another position. I was pretty annoyed with myself for that mistake - but being the first race of the year these things do happen and we ended up finishing in seventh place.
When it came to race two on Sunday, we started second (as the top eight positions are reversed for the start of the race). The heavens opened again on Saturday night so the track was wet for the start of the race. Unfortunately, I wheel spun off the line, which dropped me back to fourth position.
Even before the race we knew that over taking was very difficult on this circuit, so I knew it would be hard to win the race. We ended up finishing fourth overall- which given the circumstances wasn't too bad. Having started the race in second position ,I had my heart set on a podium finish but It wasn't meant to be. I will remain focused and begin preparing for the next race; the most iconic race in the world, the Le Mans 24hrs which is just less than a month away now.