Heading to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, I was confident that I could score some decent points in the next three rounds of the World GT Championship, as I'd shown strong pace and gained a lot of confidence at the opening two meetings, just without the tally of points to show it due to silly incidents. One of the races on media night was held at the Canadian street circuit, and it was one of my most anticipated rounds on the calendar.
In Practice, the car was feeling slightly off - I hadn't driven much around the very tricky circuit, so felt out of my depth to begin with - especially with the Audi being such a hater of kerbs and bounces - it was going to be a case of being careful on the throttle and not taking too many liberties at the chicanes. I ended Practice in 36th place.
Qualifying was a tough one as well - the car not responding how I wanted in my early laps, and hot temperatures made oversteer a real issue through the first sector. I was looking like I'd scrape into the Top 30, with a 1:33.7, but after I went to get new tyres and top up the fuel a bit, I came back out and put a consistent lap together - getting a 1:33.2 and ending the session in 19th!
Starting high up the order (compared to normal), I needed to make sure that I stayed there, and held on as long as possible. After one of my trademark "overly cautious" first laps, I found myself in 22nd. Over the next few laps, I kept getting "freight-trained" - multiple cars passing me as the result of one opening the door for them. Add in a small mistake on Lap 4, and by the end of Lap 6 I was down in 29th position.
From there I started a gradual comeback through the field, which included one of my greatest ever overtaking moves around Michael Blake into turns 5 and 6. I made a clip of it on my Twitch Channel - I was that pleased with it. I closed on some cars in front towards the very end, and crossed the line 23rd. I was happy with my pace towards the end, but wish I wouldn't have been so overly careful at the start.
A casual start to Race 2 from 23rd was what I wanted, and for about three quarters of a lap, that's what I got. Into the hairpin on Lap 1 I ended up three wide, and got hit hard in the door on the exit - I survived without any serious damage. On to Lap 2 though, and a late call from my spotter meant that I was unaware of an accident developing just ahead of me - hidden by the huge Mercedes AMG GT3 I was chasing.
I stopped by the side of the track after not getting too involved, but had to wait while cars reset back to the pits, dropping me down to 35th place. Not ideal to say the least. It was once again time to climb back up the order - not before another hit, as a group of cars avoided a third incident ahead of me. On the final lap, while 28th, I was trying too hard chasing Steve Burke, lost the car and got collected by someone else, dropping me to 32nd at the line.
I would start there for the final race of the night, and just hope to keep up my pace and move forward. By the Lap 6, after a tiny bit of contact here and there I was in 26th place. There was a huge battle developing in front of me, made up of 7 or 8 cars, covered by just over a second. Into the hairpin, the car behind me missed his braking point and just tapped the rear of my car, turning me into a bowling ball on the grass. I made contact with at least 3 cars and was now in 36th. For the third time in three races, it was damage limitation, and I crossed the line 30th.
I now sit 9th in the ProAm Championship, 120 points off the leader. There is going to be a re-classification of some drivers during the week off, so this may change, and we're waiting on protest results that could potentially change the points everyone has. I just need a breakthrough week to change my fortunes and get me up there. For now, it's time to get practicing for Interlagos on the 9th of March!
Thanks again to CQR Club for giving me so much help, and for an amazing 12 months, as on the weekend, it reached a year since I joined the squad. I'm very grateful for everything they do, and hope I can prove myself as the season progresses.