If ever you needed reminding how dangerous and unpredictable our sport is, Roger Lago’s big accident in qualifying for the latest Carrera Cup round in Townsville is it.
Roger crashed heavily and ended up in hospital with a long list of injuries including a punctured lung, broken ribs and a fractured left tibia, after hitting the wall at speed in his Porsche.
Fortunately he’ll make a full, though I am sure painful recovery, and I am equally sure he’ll be chopping at the bit to get out on the track again. Great news about a great bloke.
But Roger’s accident has had an impact on me too, because I was due to share a Lamborghini with him, plus David Russell and Steve Owen, in the Spa 24 Hours endurance event later this month.
David, Steve and I had already been to Spa with Roger’s car, a brand-new Rieter-built latest-spec Gallardo racer, for the official Test Day at that amazing Belgium track.
Roger hadn’t been able to make it, so he left the three of us to bed the new car in and figure out what we needed to do, to win the Pro-Am class of the Spa race.
However, Roger’s accident in Townsville and his lengthy convalescence has put paid to the Spa 24 Hours assault for this year … a great shame but totally understandable as Roger is paying the bills.
He’s a great enthusiast and we’re all already planning to do it in 2016.
What I can tell you, in my one day running around the Spa track is that the Lambo is an absolute rocket and as amazing to drive as you might expect. It’s surprisingly different to the Ferrari 458 I drove there last year too … it’s a much ‘twitchier’, more ‘pointy’ car, perhaps not as user-friendly to drive.
Whether that would make it harder to live with through a 24 hour race I don’t know … I suspect like any race car, it’s a matter of finding the ‘sweet spot’, what it likes, and driving it that way.
I was looking forward to doing the Spa 24 Hours again but that’s life … hopefully we’ll get a crack in 2016.
Townsville wasn’t overly kind to me in my Red Bull Racing Commodore either.
For 2015 we reverted to Townsville’s original format of two 200km races over the weekend (rather than two 100km races on Saturday, one 200km race on Sunday) though still with a mandated mix of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ tyres.
So as you’d imagine, the trick to winning is to get your car working well on both types of tyres, so you can maximise race-long pace.
Problem is that, this year especially, we have struggled to make our Red Bull Racing Commodore quick on both tyre types … usually it’s quick on one or other, but not both.
That was the story in FNQ … we really struggled with the car in Saturday’s race and finished mid field, then had a disastrous qualifying on Sunday morning and ended up on the back row!!
Fortunately we did get the car working much better in the race and I was able to battle through, and we finished just inside the top ten. Not ideal but I was at least able to retain second position in the Championship chase.
So it’s back to base – Banyo, Brisbane if you’re interested – and we’ll try to make more sense of it.
There’s a long way to go in the season still but we do need to start closing that points gap to Championship leader Mark Winterbottom.
Stay safe, speak soon.