After Magny-Cours I was pretty confident of my pace and looking forward to making up some lost ground. I have always liked the Hockenheim circuit with its relatively high-speed straights and fast, flowing corners. The last time I was here I won one race, and got punted off in the other, so I had mixed thoughts.
The first couple of practice sessions proved to be tricky with quite a bit of strange rubber laid on the circuit; this was mainly from drift series and trackdays that had used it previously. I struggled with the car a bit but put in the odd quick time so was not too disappointed with the first day.
Qualifying was a different ball game with the grip levels increasing as time went on. Getting a decent clear lap is crucial due to the high speed corners. I managed an average lap on my first set of tyres and was planning to make good ground on the second set. Unfortunately the oil cooler was leaking and had to be replaced, meaning that I missed out on track time, and did not go any faster. I was starting 10th for the first and third race.
So, after a disappointing qualifying, I was looking forward to making up good ground. I had a great start to the race, passing several cars on the first few laps, before settling down to a decent pace. I had pressure from previously-passed James Calardo but managed to fend him off with some consistent lap times. The first corner of this track has tarmac after the kerb, meaning that you can use it to your advantage, however due to this being a track limit it was illegal to do so. I made sure I did not pass this limit, unlike some others, who soon after got penalised for doing so. This bumped me up a couple of places and I managed to get my first podium of the year after finishing the race in third.
After a decent first race the reverse grid placed me in seventh for the second – which was going to make progress hard with a fair few quick drivers in front of me. After a normal start I managed to get tangled in a bit of a moment in front of me which pushed me back several places. I pushed hard with a car that didn’t quite suit the conditions and pulled back to finish 11th after what turned out to be a pretty eventful race.
I was also placed 10th for the start of the third race. I planned to make good progress but with over-eagerness I ran too wide into turn one and got penalised with a drive-through penalty. This pushed me far down the ranks to 17th place from which I fought back to get myself into 11th place and a position to bid for the last point given. I pushed hard and managed to get myself behind Alex Brundle before trying a move around the outside of the Mercedes complex corner. I was pushed slightly wide over a large sleeping-policeman kerb which sent me airborne and meant I lost many places. I also got a penalty at the end for going over the track limits regardless of the fact I was four feet in the air. I finished 16th in the final race.
Overall it was a good result to come on the podium that weekend and I wanted to progress from there and grab myself a few more podiums in the next race.