Brands Hatch: wet weather fails to put dampers on fans’ fun

Formula Two returned to its Brands Hatch home at the weekend, and thousands of fans braved the downpours to see Daniel and his rivals put on a racing show that banished the wet-weather blues.

“The support from the British fans for F2 was very impressive,” said Daniel. “It was the biggest turn-out of the year. I heard reports of 10-15 thousand people, which is a lot considering the bad weather. Sunday was quite nice, but that was as far as it went – Saturday was just dire.”

It was the second wet race meeting in a row for the series, after Spa was hit by torrential rain that led to the Sunday race being red-flagged, and with Daniel and the other British drivers plunging themselves into publicity duties it meant a full and varied weekend of work.

“It was interesting being involved in the publicity,” said Daniel. “Unfortunately the changing conditions on the Friday and Saturday didn’t help set up a car that wasn’t behaving as it should have done.

“We struggled all weekend – the car didn’t feel right the whole time. We were scratching our heads and looking at many different things but the conditions initially made it very difficult to find out what was going on and pinpoint things.”

It took until Sunday qualifying, which was run in better weather, before Daniel and his crew were able to confirm the car was suffering from damage to its rear dampers following an impact in the rain at Spa.

By then he had endured a wet race of attrition on Saturday, finishing 10th as others crashed around him: “The first race proved to be carnage, with many people not finishing,” he said. “It was one of those races where to be in the points all you had to do was finish, and in very difficult conditions I brought it home.

“Sunday qualifying was in the dry, which was a change, but we didn’t quite get on top of the underlying issue with the dampers. Although we did find it and change them for the race I was starting far back which is a disadvantage at Brands.”

His second strong start of the weekend helped him improve and he took the flag in 8th place, wrapping up a visit memorable more for the strong fan support than for on-track good fortune. Next up is Paul Ricard in France, where Daniel hopes for a change in results.

He said: “Hopefully we have solved the issue with the car for the next round. Brands wasn’t quite the round I was looking for but at times we all have hard weekends.

“I have a slight advantage for Paul Ricard in that I tested there earlier in the year and not everyone else did. It’s also one of my personal favourite circuits.”

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