Going into free practice I really wasn’t expecting us to be that strong as Thruxton has historically been difficult for rear-wheel-drive cars. Colin [Turkington, WSR team-mate] went well all weekend and had great balance so we went down that road for our own setup.
Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out as well for us, but we were in the ballpark, which was good going into qualifying.
I started to feel a little bit ill ahead of qualifying and come the end of the session we were not where we wanted to be. I wasn’t full of confidence in the car at any point and felt we could have been higher than where we ended up. After a scrappy lap, we took 8th, which wasn’t bad but could have been better.
I then felt a lot worse over Saturday night and was feeling pretty rough on Sunday morning. I’d never felt adrenaline quite like I did on Sunday. I was okay during the races but the moment I crossed that finished line it was like a switch and I was back to feeling terrible.
The BMW was incredibly oversteery in race one, but we had a great start, as BMWs often do, and managed to get up to sixth. Luckily for us, the race got a little bit strung out and I was able to bring it home safely in sixth.
Still feeling incredibly rough I just chilled between the races, trying to make sure that I just kept myself well enough to get back in the car for the next race. Starting from sixth we had another good start and made our way up to fourth.
We dropped down to fifth by the finish but having crossed the line at the end of that race I just felt done. I got back into the team trailer and was just telling myself that if I could keep myself going and get in the car for the last race I’d be OK. I was sick one more time and I think that used up the last bit of my energy.
Colin’s wife took one look at me and asked if I was feeling OK and although I said I was, she could see that there was something wrong. The medical team came to see me and they could tell that I was not going to be well enough to take the grid for race three. I can’t even remember going to the Medical Centre or even the trip to hospital, so it was definitely the right decision to sit out the last race.
It’s absolutely gutting, though. The reverse grid had drawn me third for the last race, meaning that, given our strong starts, it was incredibly likely that I’d have ended up leading into the complex and would have been a strong contender for a podium at the chequered flag.
That being said, I have no question that the right decision was made. I was not in any fit state for that race and I can now concentrate on going to Oulton Park where the BMW should be quite competitive.
Before Oulton, though, I’m really looking forward to going to Speedmachine this weekend and competing in the British round of the World Rallycross Championship. The new event setup looks really cool, and when I was offered the chance to compete in my home event – and the first rallycross race at Silverstone – it really was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, it looks like it might be a public shakedown as the car is only just finished, but I have no doubt that it’s going to be a fun weekend!