Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory

Eh. I can walk away from this one and feel good. It wasn't my fault in the slightest. It was my fault that I still finished as well as I did. Considering. And I had to lose sometime.

Around lap 15, I lost 3rd gear. Like, entirely. Gearbox just wouldn't shift into it. Felt like I was putting the car in neutral, and that's how the car behaved. The way this track is set up, most turns work out to exit at the top of second gear, which means that this was just a god-awful failure to have. Worst possible gear to lose. Actually, it forced me to completely change the way I drive.

I go slow-in and fast-out. Nice and safe, keeps me alive, keeps the car in one piece instead of many smaller pieces, keeps me in the game. And it gives me a lot of leeway when it comes to making a pass in mid-turn. Everyone drives slow-in and fast-out, unless they're crazy or really, really need to win.

With no third gear, and thus no way to go fast out, I had to barrel into turns in 4th gear, pop the car into neutral and just let it spin as I danced on the brakes and kept the engine revving with some light gas-work, and then abruptly put it back in gear after rev-matching it.


The embarassing thing is, I still finished third. Only the M3 and the S4/RS6 took me. And the margin between us was .536 seconds, with just .274 seconds in between me and the M3. I beat the Corvette, which came in fourth, by 2.173 seconds.

Oh, and I'm way out in front in terms of championship points, which are worked out as a function of actual finishes, laps led, seconds above or below average, and average position over the course of a race. So it's very possible to win the thing even if you lead every lap, and then park 15 feet back from the finish line for ten minutes. Pathetic little championship points for a fake gold cup on a crappy podium made out of plywood and covered with a sheet.

In other words, the taste of victory distilled into pure state, without the big gold championship dish, the bikini-clad umbrella girls, the endorsements and the sponsors. Only two things...winning, and losing.


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