Tatiana leaves Hampton Downs wiser and stronger after finding form

Having opted to solve her handling issues through practice by taking a blind setup into qualifying from teammate Mardenborough who had delivered a front row place Tatiana opted to go with her instincts and made changes to her car which she believed would better suit her driving style. She only had one way to go after the disaster of qualifying will see her start flat last for Race 3. However, before that she had a good opportunity for a decent result in Race 2, starting from her 12th place finishing position from yesterdays encounter.

Race 2

Tatiana made a great start and a brave move into turn 1 taking several cars and keeping her foot firmly in and giving absolutely no quarter to the competitors around her, which included her team mates Tang and Tanart. At the end of a very aggressive first lap Tatiana was 9th and looking back on form, seeming comfortable with the car.

Several of the quick drivers were out of position starting behind her, Seralles and Auer being amongst them and they too were making there way through the field. A very close battle ensued, Tatiana in the thick of it, a five car train of high speed cars led by Tatiana.

Lap-after-lap and often side-by-side the battle went, with the Colombian no doubt relieved inside her helmet that she was once again back competing in a car she trusted and that was behaving in harmony with her own style.

On lap 11 Tatiana befell the same fate at turn 4 that scuppered her in yesterdays race. Edged out by Tanart her car placed on the loose surface and she could only watch as with no traction 4 cars past in a flash. Moving quickly she recovered to harry Seralles to the finish to cross the line 13th.

The position was irrelevant, the performance and the confidence was back.

Race 3

It’s hard to be positive from 19th and last on the grid but strangely upbeat Tatiana was ready for the fight, happy she was now going in the right direction and knew that a solid drive would see a decent finishing position.

As it proved the race was a chaotic affair, a red flag and no less than 2 safety car periods broke up the race but this played nicely into her hands. A decent first start saw her make a place on Goddard and Scott but with a red flag for a collision between four cars at turn 2 saw the cars reform on the grid in there original starting positions.

Another start and Tatiana dispatched the same victims, running in 12th as the race progressed, the teammate Nandy brought out the safety car after his car caught fire. The pack bunched, Tatiana now in 11th position.

Another restart and another place gained and Tatiana was starting to build a result, then another safety car for the Brazilian Bonifacio, his second major wreck of the weekend.

At the next restart after the debris had been cleared Tatiana had another go and was running behind her Tanart and Tang, her team mates also enjoying an excellent race position and looking good for 3 ETEC cars in the top ten for the first time this season. Tatiana was now up to 7th. 12 places higher than her grid spot.

Lap 17 and the ETEC trio were battling each other hard, Tatiana in pursuit missed a gear into Turn 2, locked the rears and around went the car at high speed. All the great work undone as cars flashed past. She gathered the car to cross the line in 13th spot.

This was for Tatiana a weekend where she learned so much about herself as a driver and a racer, undoubtedly making some big moves forward in her driving and learning that she should have belief in her considerable driving abilities.

Looking comfortable Tatiana said “ I should never have been influenced to follow a direction of a driver who does not have my technique, I am really happy that when I did things my way things got better and I’m going to take a lot of lessons from this”

She can put those into practice at the final round of the Toyota Racing Series at Manfield Raceway at Palmerston North on the 10th 11th February 2013, culminating in the Grand Prix of New Zealand.