Practice 1 on Friday started well for the team, despite the rain, with Rebecca putting in times that placed her 3rd quickest in the female group thus demonstrating what earned her the name Rain Queen. After some time getting to know the tricky street circuit, Rebecca was the fastest girl in the second practice session.
Qualifying was on a mixed track with some parts very wet and other sections dry. Rebecca and Thomas qualified 17th out of 23 cars. It was not as high up the grid as they had hoped however they were determined to prove their pace in the race.
Race 1 started on Saturday evening and went into the dark. The weather was still changeable but the decision to run with slicks paid off and Rebecca was able to consistently put in good laps around the street circuit until the weather turned and the track became slippery again.
After 15 laps Rebecca came in for a driver and tyre change. Teammate Thomas Krebs jumped behind the wheel and was eager to demonstrate what he could do with the wet tyres in now wet conditions. However it was not long before it dried up again and the tyres started to get too warm. Thomas brought the car home in 13th at the end of race 1; a position he felt could have been better if they had stuck with slicks. It was difficult to judge what the conditions would be and the top 3 cars all finished on slick tyres; the right, arguably risky, decision paid off and earned them podium places.
Earlier on the same day, Thomas and Rebecca completed their driver change challenge in less than 27 seconds, a superb time that won them an extra five championship points each!
Rebecca says: “The driver change was a separate competition in the pits. Any change under 27 seconds earns us an extra five points and we nailed it!”
Thomas and Rebecca embrace following a 19-second pitstop practice. Watch the video of it here.
In the second race they started 5th out of 21 cars due to a far more successful qualifying session. Due to a start light failure the cars had to do an extra formation lap, the race was then started with the waving of the national flag. This means the session was just 45 minutes instead of the usual 50. The track was dry and Rebecca got into the car for the second stint after some excellent laps from Thomas.
After a safety car and a lot of cars not classified at the end of the race as a result of a high number of incidents, Rebecca and Thomas finished in 6th overall with Rebecca taking home a trophy for being the 2nd fastest female driver in the Reiter Young Stars Championship. Thomas was the fastest male. This complements their last round in Monza where they both brought home trophies.
Rebecca says: “Even just finishing the race here is impressive let alone being placed high. We are very happy. Thomas is an incredible team mate, he is very quick and just gets on with it.”
She went on to say “The street circuit of Pau or indeed any street circuit is not very forgiving because there is little or no run off. You have to be precise with every turn, every overtake and every defence. It was really exciting to race there and it also means so much to race on the same ground as racing greats like and including Fangio.” Some of the historic racing cars will be competing at Pau this weekend as the racing continues beyond the event the SRO GT4 Series was part of.
Pit stops and driver changes are another big part of the racing, and in the Reiter Young Stars Championship the teams are being judged on more than just where they place on track, as Rebecca explains: “The engineers from the universities are also judged on the amount of fuel left at the end of a race, and as a complete team we are judged on pit stop time. We were just over one second above the pit stop mandatory time. The mandatory time is different each race and is always longer for a tyre change.
“It is better to be slightly longer than too short because the SRO issues tough penalties and quite rightly so! However, every second counts in racing so we always work hard to be precise.”
In this series competition is strong with the competitors being hand picked to take part, just another reason Rebecca is thrilled to have had such a fantastic result. She says: “These are not people turning up for a casual bit of racing, the RYS are a group of very talented drivers being ear marked as professional GT3 drivers and coaches. Laura Kraihamer for example won KTM X-Bow Championship last year, and Caitlin Wood has come from formula racing in Australia. These are carefully selected drivers from all over the world but it also feels like a family, everyone is so friendly and we are only fierce on track.”
Rebecca would like to thank the very capable students from FH Aachen University overseen by a professional engineer, her teamate Thomas and Reiter Engineering for her participation in the competition so far and is proud to be 3rd fastest female in the RYS standings.