Thursday, 17:00: Everyone gets a stint, with four refuelling stops between our five drivers. The track dries a little throughout, but we don't make much progress.

Our final placing is 27th which, out of 29, means I've had better races. Mind you, I've had worse ones too. And I've driven few better handling cars. I'd quite like another go now. Only next time with a ringer to take the start.

Mazda MX5 racer

Thurs, 14:40: So that's my stint over. I've had better, if I'm honest.

Started
18th, got a bit bullied, took a knock on the left (nobody's fault)
which I think put the tracking out because it started to oversteer even
more than normal. Particularly out of right handers. And left handers.
And under braking and, er, acceleration. Put me out of sync a bit too,
in truth.

So it took me a while but then I got into a bit of a groove, took a few
places back and was lapping in 1m:49s (about the same as my
mates/journos from rival mags in the other UK car, which we'll all
pretend to each other is unimportant...). I came in after an hour
(almost) where I started. Honour (almost) upheld.

The fastest bloke out there is Belgian Jeffrey van Hooydonk, whose
career includes not a little F3000; he's about 5sec faster than me. Of
course with straight tracking, a better set-up, more time, more
bravery, etc, blah, and so on, etc ... I'd still be nowhere near him,
frankly.

But does it make him happy? Does it really? Will it give him a sense of
self-satisfaction tonight? Yeah, I think so too. The git.

Anyway, fuel might come in to it later. There's a 130 litres limit, and
some teams might get close to using all of theirs. We won't, so there's
a chance of making up some places towards the end if the most
lead-footed teams run out.

And if you're ever in the market for a racing car and find a tidy used MX-5, just keep an eye on the tracking...

Thurs, 11.30: We've opted to stay indoors during free
practice this morning because it's raining gently and the conditions
are likely to change between now and the race. I'll get a couple of
sighters before the start, so can suss track conditions then. Might not
have been a bad idea: a driver from the pole-sitting German car has
binned their car.

We've instead spent time going through
strap-fitting and fuelling drills, which should save more time than
we'd have found running around this morning.

Race starts at 13:00 local time. Quite nervous about it.

16.50, Wednesday: Qualifying, everyone gets one hot lap. Even
wetter so even slower, despite the fact we've softened the dampers and
unhooked the rear anti-roll bar. Traction is improved but braking isn't
and I'm a big girls' blouse into too many corners. Will therefore start
18th tomorrow.

14.00, Wednesday: Today there are two practices,
nearly complete, and a qualifying session later. All will be in horrid
weather.

There are two UK teams sharing one mechanic, who has been a bit busy,
er, tidying up some loose trim on the other car, so I'm not sure we've
found a great wet set-up on the car I'm in.

At least, that's my excuse (convincing?) for the fact that we're running mid-order pace going into the one-shot qualifying. That, of course, and the fact that among the rival teams' ringers is a bloke with F3000 podiums to his name, while another is a full-time Intercontinental Rally Championship jockey.

I'm doing my car's qualifying and, unless I get quicker sharpish I'll end up starting about 20th tomorrow. Or, in other words, right where I don't want to be.

Mazda MX-5 practice