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Alice Powell

 

In 2010, I was racing in Formula Renault BARC Championship and it came down right to the wire at the last race meeting at Thruxton.

I remember getting ready for qualifying, I was sat in the car all ready to go and suddenly my mechanic shouts “Get out the car, get out the car”. And I thought, hang on, we’re going out in two minutes, why do you want me to get out? He said “there’s a fuel leak, there’s a fuel leak, you have to get out”. So I hopped out of the car and got out and saw fuel all on the floor, coming out underneath the car. And I thought oh no, this is it, it’s over before we even start. If I don’t get out in qualifying, I’m at the back of the grid. My rival will probably be starting in the front.

I was panicking, so I just went into the truck, out of the way and tried to settle my thoughts. I came back out and the mechanics said ‘Right get back in’. There was literally about eight minutes of qualifying left. That included bringing the tyres in, and it was a pretty cold day because it was October. I had 3 or 4 laps in which to try and get a time. There was no testing the day before. I’d not been on Thruxton for about a year, and the last time was in a GT car. There was a lot to take in but I just focused on each corner and what I had to do. I looked to the lap time to try and improve. I didn’t want to know who was where. I didn’t look at my pit board, I just focused on what I had to do myself.

I came in, found out I was 4th on the grid for Race 1, and Pole for Race 2. Then I found out my rival was on Pole for Race 1 and 4th for Race 2. So it was going to be extremely, extremely interesting. I was quite lucky to have my team mate James Theodore up there with me. He was not running for winning the championship. He couldn’t win but I think he could get 3rd or 4th. So I knew he was there to back me up. I got a really good race in Race 1, going from 4th to 2nd. My rival finished 5th or 6th so I managed to make up some ground in the championship.

It was the last race. I was starting on Pole, rival on 4th and I was 8 points behind him. So knew I had to win and try and get fastest lap. I got a good start and then there was a safety car for a few laps. I looked in my mirror and saw my rival in 3rd or 4th and I thought ‘Oh my goodness’.

Safety car restart- the safety car went and I just had to race, keep looking forward, keep focusing. It was literally the longest race of my life. It was only 30 minutes, but it felt like an hour and a half.

On to the final lap, my team mate was in 2nd place so I knew he wasn’t going to try to take me out or overtake me. I remember going through Goodwood and my car got a bit of a slide. That’s when I thought you need to take it steady through Church and up through the complex. I did and cruised up and won the race and the Championship. That last quarter of a lap, my heart was in my mouth. It was quite nerve racking. I crossed the line and I saw P1 2010 on the pit board and everyone cheering. I jumped out the car, I jumped on the car, I jumped on the team, I jumped on the podium, I jumped everywhere!

The excitement and the thrill of creating history in Formula Renault across the world. Winning the Championship, all the team’s hard work, Manor and Hillspeed, paid off. It was just outstanding and it’s really hard to describe the feeling but its so much excitement and relief. I had a real skip in my step for the remainder of October and the months after that. It was just great and that has got to one of the best memories of my career so far.

Alice Powell

www.alice-powell.com Follow Alice on Twitter @AlicePowell

 

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1 Comment (Add your voice)

Sat in the safety car :)

– Kieron Salmons, May 14 2013 at 12:07

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