A strong qualifying performance saw Alex earn a third row start for the first race at the Hockenheimring.
Yesterday’s overcast conditions were replaced today with sunshine, so a completely dry track would be the stage for the ten-minute morning qualifying session. With the 6th fastest time from the combined times of yesterday’s two free practice sessions, Alex left the pits as the sixth car to start the session.
Alex completed one initial lap to get heat into the brakes and tyres, and then on his first flying lap Alex posted the 4th fastest time. As the time ticked away the qualifying positions changed lap by lap. As the flag went out the end of the qualifying session Alex had secured his place in the Superpole shoot out, with the 6th fastest time, three tenths of a second off the top spot.
A quick visual check back in pit lane of the car and a tyre pressure adjustment was all the Braxx team could do before Alex hit the track again for the five-minute Superpole. With a total of just three laps, Alex crossed the line at the end of Superpole in sixth position earning him a third row start in this afternoon’s first Elite 1 Race.
“Sixth is my best qualifying to date in NASCAR, so of course I'm happy with it! However, I think if everything went our way, we could have been even higher,” commented Alex
Twenty-six cars lined up for the afternoon’s first Elite 1 race with Alex lined up on the outside of the third row of the grid, directly behind championship leader Frederic Gabillon. The safety car led the field away on the customary rolling start with the cars lined up door to door. With the cars bumper to bumper the field crossed the start line and the pack headed into the first corner. Starting on the outside Alex stayed wide running across the run off area to avoid the jostling pack as they funneled into the first hairpin. Exciting the corner in fifth place Alex was right behind Gabillion as they both braked hard for the first hairpin. As Gabillion braked for the corner his front tyre exploded slowing his car and Alex had to brake as hard as he could to avoid hitting him, forcing him wide and allowing the train of cars behind him to get through.
Alex recovered over the next two laps, running right behind his teammate Marc Goossens and former champion Lucas Lassere, however on the run to turn 1 at the start of lap three there was a loud bang and the car immediately turned right. Letting off the brakes, Alex was able to control the car and stay on the track, but the car would not steer correctly.
Slowly he brought the car back to the pits were the team identified a bolt locating the steering and a suspension link had snapped. Back in the pits the Braxx team quickly got to work replacing the broken components but due to the location Alex lost 12 laps, before he was able to rejoin the race.
With just three laps to go, Alex had just one mission, to set a fast lap time to secure a good starting position for the second Elite 1 race tomorrow. Quickly getting back up to speed Alex set quicker and quicker times and with the last lap board out was on his fastest lap so far when an incident with the cars in front forced him to brake hard losing a lot of time.
As he crossed the line in 24th place he had done enough to earn a 7th row start for the second Elite 1 race tomorrow with the 13th fastest time.
So, ended a day which had started with such high hopes after a strong qualifying position and which was changed so cruelly with the failure of a simple bolt.
“That wasn't ideal! That's racing however, I know Braxx will go over everything tonight and we'll be back tomorrow faster than before!” remarked Alex.