Tales from 'The Glen' 2

October 18, 2022  — 
 accs61

After round 3 of the CrewChief GT3 Masters VI at Watkins Glen we caught up with Niklas Wiklander, who was kind enough to answer a few questions about his experience and expectations for this race.

Nik competes as an independent driver in Season 61 in the Ferrari 488 GT3 2018 and finds himself categorised in the AM Cup. The Swede will be looking for success in that particular competition after narrowly missing out to Martin Hughes in ‘Clash of NSU’ back in S59.

RRL Media:
Did preparations go as expected for Watkins Glen?

Nik:
As I have a small child, and another one on the way, family is my top priority at the moment which means that I have relatively little time to prepare for the races. Watkins Glen is a track I hadn't driven very much before so it was a struggle to learn braking points and getting the setup right in just a couple of hours of practice. The uncertain weather didn't help!

RRL Media:
How did the car feel in practice and what conditions were you expecting come Sunday evening?

Nik:
The car felt good in practice and I got some decent laptimes in compared to the drivers I'm mostly competing with. However, I knew it was likely to be some rain on race day and that could make things difficult for all of us. I have also had some trouble with disconnections in the first two races in this series that I had taken actions to avoid this time, but not sure if it would work. In the end, it did work so disconnection was not a factor this time, thankfully.

Nik in the hunt.

RRL Media:
So, Race Day 403 at RRL, how did it unfold for Niklas Wiklander?

Nik:
My race started out quite badly I'm afraid. After just surviving the first couple of corners where some drivers were not so lucky, I got bumped from the side on the first long straight, which sent me spinning and colliding with one or two other cars, leaving me no choice but to pit at the end of L1 for repairs. After that, I mostly was on my own position-wise and just hoping to stay out of trouble for the rest of the race. However, I did get unlucky a couple more times with accidents that left me having to repair. In the end, I finished at P32 out of 35 finishers.

RRL Media:
Any other controversial moments?

Nik:
I guess the most controversial moment was the incident on lap 1, where the driver crashing into me got punished by the stewards after the race.

Wiklander left in the barrier after taking a hit up the back straight.

RRL Media:
How does the result leave you in your respective driver championship and in the teams’ championship?

Nik:
I'm currently in 39th place in the championship which is honestly about where I've been expecting. There are many very good drivers in this series that have a lot more time in the sim than I have, and starting way back means more likely to get into incidents on the first lap, which has been the case for me two out of three races so far.

RRL Media:
Round 4 is next. What are your expectations for Kyalami?

Nik:
Kyalami is a track I have hardly ever raced at so I'm not expecting much to be honest. I have trouble finding time for practice but I will try to find a few seconds per lap and then stay on track for most of the race, that should leave a couple of guys behind me at the finish line.

Nik in another precarious blue flag situation after leaving pit lane!

Many thanks to Nik for sparing some moments from his busy schedule to talk to RRL media.

We are all looking forward to the next race of the Masters on Sunday, October 22 at Kyalami. The 488 remains an attractive proposition in GT3 racing and the Swede will be looking to extract every bit of performance he can in South Africa.

...As will all other competitors. Make sure to tune in to our live broadcast of the event.

written by: Simon Fillingham