After round 2, held at the Chang International Circuit I caught up with the podium from the GT1 class.
Winner and championship leader was first to talk to me:
DB - Congratulations Max, that is 2 out of 2, a 10 point lead in the championship and a big target on your back when the paddock visits Hockenheim! Did you start the race at Chang expecting to be at the sharp-end?
MH - No, as I told you last week, I thought that my last win was due to bad luck of the others. Additionally I didn't have much time for practice and it was a new track. I was not expecting too much, but already started a fight with Peter and Nemanja in the leaderboards. We changed positions a couple of times and I lost the first spot by less than a tenth at the end
This fight continued in the quali and finally on track! Peter and Nemanja had a really good pace in the first laps, but I could follow closely and managed to pass both on track later.
Peter pushed hard the whole race then and provided quite a lot of entertainment. That was great!
DB - As I said, you have a 10 point lead in the championship. Would you prefer to be the hunter or the hunted?
MH - Good question! As I only had the chance to be the hunter (or hopeless catcher) so far, I'll try to be the hunted for the first time now :-D
DB - Who do you see as the favourite for the win at Hockenheim (you can say yourself!!)?
MH - I'm very familiar with this track, been there a couple of times and even had the chance to be a passenger in a Radical on a 1:08.0! lap on the short course, but my last races were not the best here. Let's see!
Next, I spoke with Peter Bakus, who repeated his 2nd place from the Red Bull Ring:
DB - Congratulations on yet another podium Peter. You are currently 2nd in the championship, although it is early days, do you think it will go to the last round?
PB - Thank you. Yes, I'm second at the moment but there are guys who can be in front of me in each next race but I will try to do my best even better then them and win all of them ;-) I think it will be very close in the end of season.
DB - Having race in many series at RRLeagues and having regular success, what keeps your motivation to keep pushing yourself?
PB - I'm the person who pushes himself forward to the maximum and I love racing so much that I want to do the very best every time because I am simply enjoying it...
DB - Looking forward to round 3 at Hockenheim, is it a track you like? Do you think the GT1/GT4 multi-class will pose any issues at the track?
PB - Yeah, next one is one of my favourite track the Hockenheim and I look forward to this race. I don't think it will issue with GT4 cars on the track, it will be similar to Chang race from two weeks ago. I can't wait for it ;-)
Finally, 3rd placed man, Nemanja Manojlovic, spoke with me:
DB - Congratulations on the 3rd place Nemanja! That was your 17th podium in addition to your 5 wins, did you think a podium was a possibility when the lights went out?
NM - Thank you Daniel! It is nice to see the numbers, but i really did not count. I was surprised to see 5 wins LOL.
But one will have a special place in my heart (though it should've been Nordschleife if there wasn't for disco): GT3 race on Bathurst.
Now back on the subject. To be honest, i was expecting a bit more at Chang, but for me it was hard to manage traffic, and on top of all it I made a stupid mistake. So at the end 3rd was good result.
Since Saleen was the cheapest car around, we took that one, with no testing at all (from my side at least xD). But we will tame that beast no doubt about it.
DB - You have taken part in 83 races at RRLeagues, what secrets do you have when it comes to practicing? Do you use the leader boards or do you work on race setup?
NM - WOW that is some number! I thoroughly enjoyed at least 80 of them. Well, when you get to a certain level, R3E does not require practicing every day for hours to be competitive. If I had more time I would've practiced more for sure.
There is no formula really. Most of the time I practice race stints, and play with race setup. Sometimes I do a few leaderboard runs to see if my lines are good compared to faster guys. Usually they are good, and I rarely change my approach. On the other hand leaderboard runs make me sloppy and not consistent. So I can only advise, especially new drivers, stick to practice server, and build consistency and confidence.
DB - Hockenheim is up next, is it a race you are looking forward to? Do you think you will be able to repeat your podium success?
NM - Definitely looking forward to racing at Hockenheim. The track known to everybody, it should provide some great racing. Though, when I think about all the traffic that we will encounter, I do not feel so hyped. With a bit of luck and consistency, I hope I can at least get a podium finish. We will see how the things will turn out, it is going to be tough for all drivers.
Congratulations to Max, Peter and Nemanja and many thanks for their time!
For the GT4 interviews, please see http://rrleagues.com/forum/index.php?threads/round-1-chang-international-gt4-driver-interviews.1169/