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Focus Cup: Round 3 & 4 Race Report

June 19, 2023

Carbon Positive Motorsport Ambassador and novice racer Sarah Hall reports on her third race weekend, this time at Snetterton.

Rookie race driver Sarah Hall is taking part in the Focus Cup for her first full season of racing. Here's how she got on at Snetterton for a double header.

Sarah Hall Focus Cup Race Report

What a weekend! Filled with the highs and lows of racing and so much experience gained.

We made yet another long trip down to Snetterton with the Focus Cup crew from the North East.

I’ve worked at Snetterton a few times over the years but I’d never driven it, and wasn’t even confident with the layout. So I got some sim time in beforehand to learn the track. Whilst I don’t gain a lot of what I personally need from a sim, the time learning the corners is really valuable and it’s a real comfort to head onto a new track for the first time at least knowing which corner comes up next. That takes a huge chunk of learning away before you’ve even got in the seat. I wasn’t looking forward to the layout but I did end up enjoying MOST of it. The last right turn goes on forever and just requires a quiet scream until the braking point.

It was hot.

That’s the main summary. An entire added challenge to be in those cars all that time with no real airflow or cooling of any kind, fully kitted in race suit and helmet too. I’ve really got to try and stay as focused as possible on the driving whilst fighting the heat. And Snetterton is a long track too at just short of three miles! The laps seemed to be eternal. It’s really important to make a huge effort to stay hydrated in the heat or you’ll very quickly feel unwell.

Test day was really great as the sessions were just our championship out on track making it much easier to get some decent laps in. And I had the opportunity to have my ARDS racing coach Steven sat in for two sessions out of three which makes a huge difference to my confidence and progress. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with my best time of 2:36.4 but I was feeling pretty good ahead of Round 3.

Played my usual safe qualifying laps for Race 1 and really, qualifying was just another seat opportunity for me. But I was feeling really nervous ahead of the first race of the weekend.

Round 3 - Race 1

I tried something new for the Race 1 start which I didn’t get right, meaning I stalled on the line. I was pretty furious with myself and accepted my fate of following the pack from half a lap behind for the whole race. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to catch up which I was surprised and delighted with. I then went on to have a battle with the driver in front and ended up overtaking two drivers (after some hard work from me) and this really ticks off my first goal of being competitive and making a decent overtake. I was seriously pushed hard by the driver behind which was what I needed. I didn’t think I was going to hold them off much longer, and each lap I was praying to see that chequered flag come down. I’m sure time slows down when you’re out there! Thankfully I did it, what a relief. I’d managed to knock 3.4 seconds off testing time too so I was pleased with that progress.

Round 3 - Race 2

Race 2 was a lot more challenging, managed a little battle with Abbi Walton but I knew I had a tyre issue and after swapping places a couple of times she overtook.

Round 4 - Race1

Another day, another round.

We had to re-qualify and that didn’t go smoothly for me, the tyre issue niggled which meant some time in the pitlane getting that rectified but the team were all over it, I got back out and got the required laps in.

Race 1 was an action packed start with me starting at the back and managing to get past a driver into the first hairpin. I held them off for a fair while, it was hard work but great to have that other driver pushing me and putting some pressure on. As a new racer, it was really good to see which corners I was stronger in/out of and which I was weaker. On the final corner they managed to get past me. I let the pressure dig in and left the door open a little too much. I tried twice to go for the overtake again but couldn’t quite get the opportunity to without jeopardizing us both. At this point I was exhausted in the heat..

Round 4 - Race 2

Race 2 we had a mechanical issue which meant I fell quite far behind. I was tempted to pull in for an easy fix but seeing two front runners drop out I decided to limp her home for the points.

On the whole, a great weekend, with so much to take away. And compared to the first two rounds of the season with not much track time, I enjoyed getting a lot more done, and having the opportunity to actually battle with some other drivers. I’ll be taking all this into Round 5 at Oulton Park, another new track for me so I’ll be aiming for some sim time again pre-race weekend. It’s a really picturesque track so I can't wait to get stuck in!

Sarah Hall

It sounds like Sarah had a great experience at Snetterton and we wish her the very best of luck at Oulton Park on July 1st. You can follow Sarah's exploits on her website and social media:

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