The second round of the MRF in Bahrain came around not long after the first round in Abu Dhabi, this time the MRF cars would be running alongside and supporting the WEC, GP2 and GP3 series.
After visiting this circuit before, hopes were high for a good result.
After seeing the program, track time was to a minimum, with only one free practice before going straight into qualifying on Thursday afternoon.
Free practice, proved to be a difficult session for Laura with a brake pressure problem, resulting in lack of brakes in the heavy braking area’s. The problem was thought to a leak on the brake line, but once going again they realized that the problem hadn’t been resolved prior to qualifying. Overall Laura was happy with the progress made in the session and felt she had more to come from herself and the car for the next time out on track later that evening.
After a 5 hour wait from free practice to qualifying, all was run under flood lit conditions. Laura stated afterwards “When I got out on track, the car felt great, times were looking good and we was sitting inside the top 6, but then I had a strange feeling from the car and then started to loose time, especially in the high speed corners on around lap 5”. When all drivers had returned the garage, it was found that Laura had actually suffered a broken left rear wheel nut, meaning the wheel was left attached by only the safety clip.Due to this loss of speed and still a problem in with the soft brakes, the times didn’t progress anymore resulting in Laura qualifying in a disappointing P15.
Friday morning arrived, Laura was looking determined to make up for the unlucky qualifying issue, and having to start in P15, she had nothing to loose.
Laura got a great start making up 3 positions by the first corner, as she entered into turn 2 the car oversteered suddenly when only a little throttle was applied, resulting in a spin.
Once back facing the right way, Laura got her head down and started chasing down the pack, which not only showed with lap times, but clearly visible was that she was honing in on a 5 car pack, until once again the demon of bad luck struck the 24 year old, as she was at top speed entering into turn one when a blow out on the left rear tyre brought race 1 to a early end.
Once again a long break between race 1 and race 2 gave Laura time to reflect and go through all car and track data required with her engineer, working hard to improve the car for the final race of the week.
Race 2 once again under floodlights, was a good atmosphere, and Laura was going all out to grab a positive to take away from this week of mechanical issues.
As all was set for race 2, Laura once again bagged a great start, moving up around 4 positions in turn 1, but once again in turn 2 the rear tyres became slippery and oversteered uncontrollably, causing Laura to spin off track and getting the rear wheel caught in the gravel. Laura did well to keep the car running but having to wait for the marshals to help her out meant a huge loss in time and also the rear wing was pushed forwards whist trying to get her back out the gravel, this meant a lack of straight line speed for Laura and for the remainder of the race she was half a second slower due to the wing, but Laura had found a whole second within herself putting her top 6 on the times. This was a great positive to take away from a not so lucky weekend from Laura.
Now that Bahrain is completed Laura is now focusing and working hard for the 3rd round out in Dubai in mid December, hoping that all issues have arisen now, and at the halfway point of the season results will turn on there head and prove just what she has in the bank when the equipment allows it to be shown.