Monday started off a little slow, and we didn’t do anything until after lunchtime despite being up for breakfast at 9am. We took lunch at a place just outside an office where Renato had a meeting shortly afterwards. Lunch was a fairly basic bit of mince meat into a platter, with pasta and some mashed potato. Meals generally seem to consist of multiple carbohydrates with some meat and nothing too complicated with the sauce. Renato had me try a couple of deserts afterwards which were small, but really filling and sweet!
After lunch we headed to this meeting he had. It was all conducted in Portuguese so I didn’t have much of a clue what was going on most of the time. However it was originally meant that we’d be going to meet Emerson Fittipaldi, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. Reiza are working on some possible opportunities with them for the future. The meeting seemed to go well, and apparently Renato will meet with Fittipaldi soon, it’s just unfortunate it couldn’t have happened then.
After this we headed to Senna’s grave. This was a short drive away and Renato hadn’t been to see it before either, so it was something new for him too. We arrived at the cemetery and it was a fairly standard affair. We walked around a little unsure exactly where it was and there were a few graves with a lot of flowers on it. We asked directions and found our way to Senna’s. It was really simple. Just some flowers and the same standard engraving as everyone else had. Behind was a single standing tree. I wonder if it was planted at the same time or not. Whilst we were there 4 chaps arrived, I think they were English. One guy broke down in tears and said something like “The last time I saw him was on the grid before the race”. I didn’t recognise him, and it felt inappropriate to ask.
We left the cemetery and headed for a Go Kart track – Granja Viana, which we had booked onto for later that evening. The traffic was busy and then once again Renato’s GPS managed to lead us through a rather poor area of town along the way. We arrived at the track, and at first I’d been rather indifferent to going gokarting, being slightly scared that I’d not done any in a long time and I’d only get in the way. But as soon as I saw the track I got rather excited. The track had off camber turns, sweeping elevation changes, twist technical sections and fast flowing sections. Basically it has a pretty awesome layout. After walking the track we still had over an hour to kill before our heat, so I got some food. Rather foolishly actually, a cheeseburger and fries of debatable quality. I felt a little more assured about racing after seeing quite how amateur some of the people driving in the two heats before us.
When it was time for us to get ready they gave me an overall far too small resulting in the trouser ends being far to high up! It wasn’t a good look. Then Renato did his level headed best to loose his car keys which had us frantically searching for them. We found them on the window ledge in the changing rooms in the end. At first there was only 3 people in our heat including ourselves, but by the time qualifying finished a few more had turned up and there was maybe 7 people. When I got into the Kart I was quite startled that there was no seat belt. Shows how long it’s been since I last drove one. On the first lap I left the visor up and I was really struggling with just how fast the kart was going and a little unsure about how open it felt without a seat belt. Then I just threw the thing in to the turn on the second lap and it stuck and I got really into it. I managed to match Renato’s time in Qualifying. Then in the race I overtook him at the start and quickly knocked a few seconds of my laptimes. I was running 3rd with two chaps infront much quicker. Then after 5 or 6 laps in one of the guys infront spun and I passed him. However on the homestraight I got a blue flag which confused me. (Blue flag means let the guy behind past). I ignored it. Then the chap bumped me on the back straight, and I wasn’t in the mood for bumper cars, I moved over to let him past and to try and follow him to find out where I was loosing time, but then before I knew it I’d put a wheel on the grass and the thing was going backwards. I slammed on the brakes and got going again. I didn’t touch any tyre walls or anything. I was a bit pissed off with the other guys conduct really. I then pushed as hard as possible and set a PB lap a few laps late braking the 1.05s. Then I had to pass a couple of backmarkers which wasn’t easy. The track was good fun for hotlapping, but there really isn’t any overtaking places. Blue flags meant I managed to pass one per lap. Finally the last few laps were a struggle, as I was starting to feel a little sick. I guess Burger and Chips isn’t the best meal to have before going karting!
Anyway after this we had a 3 hour drive to Renato’s Mothers house and we passed through a few thunder storms on the way, we arrived after midnight and crashed there. It was a really nice place but more on that in the next article.