Ahh, I missed this. Mitch and Mason and them all. As my favourite lady of the moment would say: Such fun!I must point you towards the brand new section of the wiki dedicated to Life in the Fast Lane. It has all kinds of crazy information about characters and plot points, plus some fantastic livery designs from Lukeh. It’s a work in progress but it’s going to be excellent.
Anyways, it was a bit of an off-beat poll to begin with, no harm in trying something different, and it sets us up nicely for the rest of the series. But, which way did the votes go? Drum roll please.
Interesting, and closer than I had thought. Let us see how that affects things then.
Mitch grabbed the keyring and jogged across to the garage. His crew were waiting, and they fastened him into the car. He took a moment to settle in, to get into that famous zone of concentration, and their pre-qualifying preparations began.
“The rain is definitely coming,” Pierre told him. “Probably not until second session. Best to go out and get laps in early though. No risks.”
Twenty cars hit the track within seconds of each other, and Mitch knew it was going to be a tough session. The weather was against them, already the spots of rain were dotting at his helmet, swept away as he got up to speed.
Halfway round the first lap and the rain came down harder.
“What is this?” Mitch yelled, yanking at the steering wheel as the car slipped underneath him. “You said not until Q2.”
“It’s moving in fast, we had hoped for a banker,” Pierre confirmed. “Looks slippery. Come in now.”
Slippery wasn’t the word for it. As Mitch rounded a corner, he watched aghast as two cars slid off track, following each other into the gravel. The visibility was getting worse.
Slowing his pace, he crept round another two corners, almost there. He blinked, and suddenly a Thompson was in his path - the driver facing him, the car in the way of oncoming traffic. Mitch couldn’t control his language as he jerked his car sharply right. He went into a spin of his own, missing the Thompson by millimetres. He skidded onto the run-off area, thankfully tarmac instead of gravel, and came to a halt inches from the barrier.
“Woah,” was all he could say.
“What happened? Okay?” Pierre asked.
“Yeah,” Mitch took a few deep breaths, regained control, and pulled the car slowly away from the wall. He returned to the track, and moments later was back in the pitlane.
Over at Shuttleworth, Bruno had not been so lucky. The errant Thompson had brought out a red flag, allowing drivers to return to the pitlane in their own time. A slow-moving Sorpasso had taken him by surprise, the silver livery blending in with the grey conditions. The two had collided, knocking both out of the session. When the red flag period was over, what remained of the session saw both Shuttleworth cars out, whilst Mason and Mitch made it through to Q2, and to Q3 as well.
“You sailed through,” Pierre said.
“Sailing is right,” Mitch laughed nervously, wiping the drops from his visor.
“It’s fine,” Pierre said. “Just take it easy and don’t panic. We’ve got a good chance.”
He roared into the pitlane, pulling up outside the Mortimer GP garage. The guys swarmed the car, not quite a full-speed racing pitstop, but still working together as one.
“Where are we?”
There was a brief pause before Pierre said: “Sixth.”
“What does the radar say?” Mitch asked, his radio crackling as he came to a halt.
“Clear in five minutes,” Pierre reported. “Seven minutes of session remaining. What are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking we could try slicks.”
“You’re crazy, it’s wet as apocalypse out there.”
Mitch shook his head. “It’s not that bad now.” He watched as a car zoomed past him, intermediate tyres clearing the water easily. It was a gamble, sure, but if he waited long enough, if he could hit the track at the right moment, if the weather did as expected… The rain had been earlier than scheduled when qualifying began, who could really predict when it would clear up? How long would the track take to dry?
“What’s Mason doing?”
More silence as they both thought through the possibilities.
“I’m feeling kinda lucky today,” Mitch said. “Is it crazy?”
“I’m not sure,” Pierre chose his words carefully. “It is your decision, you have been out there.”
What will Mitch decide?