Rylan on the Pace in Germany
BY JEM ANSHAW
A top 10 finish was the goal, and that is just what Rylan Gray and his teammate Brock Gilchrist achieved when they took on the Nurburgring earlier this month.
The duo earned a wildcard run in the GT4 round by taking out the rookie and outright championship respectively in the Toyota Gazoo New Zealand 86’s series.
“It was a pretty unreal experience to be honest, to go to such an iconic track like the Nurburgring and to actually race it was pretty cool,” Rylan told The Hunter River Times.
“It was good to get with a professional team over in Europe, which is obviously a great experience and just try to learn as much as you can from them.”
Upon arrival to the track they had to hit the data first, going over the track and car with the team before they even got out on the circuit, which was essential given the weather conditions, different car and race rules they would be dealing with.
“Luckily I’ve driven a lot over here, but it was nothing compared to what it was over there, like sitting on the left-hand side of the car and paddle shifters is quite different to what I’ve done before,” Rylan explained.
“I definitely think it was a lot different because you had to play with different car settings once you’re in the car and just getting familiar with your surroundings, it was a good thing heading into the weekend.”
They had an hour-long race both days, with Brock qualifying and starting the first race on Saturday and at the halfway point Rylan jumped behind the wheel, but their top 10 position came undone with the decision to put slick tyres on as the track did not dry out as anticipated.
Day two was the Denman teenager’s chance to qualify and despite even more rain than the day prior, he kept them on track for their goal.
“We had a wet one for qualifying and I think we had good pace, we were running top three and then made a little mistake on the last fly which cost us two spots, so we went back to fifth but I still think it was a pretty good starting position,” he said.
“The race it was pretty much dry leaning all the way up to it until the last five minutes where it bucketed down and became torrential rain. It was it was a tough way to start the race with barely any vision going down the front straight, not being able to see 20 metres in front of you from the spray is pretty difficult, but you just had to do your best and stay calm and on the road.”
Despite horrendous weather on a circuit that is difficult enough in the dry, the pair kept out of trouble and finished an impressive tenth outright, a result they are pleased with – and rightly so.
Just hours before getting on the plane to Germany Rylan had celebrated his first win in the Toyota Gazoo 86’s series in Sydney. Taking the top step was the second trip to the podium for him, finishing second in the race prior.