Darren Manning Long Beach column

After finishing seventh at Monterrey, Darren Manning headed into the most prestigious event of the Champ Car World Series on the streets of Long Beach looking for another top ten finish. The Briton encountered a number of challenges in California, not least the bumpy track, but posted another strong finish for Walker Racing

Darren Manning Long Beach column

Long Beach was an uphill battle from the word go, but we came away with some points after finishing eighth. I was amazed how many people were on hand all weekend. The spectator participation was fantastic and there were plenty of stars. I had Johnny Rotten in my pit box in qualifying, cheering on a fellow Brit. He supports Arsenal, whereas I support Leeds United, but I won't hold that against him because he might punch me!

We started off with something similar to last year's set-up, and now we know for sure that Tora Takagi's set-ups don't suit me at all. We're just beginning to get enough data to form a starting point, and we lost the whole of the first day in that respect. The car was very difficult to drive and I was struggling to get it slowed down.

But overnight we made a number of calculated changes and in Saturday practice we shot straight into the top seven. We were the fastest Reynard by a big chunk in practice and also in qualifying, though maybe I could have found a couple or three more tenths if I'd got every sector perfect. In general we struggled here compared to the Lolas because bumpy circuits don't seem to suit the Reynard. But I have to say the guys did a fantastic job. With more testing we'll get even more competitive.

We pitted a lap early at the end of the first stint because my tyres were pretty well used up. There was a yellow right away; some of the guys in front pitted and so did some of the guys in the back, and they benefited because there was another yellow right away. In hindsight, maybe we should have stopped during that yellow because we could have gone to the end on only one more stop and we could have finished fifth.

Ryan Hunter-Reay and I had some good battles all day long - one time we came out of the pits side by side and that made for some good television. The race pace was hellishly fast and, because the gears are so short at Long Beach, you're shifting all the time. It's bumpy and you're literally steering and controlling the car with one arm. With 20 laps to go I got the same kind of excruciating pain in my right foot that I had at Monterrey, but I managed to make it to the finish at a reasonable pace.

My car had support at Long Beach from the US Air Force, which has a strong presence in California. It was nice to show support for the British and American troops over in Iraq, and the Air Force awarded us a plaque, which I'm sure will go up in the Walker shop.

Three races, three top 10s, but hopefully we're saving the best for Brands Hatch. See you there!

shares
comments
Mosley reports F1 rules concensus

Previous article

Mosley reports F1 rules concensus

Next article

Ferrari stage Fantasy fight back

Ferrari stage Fantasy fight back
Load comments
The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under Plus

The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under

Joey Mawson made waves in the middle of the last decade, beating future Haas Formula 1 driver Mick Schumacher - among other highly-rated talents - to the 2016 German F4 title. A run in F1's feeder GP3 category only caused his career to stall, but now back in Australia Mawson's S5000 title success has set that to rights

General
May 8, 2021
The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing Plus

The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing

OPINION: The greed-driven push for a European Super League that threatened to tear football apart is collapsing at the seams. Motor racing's equivalent, the football-themed Superleague Formula series of 2008-11, was everything that the proposed ESL never could be

General
Apr 21, 2021
The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan Plus

The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan

Having had the door to F1 slammed in his face and come within three laps of winning the Indianapolis 500, the collapse of a Peugeot LMP1 shot meant Japan was Bertrand Baguette's last chance of a career. But it's one which he has grasped with both hands

General
Feb 27, 2021
The female all-rounder who arrived "too early" Plus

The female all-rounder who arrived "too early"

From Formula 3 to truck racing, Dakar and EuroNASCAR via a winning stint in the DTM, there's not much Ellen Lohr hasn't seen in a stellar racing career that highlights the merit in being a generalist. But she believes her career came too early...

General
Feb 17, 2021
How Radical's latest machines fare on track Plus

How Radical's latest machines fare on track

The lightweight sportscar manufacturer has not rewritten the rulebook with its latest machines, but the new SR3 XX and SR10 still provide a step forward on its previous successful models

General
Feb 8, 2021
The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction Plus

The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction

The forthcoming Netflix film linking the world of underworld crime and motorsport plays on a theme that isn't exactly new. Over the years, several shady figures have attempted to make it in racing before their dubious dealings caught up with them

General
Jan 31, 2021
How a GP is thriving in a COVID-free territory Plus

How a GP is thriving in a COVID-free territory

The New Zealand Grand Prix's mix of rising talent and big-name stars thrilled the crowds (yes, remember crowds?) assembled for the Toyota Racing Series meeting at Hampton Downs last weekend and left distant observers craving a repeat

General
Jan 26, 2021
How a much-changed Macau GP kept the party going Plus

How a much-changed Macau GP kept the party going

OPINION: The 67th edition of the Macau Grand Prix might have been a largely muted affair to the outside world without its international influx and star line-ups, another victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organisers deserve huge credit for keeping the party going

General
Nov 24, 2020