Time for Deliberation
In the last post I promised to continue the story time. So, where did I leave off? I had summarised the previous few seasons, how it went for me in the racing world and in general as well as added a couple of little stories within. That post finished together with the end of 2021. Basically, I got back from Thailand on 28th December, and for those of you new here, no I wasn’t on a holiday. I was racing, on a Christmas day. That’s a new one for me to be fair. And what did I get for Christmas? Vice-Champions of Thailand Super Series! True, winning the championship would’ve tasted better yet the result with two pole positions in both qualifying sessions was quite nice.
What was next? As I mentioned last time, I really had no idea what the future had in store for me. That rollercoaster ride was only starting. The following weeks, months were full of twists and turns, plan-making, discussing, negotiating, plan-changing, visa-getting, partner meetings and more.
In the meanwhile, I used my recent training in Muay Thai to fight through another version of Tartu Marathon, skiing its 63km in 3h39m02s – the quickest I've done it so far.
Talks had been going on with Audi, and they had offered me a deal in China. With a slight catch. The deal was to go into action only if and when I got into China. Still, comparing with offered and potential seats I had in Europe and elsewhere by then, going to China seemed like the best course of action. On one hand, continuing a long cooperation made sense. I had been an official Audi Sport Asia Driver since 2018 and our cooperation went back as far as 2015, when I started racing for them. After many seasons and great memories together, they were like a family to me. Taking the deal with Audi would also give me some seat time, a chance to work with gents in China, a job in the Audi China R&D as well as time to prepare the 2023 season. On the other hand, going to China would restrict me to the limited opportunities there racing-wise as well as risk losing those altogether due to delays and cancellations. It had to be noted that there was a risk of being stuck in large-scale quarantines, unable to do much in the end. A desirable combined season of Asia-Europe series was out of the question for 2022 yet again due to travel and quarantine regs. Thailand and anything else out of China seemed out more or less also. So, definitely, China was an all-in kind of a deal, with its pros and cons. Still, I had to get a work visa for that. I had done everything from my side, and was hoping for the best. Looking back to 2020 and 2021, I had had two long pandemic years of pushing for a work visa. Both times however, after months of paperwork and applications, the process came to an unsuccessful end. Especially in 2021, when a half-year-long international project of getting me a work visa ended up collapsing with an official rejection.
Unfortunately, it became evident that also in 2022, the work visa process would run into a wall like in the previous year. As soon as we found that out, we started plan B and applied for a business visa, which can be given for a shorter time period, not full season, but it would still make for a decent chance to do something. If I was to get the visa, that is. So, no full season, not in China nor in Europe. Yet would this open the door to still do something in both? For example, a couple of stints in Europe in between my trips to China? Or in Thailand? Either way, 2022 looked like it was going to be damage control again rather than a full-on plan...
So far, I had I secured a two weekend deal at Nürburgring for the Nürburgring A License. And for the rest of the season, I was hoping to get done as much as possible in China. And as for plan B, if no visa, put together a year in NLS, the series running at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Anyway, visa process was on the way so I all I could do at this point was wait.
On a sunny Sunday morning, my phone rang...
Until the next one...