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The Knack - How to nail a hairpin corner
Illustrations by Ms Anje Jager

Everybody gets caught up about corners, but like anything, it's an entirely learnable process. Out of all the racetracks in the world, my favourite hairpin is still the infamous first corner at La Source, in Belgium. It's got all the right elements: open and very wide on the exit with a lovely camber you can use to great effect. It's not difficult, but the difficulty comes from timing and getting the power on soon enough. The answer with every corner you drive is to make it as open as you can and take it as fast as you can. It's the only way to really nail a hairpin.

and heres the knack...
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tip 01


No matter what corner you're driving, the most important thing is to drive it straight. Let's say you came to a hairpin at an easy 70 mph; as you begin your approach, you have to brake the car in a nice straight line.
tip 02


Whatever side the corner is on, move to the opposite side of the road as you come up to it. So, if it is a right-hander then you're on the extreme left-hand side of the road, just a little bit in from the edge, and vice versa.
tip 03

Step 03


Don't wait until you arrive at the corner to get into the right gear. In the last few yards of your braking, slot down into the gear you require to drive the corner with. Come off the clutch and as you're engaging the gear, simultaneously come off the brakes and you're ready to turn into the corner.
tip 04

Step 04


You've almost past the corner when you turn in. As you're facing out of it, apply the power - the car needs to be driven. So your brakes aren't on, your foot is not on the clutch and you're not going into the corner with the car in neutral or with no revs. Once you're out, straighten up, change up a gear and drive on.
Some common mistakes
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