Not much is left until the 20th “Aurum 1006km race” on July 17-20th. We have been telling stories from each year of the previous races, nevertheless, it is interesting to see the race from referees’ perspectives.
The main man
All sportsmen know him, many spectators have seen him. He is the main referee and true professional for the race - Gražvydas Smetonis.
Not many people know that Gražvydas has been here since the very first race. Everyone who knows him can assure that he is a true expert in this field. Gražvydas himself has stated that he did even notice that 20 years have passed.
They have come a long way
Remembering the first races G. Smetonis said that the most difficult part was for laps counters. There were 4 of them and it was difficult. When it got darker, it was tremendously difficult to see the numbers of cars.
Modern lap counting system was installed much later so people who counted laps were needed for a long time. Some improvements would be done each year.
It is no surprise that during these type of calculations that the real information would be counted after a week when the race was finished. The winners would be announced based on preliminary results.
Race safety became more important
Together with race quality, the safety improved as well. Now Gražvydas and his colleagues just smile at a fact that referee tower was just beside Pitlane zone. Luckily, nothing bad happened. Which mistakes drivers usually make? Referees highlight that most of the drivers drive to fast entering or exiting “Pitlane”.
Which flag drivers like the most?
Most of the people do not know which flag represents what. G. Smetonis explains that yellow flag is for danger, 2 or more yellow flags mean that obstacle blocked or partly the track. The green flag represents that the track is free and the race can be done at the usual pace. Blue flag is for the driver who is behind by at least 1 lap as is soon going to be overtaken. Yellow flag with red stripes means that road adhesion deteriorated. The black flag represents “stop&go” penalty. Red flag states that the race is stopped.
The drivers, of course, like the most the finish flag – jokes Gražvydas.
Fast and sensible decisions represent referees and it says a lot when in 20 years the race was stopped only once and for the reasons outside everyone’s control. It was a really difficult task for the referees back in 2008. 83 teams were participating and 2 races were organized. It was the first time in race history.