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Part One: Pole Position


Background OST
Yas Marina Circuit, United Arab Emirates
6:05 PM

Ryan walked through the door, the rear door through into the garage, the place already dotted with Forge's logos and and in particular, two Audi R8 LMS GT3 racing vehicles, with crew underneath and around, Ryan smiling as he saw Lucas Holt, his race engineer, come over.
"Qualifying's in fifteen, good to see you back, McKay." Lucas said, patting him on the shoulder, as he pointed over to the laptop on a desk, by a hold heave of mechanical tools.
"As you saw in practice, we're doing the "Championship" Layout- after Turn 3, the circuit goes left rather than to the hairpin and towards Turn 4- following the left, it goes into a moderate right, then back onto the back straight after a tricky left hander- the chicane also included compared to F1 to break up the flow, but it's the same as they do for F1 everywhere else. Apparently, they're resurfacing the area after that, so it'll be barricaded off." He added, as they walked over.
"Nice. Practice times seem good, rubber holds nicely on this surface. The gearbox needs to be shorter, not enough acceleration in the technical section on the south of the course." Ryan responded, his Simpson helmet in his right hand, already overalled up himself as he looked over at the analytics.
"Of course, suggests it here. Very, very good actually- we've hit a great setup for both of you, car's going to be as great as it gets. Race begins at 9PM, it's four hour race remember, so you've got one pit- running hard slicks today, you and Regina. We're aiming for second in constructors, and that's an excellent result for this season. Christian Muller has first place in the drivers', but he's had a lucky run, and upsetting him here might put him in his place overall, if you can pull it off Ryan." Lucas said, the fairly short and overalls wearing chief race engineer's Canadian tone clear- he was from Ontario, and he had a good knowledge of prior GT3 experience in the mechanics to boot.

"Of course. Plus Damien Richards is about three points behind, we've had the talk- you want me to get 2nd or better today, and Regina?" Ryan asked, looking over.
"Well....she knows exactly how good to push today. Sky's the limit." Lucas responded, chuckling a little as Ryan took his earpiece out of his right pocket on his race suit, and clipped it around his right ear, shoving it in, a earplug also a part of the set as he wired up the throat mic, a tiny thing but enough to respond if required- being rarely used. Taking his left earplug, he rammed it in, and quickly checked his gloves, inside his helmet, already placing them on the roof of the Audi. His racesuit was a Alpinestars make, and predominantly was white, with some light red and dark blue, sponsors all over, same with the shoes, gloves and the helmet- mainly Forge, but a few others such as Sparco, and Alpinestars, for example. It was a boring thing to mention, because the cars were the star of the show. It had it's standard V8 engine, that had been ramped to GT3 standards, Michelin slicks sat on the tyres, hard rather than the soft variant for the one-stop strategy planned, and compared to F1 tyres, they were very different. The rear spoiler stuck out a little, and the engine, sat in the middle, was as great as Audi engines ever were. The suspension, the wheels, the spaceframe inside and the aerodynamics of the car had been race-perfected, and this vehicle was capable, in the hands of the right driver.
"Alright then. Where's Regina?" Ryan asked, as he got his helmet on, putting the Simpson X Bandit down, the thermal neckscarf pulled down to his racesuit's collar, as he secured it tight, before taking his white colored Alpinestar gloves.
"She's around somewhere. Your car is good to go, mate." Lucas said, as Ryan nodded, ducking his head as he clambered in, on the left-hand drive car, already securing his harness, as he checked his seat, and the pedals. The car inside was practically empty, apart from the rollcage and the racing dash, the speedometer a wholly digital thing. The six-point harness quickly came in, as did his Hans device around his neck, already feeling competent and confident to press the nuclear-button like trigger of the ignition.

The car rumbled into life, some engineers covering their ears, as Ryan let it tick over, the car alive and rumbling like mad. The suspension was stiff, almost rock solid, and the downforce Ryan had opted for a grippy and more glued outlook, something which really did reward itself.
"Alright, comms good?"
"Seem so." Ryan responded, as Lucas got on his radio, wearing his large pair of headphones.
"Okay then Ryan, don't shred the tyres, but build some heat up in this first lap, and really enjoy it. Remember- not much traffic, so get into it, and we'll see where we come from here. I'll get Regina moving- we've got a half hour session of this, but I want you to be first in, then off before the main set."
"Good to me, Lucas." Ryan simply said, as he sat up, revving the engine as the flappy paddle gearbox shifted the car forwards into first, almost skidding out of the garage as he pulled right, clear as he then continued down the pitlane, the heat of the Abu Dhabi sun slowly dying, as the tempratures came lower, and lower. The track was already illuminated, the sunset perhaps a nice time to race. But Ryan turned his attention back to the pitlane, as the lane began to sweep back onto the track ,he knew shit was going to get real. And rather than going 30 in 2nd, he'd be going speeds of up to 160 in sixth. And this Audi, was going to go and do that today, one way or another.
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Regina followed in after Ryan came in, but since his car was already out there, she decided she would wait next to hers, which was sitting inside of the garage. Her helmet was being held in her left arm, waiting eagerly for her turn to get some time. Ryan was still getting briefed by the engineers, so she had quite the time to wait before it was her turn. Regina had a plan in mind, mostly modeled off of her style of driving. She liked to pressure people, both mentally and physically. The Chinese-American would often be found glued directly to the behind of her opponents, gaining the benefit of having decreased air resistance, and pressuring her opponent in front of her psychologically. The pressure usually always resulted in some sort of goof, allowing Regina to exploit it and get where she wanted. She was a manipulative person, but in a good way. The Asian herself was dressed in a Sparco racing suit, obviously schemed in Forge's colors, but it was different from Ryan's Alpinestars/Simpson setup. The times board was set up a ways above the toolbox, seeing the times were relatively good- but still beatable by both Ryan and Regina. She had been told to get at least second place, but first would be an absolute delight if it happened.

As she watched Ryan's Audi R8 set off, she watched Lucas walk over to her. Regina personally though Lucas was quite the nice guy, and a smart one too. Whatever issue the car had, he could fix it, no matter how severe it was. Only a few people in the world were able to do that, and Lucas was one of them. All of Forge were grateful to have him. Regina greeted Lucas as he came by. "Hello Regina, so today, we've got a brief period of Qualifiers today. We want you and Ryan in first, and out first so you two can beat the traffic." Lucas said, as Regina nodded, looking over her Audi R8. "The car's been set up with hard slicks so we can have only one pit-stop during the race - there's more time spent racing." The short engineer, "And we fixed that problem you and Ryan were talking about with the gearbox." He said, as Regina started to prepare herself for the qualifiers. As she pushed the earpiece + earplugs into her ears, she looked over the car as she did so, making sure that everything looked alright as she prepared to enter the car. Regina had always wanted Forge to take first place for once, but she figured second place would be a good place to build a foundation off of - as that just set them up towards the path of first place the next season. The Audis were practically identical, save for the numbers on the side so that officials could tell the difference between the two.

Regina then put on her Sparco F1-ADV helmet, which complied with FIA standards as she secured the thermal neckbrace around her neck. Immediately after that, Regina entered the car, but before she could turn on the car, she had to secure herself in the 6 point harness first. Safety came first when it came to things like this, there was no telling what could happen out on the race track, and it was wise if everyone was prepared and ready for the worst. Soon enough, the R8 blared to life as she turned the switch to the ignition. Regina revved it twice in the garage to make sure things were okay, and the car could rev properly. She knew some of the engineers were annoyed by that gesture, but it was for good measures. "Comms check." Lucas said over the radio, awaiting Gina's reply. "Check. I read you." She replied, before Lucas would tell them what exactly they would be doing. "Get your tires warm in the first lap, and get into it a little bit - I guarantee you'll be able to produce some very good lap times." Regina gave a thumbs up towards Lucas, before pressing the flappy paddle into first and setting off towards the track. In a matter of seconds, Regina's mindset would be turned towards "attack" mode, making sure she got a good spot on the starting lineup. The Audi eventually exited the pit lane, allowing Regina to deactivate the speed limiter and floor it.
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The car juddered to a speeding pace, as the pit lane was in the rear mirrors, and the Audi picked up pace. Slow on this one, warm the tyres, get round, keep it clean. The sunset was a beautiful backdrop, as he took the car calmly around Turn 2, the sharp brake into Turn 3 followed by the chicane section with a relatively empty track, the next car a few seconds ahead and the same with the one behind- Regina, or perhaps someone else, though Ryan didn't care. A sharp left that was meant to be the back straight was cut up by the chicane straight out of the cut-off section of this variant of Yas Marina, with a sharp left-right barely slowing Ryan, as he barely clambered, and the V8 purred, the engine roaring as he shifted at the red line, already feeling quick.
"Okay, tyres are looking better. Nothing extreme." Ryan heard from Lucas, as the 200 marker came up, for Turn 8. The brakes were on within the next 40m, the slow braking thanks to the ABS at least not a deliberate skid, and a gentle brake, as Ryan turned hard, the car keeping neat as the newly-found heat in the tyres stuck, and the technical section flowed with ease, as Ryan took Turn 9 aggressively, already thundering back to speed under the Yas Marina Circuit sign, the iconic blue walkway visible in his rearview as he went through the gears, headed quicker and quicker. The car hit sixth gear, and going 170mph by the end of the straight, Ryan felt the sheer flow of the car move, the run an incredible surge. The next complex after Turn 11 was simple, taken neatly but not perfectly, a little slower, as was Turn 15, the wide right hander into the hairpin under the main Marina building, lighted up at this time of night to offer an additional attraction, sat away. The hard left turn under the tunnel of the Marina building, followed by another caught Ryan off a little, and it always did, as he got back up to pace, already storming through Turn 20 and braking early for Turn 21, to cut the apex a little narrow, though it was neatly ended, with a little kick of the rear end.
"Okay Ryan, hotlap- give it five then pull into the pit lane. Do what you do best- Regina's going to join you out there." He heard, as he nodded to himself, already in fifth as he crossed the 150m marker for Turn 1, braking sharp but neatly, as he took the hard left.

Cutting the far kerb, Ryan had kept the compsure, and it was good enough. Back on the gas, the lap through the first complex was quick- so quick in fact, it had set so far, the split record for the section up to the chicane, and it was almost 0.5 seconds ahead of Muller, Lucas watching the monitor in the board.
"Okay Ryan, maintain this momentum, beautiful sector. You're losing time through Sector Three and Four, so make them special." Lucas said, as he switched to Regina, Ryan acknowledging this, as he passed under the bright-blue walkway again, the time ticking. Turns 11-14 were fairly average, but Ryan pulled it back on Turn 15 and 16 with an audacious line, that force him hard on the brakes at Turn 17, on the outer kerb but carrying through a hell of a lot of speed, one that had got him through the sector as fastest. And pulling through to the end, back to the Start/Finish straight, he felt good, Lucas had to confirm it.
"Ryan, you're on Pole, nice work- 0.15 seconds ahead of Muller on that lap. He'll try and respond, so keep your game up." Ryan head, the Audi as a beast thrown on the apex on Turn 1, as it almost lost the rear, but Ryan did well to keep it, the vehicle despite Traction Control wanting to completely lose itself, and Ryan's steely nerve at least holding it, as the sweeping right of Turn 2 went into the hard left that moved onto the cut-across layout of the Championship Circuit, rather than towards a hairpin as seen in the GP layout.
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Regina was immediately on the path to begin her attack, her hands holding her steering wheel gingerly as she attacked Yas Marina for the first time. She hadn't been on this track just yet, so she wasn't exactly familiar with the lines and such. The first corner was a relatively simple one, taking it in a relaxed fashioned as she powered out of it rather quickly. The next corner was a slight bend, that didn't warrant any braking as far as Gina was concerned. Gina let off the throttle slightly quite a bit before the turn to let the momentum she had built up carry her through, giving the appropriate amount of angle to her steering in order to make sure that momentum was wisely used. As she exited the corner, she got back onto the throttle almost immediately, hearing the V10 continue to roar. Regina had to take a feeling out lap, before she really turned up the pace. She was sure that Lucas back there was aware of her strategy.

As the third corner came up, she tapped on the brakes lightly, letting her remaining speed carry over. This part was rather tricky as she turned onto the cut off, maintaining balance as she clipped the transition from the left hander to the right hander, as that was the "Gina Method" to dealing with corners like this. The rest of diversion was dealt with in a rather mediocre manner, Gina not familiar with this part just yet, but she already figured out how to do so. As she approached to turn 8, she hit the brakes hard, going down quite a way in gears before initiating the corner. Before long, she had managed to get past the back to back corners with a wide line, allowing her to take a fast approach on the rather wide sweep.

This was the point where her R8 would gain a LOT of speed, going upwards of 270 km/h as she went down the corner. Regina kept her hold on the steering wheel tight, before she saw the first indicator, causing her to let off the throttle and work the brake, going down gears accordingly as she came up of the 11th, 12th, and 13th corner. She followed through with the 11th corner, clipping the inside of the 12th corner, and bursting out of the 13th corner briefly before she came up on the next corner. The 14th corner was easy to deal with, slowing in and fast out as she stayed on the outside of the upcoming section of the track. She wanted to sweep into the upcoming corner, and at this point, around the 16th corner, there would be a point where she could clip. Her plan was well executed, as closed in on the inside and clipped it, letting off the throttle and sweeping back out to the outside before she had to hit the brakes. She exited out of the 17th corner in moderation, preparing herself for the awkward 19th corner. It was like rinse and repeat, these sort of corners, and Gina dealt with them very easily.

She took the straight in between the 19th and 20th corner as an opportunity to regain some lost speed, lifting off at the 20th corner and immediately coming back onto it, only to be met by the last corner before the long straight. Before long, she was already back, hearing Lucas give some feedback. All she needed to do was to clean up that diversion and corners 8 and 9 and she should be good to go. She then proceeded to kick it up a notch, testing the limits of her car with this track.
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The R8 hummed loudly, as the qualifying continued, the start-finish line coming to bear a few times, as the GT3 car powered on. The times stayed consistent. And Ryan felt good, pulling back through the chicane on the main flat-out straight, already shifting the car to fifth as it replied. GT3 had some sort of different power, mind-melding of some sort. It was insane, it just went like thunder, the Ryan braking hard on Turn 8, as the car kicked out a little at the rear, before sweeping back through the turn.
"Lap times are staying the same, this is your last one remember." Ryan heard Lucas say, as he kept on the gas, thundering to Turn 11, where the left-right section, a technical one, was taken quite well with Ryan, but no better than his particularly hot lap earlier. The time by the time he got to the start-straight was off his original best, but it was good. And Ryan was satisfied with that. The sun sat on the horizon, illuminating the now floodlit track less and less, but leaving a cool shadow and a , and about twenty minutes had passed, the tyres not worn excessively, but Ryan had gotten himself pole- he wasn't too sure of Regina, but she had to have something within the Top 5- Muller and Richards, the standings leader and the particular driver that threatened Ryan's 2nd place in the standings, had gotten in, but he didn't know what order, not entirely.

After a slow and reserved lap, of just cooling off, Ryan pulled the car into the pits, pulling into the lane as the car rumbled loudly, the engine almost uncensored in it's noise as the racing exhausts didn't suppress noise a lot. And that was good, because the raw noise of the V8 in the back was near-deafening, and the reason why ear plugs were worn when inside. The car was backed in and the engine off, as Ryan clambered out, looking over at Lucas, an almost automatic handshake through his Alpinestars gloves coming, Ryan clearly smirking.
"Nicely done. You're on Pole, Regina's third, Muller is behind you and Richards is fifth. Nicely done- grab yourself a drink, we'll get the car up and set." Lucas said, as Ryan took off his gloves, then his helmet, a complicated process compared to getting it on. Taking the neck bandit out, he kept his headset in, taking the earplug out of his other ear.
"Good, good. Car's sticking well, you set it up for us like nothing else." He said, chuckling as he looked over.
"It's a good shot for our first time in. Don't get overzealous on Turn 9- you're spinning up the rear wheels too much, and the complex through Turn 16 and 17 loses you a lot of time. That gets exploited, you'll spin out there, and you won't come back. So stay sharp- you are doing good on Yas today, but you've always got room to improve. I'll get Regina through- " Lucas said, as Ryan nodded, walking over to a aptly placed folded desk and chair, grabbing a Lucozade off the table, and quickly sipping the drink through. Ryan had personally requested they go through, and Ryan was glad to have it to hand, as he knew the heat was going to die down, and it was becoming cooler. He took his MP3 player, and shoved the earpiece back into where his earplug had been a second ago, to just listen to some music. When Regina would come back, he would switch it off, and talk to her, he made a mental note to himself to do.
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Regina continued on with her laps as she got a better feel of Yas Marina. The track felt pretty good, and looked incredibly beautiful at night. However, it was super hot during the daytime, and Regina was starting to feel the effects of the heat of the environment. Luckily, she was on her last laps so she was able to get rehydrated and be comfortable once again. One of the biggest downsides of driving a car like she was driving was that AC was non-existent to save some weight. And in a place like Abu Dhabi, the heat was more prominent than rain in England, so she was definitely sweating a whole bunch. She wished there was some way to alleviate the issue of heat in the cockpit, but all she could do right now was be grateful that the race wouldn't be taking place when the heat was the most prominent. As she completed yet another lap, she was posting times that were improving, but none that were on Ryan's caliber. Within a couple of more minutes, she had cemented her place on the standings. Hopefully it would be pole position, as it would be nice to be somewhere near Ryan when they started. She began a cooldown lap, letting her R8's brakes, engine, tires, and whatnot cool down and get settled. After the cooldown lap, she pulled into the pit lane, going about nicely as she backed into the garage next to Ryan's R8, the V10 roaring and bellowing as it got settled. She really did love the sound of that engine.

As she got settled and disembarked from her car, Lucas took a moment to approach her and inform her that she was third, behind Muller and Ryan. Third wasn't so bad. She only had a person to get around and then she was able to race alongside Ryan. He then debriefed Regina, informing her of where she was losing the most time, and where she was doing good. Her biggest issue was the chicane cutting across to the other side of the track, otherwise she just needed to tidy up a few corners here and there and she should be at Ryan's pace. She took a moment to thank her team's lead engineer, before she sighed and proceeded to get rehydrated, getting a bottle of her personal favorite sports drink, Gatorade. She sat down in the chair in front of the table it was placed on, and took a rather large chug out of the bottle before she sighed, feeling adequately refreshed. She looked over to Ryan, smiling, "Hey." She said, pulling her gloves off and leaning back in her chair, "How was your qualifying?"
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Ryan took the earphone out, looking over, as she sat down.
"Pole." Ryan said, sitting up a little.
"Pole Position. Car is good, it's really howling when you hit Turn 8 and are on the brakes. It's going to get a little cooler though, night race after all." Ryan added, sipping some of the Orange Lucozade down, the drink sparkling, and compared to Powerade and Gatorade, had a punch of it's own taste. Not even like Monster- it was almost close to a soft drink, albeit with a little more sugar and caffeine. And it was good for just keeping the senses going, just keeping reflexes going strong.
"You?" Ryan asked, looking over outside at the darkening sky, as he looked back to his teammate.
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Regina shrugged as Ryan asked her what exactly he meant. "I got third place." She said, sighing and leaning back on the couch. "At least we're both on pole, yay!" She cheered, sort of flatly. Regina preferred Gatorade, mostly because she had no idea what Lucozade was, and it was sort of like a foreign substance to her. She didn't know what it tasted like or what was inside of it. For all she knew, it could've melted her internal organs. Regina sighed as she looked out onto the sky. "When do you think it's going to get cooler?" She said, wiping the sweat off of her forehead. The heat was pounding down on Regina already, and she didn't quite like it that way, unfortunately.
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(I'm using mobile internet in Poland right now- it's hard to type up a post, so expect the next one to be likely in the start of September. Sorry.)

Ryan looked over, looking out at the darkening sky out of the garage bay.
"Any second really. Should get a lot colder, not a cloud in the sky after all." He said, looking over at the two R8s, aware the temperature, due to the area, would drop considerably. It would be around 20 degrees, if not less, due to the fact that the heat escaped, yet Ryan knew the black tarmac was like walking on hot coals if barefoot- it was staggering how hot it could get when it was the middle of the day, but now, it was cooling down, to something much more comfortable.
"I really want to shove it in Muller's face. We get a one two, sure he claims the title, but he won't have so massive a grin when he does. I feel good about it, you know." He said, looking over at her, as he finished his drink off, quickly getting up and walking over to a laptop on a desk. Clicking through, he got his telemetry data up, quickly scanning through, looking at throttle patterns. As dull and boring as it seemed, it gave a corner by corner analysis of how the throttle was applied, how smooth or irregular it was. And Ryan could tell- the sectors he had a small issue with, were where the patterns were worst, the irregularity through the last complex a bastard to master in the pattern, himself aware that was where he'd need to bring the thunder and really up his game- lest he lost positions. He was just focussed on the race now- nothing else mattered, not what next, just get in the car, and drive the R8 LMS GT3, like he'd stolen it. He had a commanding style of racing, one that was ice-cold, tactical, and kept going, line after line. Holding positions, and placing pressure ahead was what he did well, to always put himself in a position where he wouldn't get passed.
"Always got next season, to try and kick the shit from him. Or, go into something else you know."
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Regina looked outside at the sun that beat down onto the region as whole, and sighed sadly. "I hope it gets colder. This heat is really killing me." She complained, pulling her shirt and creating a makeshift fan of some sort. The heat was something that Regina did not take kindly to, she preferred warm, tropical weather instead of this dry heat. Because of this, she had pretty much downed her entire bottle of Gatorade at this point. The Asian driver watched Ryan stand up and migrate towards the laptop, lying down on the couch and supporting her head with her palms alone.

After Ryan was done doing whatever he was up to, Regina was going to figure out what she needed to fix as well. She knew that she had quite a few areas to fix, but she wasn't sure where she should push it and where she would let off. She hummed to herself to pass the time, watching Ryan examine his data. She wanted to kick Mueller's ass too, but she didn't really have as big of a spotlight as Ryan did. She was just there to make the team look good compared to him. "Well let's hope we both beat Mueller. This is a team effort, Ryan." She said, glaring. "Next season next schmeason. If we lose to Mueller after the season I'd doubt we'd be allowed to remain at Forge."
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Ryan smirked, looking over, aware she was glaring and a little cynical now, he thought to himself.
"Sure. They'll keep us here. It's whether I want to be here, that's the question. And right now, we have eyes on us. You aren't just eye candy, remember." He said, looking over, as he saw Lucas walk back in, back from inspecting Regina's R8, headed over to the laptop, as he turned his head back.
"And besides, I want you to enjoy this too, so damn right you're going to get ahead of Muller. Smug bastard." Ryan said, as he threw his bottle of Lucozade in the bin, then looking outside.
"It's a good night for a race. It's going to be a good one." Ryan added, a smirk on his face, as he slowly got back into the zone. They were going soon.

OST (There's a bit where it all goes badass at the start and end)
Two and a Half Hours Later
9.02PM

The cars rumbled back onto the grid, as the warm-up lap came to an end. The floodlights, the halogen lamps of Yas Marina were turned on, the track in full view and the hot tarmac only slightly cooling. It was going to stay warm all night. Through his visor, Ryan looked in his mirror. his left one, at where Regina sat on the grid. Forge had a One-Three. And that was good. The noise of the V10 roared, as Muller's Z4, fitted with a V8, sat just a little behind on his right. The Audi had a lot of power, more than the Z4- but was heavier. And that gave him a good advantage on the straights, Ryan thought to himself. With a setup like this, the car would bite, hard. Muller would try to be ice-cold and exploit mistakes, but Ryan knew precisely how to make this car fly round the track. The combination of simply gunning through the circuit, and making sure that his lines were tight, was something the car excelled at. The lights came on, the red flashing up.
"Okay Ryan, Regina, you know the drill. First three laps are to be hammered, put distance, and then switch back to a moderate pacing. We're having a one stop strategy, one tyre change is all we want, and those Hard compounds will not do you any good if you shred them fast. Be careful- and good luck out there." Lucas said, as Ryan nodded to himself, thinking it over.
"Understood. Let's make some noise." Ryan responded, revving the engine harder, as he brought it back to revs, the full bank of lights slowly dropping. One, two, then third gone. It was barely a few split seconds, but in Ryan's head, it was too long.

Then it happened. The green flashed up, and the noise of rubber screaming, yelling like it'd been shot, filled the air, the R8's V10 roaring with a potency that just suggested a force of hell was making the action happen. Of course, every other car joined in, and it sounded like a petrolhead's wet dream, as the grid erupted into movement, the R8 surging forwards to 60 in almost under three seconds, Ryan holding ahead of Muller as the first corner came up. It was taken fairly neatly, as Muller tucked in, following. The whole grid was going, and on the first corner, in the midpack, from about fifth and seventh, a collision had occured, the tight first turn sending an Aston Martin DBR9 off track in a broken composite of carbon fibre and metal, with a Mercedes-AMG SLS GT3 joining it, the cars written off, and out of the race within the first twenty seconds. But that wasn't Ryan's concern. Turns two and the turn left onto the different layout came fast, the gap slowly widening, as Ryan kept his cool. He didn't sweat considerably, the perspiration under his Alpinestars gloves light, and almost insignificant. Lucas wasn't talking with good reason- this was a critical point, the point leads were formed, that moment when it all began. Turning through the chicane that led onto the straight, back on the regular layout, the R8 roared, a backblast of an intentional misfire occurring as he shifted up, hitting 100, 120, then 140, before ceramic collided on the R8 LMS GT3's brake pads, the G-Forces physically pressuring Ryan's internal organs and eyeballs. He was more than used to it- and it was why racing drivers, even sitting behind a wheel, had to be remarkably well in shape, mentally and physically. Because forces like this were when you had to turn. And Turn 8 and 9 was a complex, which Ryan carried out moderately well, pulling through as the lap continued. The darkness was off-putting to some, but not to Ryan. The headlights of the R8 on, and the halogen floodlights illuminating practically all of the track, as well as the funky lighting of the building located right by the Marina itself was of interest, as Ryan steered through Turn 12 and 13, the roar of cars behind visible. He couldn't see Regina, but he knew she was up there, holding. And now, they had to consolidate. A few more hours now, and this would be it. The finale would be his.
"Half a second lead on Muller, keep up the good work."
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Regina's R8 LMS rested on the grid as her car began to settle after a warm-up lap. All she could see was the other Forge Motorsports R8, and Mueller's Z4. The Z4 was definitely a big package in a little body, and as a result it must have been a very nimble car. As a result of the weight and length advantage it had over the Audis, Regina and Ryan had capitalize on the straights in order to keep Mueller as far away from their tails in the twists and turns of this track. Luckily, Regina had the luxury of being able to pressure Mueller from her position. So if she had to be behind by the time the first series of corners came around, she was able to pressure him and exploit whatever weaknesses became evident during the corners. As the countdown lights flashed on, she gripped her steering wheel gingerly, revving the engine and preparing herself for the race to commence. Lucas came on the radio, and gave a brief summary of their game plan for this race. The female racer smirked to herself once she heard Ryan's voice over the radio, before zoning back into the road in front of her.

The lights turned green, and in a few split seconds the cars lurched forward and the race set on. Sounds of various engines filled the air, and the lights illuminating the track ahead of them gave her a strange warm sensation, but was quickly shrugged off. Regina lined up for the first corner, her R8's lights making the Z4's rear bright as hell as she went through the motions, braking and shifting down gears as necessary. The sound of metal and fiberglass crunching was audible from somewhere behind her, but she could not pay any attention to it, as she had to concentrate on making out of the corner alive and well. Soon enough, the next few corners came over and she stuck to Mueller's behind like glue, applying pressure by shifting from the outside and inside and back outside as necessary. Before long, the more complex corners came up, and Regina could feel quite the strain on her body already, but she ignored it, her peak athletic shape helping her keep her composure. Ryan kept his position in front, but Regina was still stuck in third as they steered through 12 and 13. All she could see was Mueller's Z4, but as long as she didn't see Ryan's R8 anywhere behind Mueller, it was all good from here on out.

((sorry for a shorty, i tried my best))
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The R8 roared, as the night trembled on. Turn 1, back again, a sweeping left, as the minutes passed. It was a couple of minutes later when it returned, the same corner, just a few minutes into the race. The gap stayed the same, carrying half a second on Muller wasn't too bad. The tyres held, and as far as he knew, he was keeping corners neat. Nothing too hard on the kerbs, that would damage the tyre. Nothing too hard in braking and steering, you didn't skid, you held the car as grippy and tight as it went, and it wouldn't ruin the tyres. Hard tyres were hard to heat, and keeping the heat was tricky, but Ryan could tell you that holding and keeping a grip was fine. He could be glacial, and just ease in. Taking the position was hard. But holding it, that was what he did.

Lap 20. The night settled in, the noise of roaring engines passing the start finish, as the gap widened. Lucas's voice could be heard, as Ryan settled through into the left turn that replaced Turn 2, rather than going to the blocked off infamous hairpin as used in the F1.
"Pits are in five laps, Lucas, tyres are getting slightly worn. Muller's pulled back into fifth, but he could leapfrog you. Regina can take the lead for a while- you'll need to pit in the next two laps, or your rubber will be shredded and you'll lose seconds mate. Keep it clean out there." He heard, as he felt the G-Force turn, the left hander back onto the open straight followed by the R8's roar simply undeniable. Focus, not enjoy. That was his regulatory movement at hand.
"Underdstood. Regina, you better keep this lead open. I'll blitz back up on fresh rubber. We got about fifty minutes left, but I can make serious gains in that short period so long as I hold it through to the end. Remember you're on the same strategy- you go in three laps after me, you conserve rubber far better than I do." He said, braking hard into the next chicane, passing through as he felt the rear slightly kick, then coming back in.
"Woah." He said to himself, accelerating back out, aware that this was the beginning of symptoms. This was going to be tricky, he thought to himself, as he carried on, headed down towards the complex of Turn 11.
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Gina had spent the majority of the race sticking behind Mueller's Z4, applying pressure from the rear and assisting Ryan in his lead. As they completed yet another lap, she had come across the ever-familiar Turn 1 of the Yas Marina circuit. Her style of driving took less of a toll on the tires, so it definitely helped her when it came to keeping up the pressure. She didn't go all out, instead taking apart someone piece by piece and allowing her car to be in the condition to execute whatever it was she needed to in order to gain the advantage over her opponent. As she went onto a straight, she could see Ryan holding his lead over Mueller just fine. She was fine staying in third place, but based on the way Ryan was driving - his tires were going to be done soon.

As they crossed the 20th lap, the sky was pretty much pitch black and the track was illuminated with the bright lights of all the cars occupying the track. Muller had fallen behind Regina in the time that they had raced, holding a comfortable second place behind Ryan's R8. The sound of Lucas's voice came over the radio as she maintained a steady pace behind her teammate. She had learned Ryan was going to pull into the pits soon, making her retake the lead and carry Ryan's pressure on her shoulders. "Understood. I'll make sure to increase your lead." Gina replied, as she decreased the pressure just a bit to make sure her tires would last the next few laps or so before she would have to undertake Ryan's lead. As they went through the chicane together. Gina saw that Ryan's R8 kicked out a bit, but quickly got that back under control. That mishap allowed her R8 to progress a bit further onto Ryan, which should make it easier for her to take over the lead once the time came.
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The R8 purred, as Ryan came in for the pit. The car responded neatly, as Muller sped past, Ryan slowing down as he came into the pit. The car was raised as the tyres were flung off, and a new pair fixed on. Fuel went in as well, as Ryan breathed.
"Okay, Muller's got the best of you, Lam, you're in next lap. McKay, as soon as you get back out, the tyres are going to be shit for the next half a lap, till you get them warm. Muller will pull on you, and the rest of the pack will be knarling at you. Get it done, son." Ryan heard from Lucas, as the car suddenly was lowered, and Ryan was back in first. The car roared, a stinging backfire roaring as he was in the pit lane, and headed out. He pulled straight in front of the large grouping, holding third, as he got back on pace. Soon, Regina would be in, and the pursuit for Muller, who was going to also pit soon, would begin. His team were a touch faster, but no doubt, it would be a close one.

----

Lap after lap, and Ryan was sitting on Muller, the pit he made making this a two horse race. Ryan came around the bend, accelerating hard, exiting Turn 11, as he almost clipped Muller's tail.
"Bastard!" Ryan simply said, as he shifted down, into second, through the tight complex as he waited, watching, sweat pouring down his nose, as the heat was really on. The nightfall had truly come, and right now, Ryan was waiting. Waiting for a crack. And that crack came, in eventual time. Ryan knew that Regina was close behind, but Muller had to go, and right now. Maybe a 1,2 finish. Because through Turn 21, Muller had forgotten how shitted the hard tyre was at this point. With five minutes left on the clock, the drivers and tyres were going. Muller was good in the middle, after a tyre change, and the point was, Ryan knew this. He'd been withered away. Now, he had the chance. The chance to really push it home. A hard scrape, but through the inside, Ryan sped through, aware that it had pissed him off. Some paint traded, but he was in. And now, with four minutes, thirty seconds left, Ryan McKay was going to hold his nerve, and give Regina that chance she wanted to get through to second, making whatever gap he could. The rubber on his own car was going away. But now, he had to do what he had to, as he passed the Start Finish, the R8 roaring as Ryan was fast on the brakes.
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Regina noted that she was due for her pit stop during the next lap. She cursed mentally, knowing the lead she was holding would be pretty much gone as she went in the pit stop. Hopefully Muller would have to pit soon as well, otherwise Ryan would have one hell of a time trying to get back the lead that Gina had to give up. She knew that the first few moments with Ryan back in the race would be hell, since he had to deal with the annoyance of having to get his tires warmed up again. His car wouldn't be at a 100% until those tires were warm. Gina continued to lead on Muller, seeing the lights of his Z4 in her own rearview mirror. She could feel the pressure bearing down on her, which had her sweating like mad. Gina's grip on her steering wheel tightened a bit on the straights, trying to hold the R8's horsepower down.




A long time behind the wheel and a pit change later, the race was coming to a close very, very soon. Maybe five minutes or so? Gina honestly lost track of the time, she had much more important things to be worrying about. She did not want Muller to win this race, not while Ryan and Gina were on his rear bumper. Not today, not ever. Regina had held 3rd place very well, sticking behind Ryan as he tried to attack and put pressure on Muller. Ryan was definitely turning up the aggression, and it was definitely affecting Muller. His tires were slipping, and the pressure from both Ryan and Gina would wear him down faster than anyone else on this track. This was a good thing, pressure was something the both of them were good at. Gina stayed behind Ryan's bumper as close as she could, careful to not accidentally bump him and screw up their chances at a 1,2 finish. The clock ticked towards four and a half minutes left, and every second felt like a millennium as Gina and Ryan continued their attack on Muller.
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The corners came one after another, as Ryan kept his composure, each and every turn, just staying concentrated, just taking it on one corner at a time. The car was feeling like it wanted to die, but Ryan couldn't let that happen. He had pole. And he was staying on it, no matter what. Muller went in close as they swept through the left-right hander chicane at the end of the straight leading to Turn 8, Ryan having to brake early but fend his outside tight, as the car slid through, the roaring V10 absolutely beautiful, as Ryan's blood swept through, his forehead sweat covered and every nerve in his body fighting, like absolutely mad. The next straight was just as sweepingly quick, and Turn 11, 12 and 13 were a nice complex, Muller trading a little paint with his bumper, like the tiniest of nudges. Ryan held on. The car was going, and he knew that Gina was right on him, willing to slip through on the one mistake he could make going on the offensive. Through Turn 19 and 20, Lucas pulled roughly 2/10ths of a second away from being basically in the Z4's grill, and the next corner, the penultimate one, wasn't an event. The last one, the kerb rolling under the spent hard compound of the R8's tyres, was uncomfortable, but doable. Getting round, the Z4 close, Ryan floored it. The cheqered flag awaited.

-----

Pulling into the pit lane, and then in front of the garage, Ryan cheered, as he stepped out. Lucas watched on, just happy for him, as Lucas took his helmet off and stood on his car, klaxons in the audience blaring. Muller was the real champion, but here, in this race, Ryan had did it. As Gina pulled in, and took her helmet off, Ryan hugged her, a little high on the moment, as he looked over to the podium.
"Whoo!" Ryan yelled, as he smiled, just knowing that this moment was too good to ignore. Deep down, however, something said that this was in vain. That he was second anyway. In his first season of GT3, yes. But second wasn't something that felt worthy after today. Not the way he had raced.

----

OST

The end of the race had been a climactic event, with the whole event being something wicked. It was surreal, just brilliant. First place was good, though second in the series did feel like it had let Ryan down a little. The podium and medals had come out, and it had been a huge event, with at least three hours between then and now. A press conference, a bit of news here and there, and then that was it. It had been a hell of an event. He sat in the garage, head back, looking at his R8. Lucas walked past, patting him on the shoulder. Though that said, Lucas did feel angry. A little betrayed. This was a lot of effort, and not for a lot. Second in the championship was great, but for the first time, he wasn't getting a lot of reward. Maybe others had seen the potential, but the team hadn't.
"You did good, kid. Not bad. Second is good, the whole season, in your first go. Not a lot of people get to do that. Gina pulled out a cracker of a performance too. So, what now?" He simply asked, as Ryan looked over.
"I don't know. GT3 is good, but I've got a few other offers. Better paid. Better accommodating, in some other disciplines. And I know you don't like your job either. Could move." Ryan simply said, exhaling.
"Look, we got the car running as good as we could, there's nothing more we can give..."
"No, horseshit. The car was great, we were great, and I'm the first loser. We won't even get bonuses. Second in my first fucking season. Just like you said. You should be getting paid, Gina, me. That sort of performance, from a team that's expected mid table. That includes you. We were asked the world and didn't get the world, so here we are. Lot of money down the pisser. And I don't want to be about when Sean goes through another fucking brief." Ryan simply said, exhaling.
"And anyway, I want something new. GT3 was good this year. Touring Car racing was good too, but I'm seriously thinking of going back. Besides, rather than getting stressed out, I want to sit in that car and know I'm not racing for some dick's management scheme." Ryan added, as Lucas nodded.
"If that's how you feel then. I'm with you if you go. My bonus will be cut, but wherever the hell you're thinking of going to, it better be good." Lucas replied, as Ryan nodded, taking his baseball cap off as he looked out at the darkness, then at the two R8s, and back to Lucas.
"I have a good place to go, I think I have a rough idea." He simply said, as he stood up, looking around, as he checked the time.
"Shit, those visitors are meant to be here. Said they'd stop by. Come on, Gina." Lucas simply said, as he headed to the rear exit, looking over.
"Gotcha."

Heading out, the parked cars sat right in front of Ryan, the sight of a fairly rounded out Scot sitting on the bonnet of a red Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, and his feminine partner by her vehicle, both here to visit this particular pair of racing drivers. There were many reasons, many, many reasons. And it brought a smile to Ryan's face, as he saw them both. They looked formidable, like they were good friends, and good rivals on the road. People that were as fast as they said they were.
"Second place isn't bad. Good to see you two." Ross simply said, as Ryan chuckled, Ross's face one of confidence, just knowing already of what Ryan felt; even though he didn't race himself, he could tell it from afar.
"Don't see you out on the racetrack, Ross."
"The road is ours." Ross said, chuckling, as he patted the bonnet of his C63.

-----------------

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Part Two: Horsepower

OST

The C63 roared, as Ross put his Oakleys down, shifting up as he heard the 6.2l V8 thunder, as the skyscrapers of Dubai lined the streets, Ross pulling right into the exit, the sight of two very fast cars moving through the center of Dubai a centre to see. The sun was out, and the evening was slowly coming in, as the sun did veer off to the West.
"Down here, Kimberly, don't look behind! There is a fuckload of police, they look pissed!" Ross added, turning down the music a little, as he braked hard, the rubber screaming as he pulled hard into a tight 90 degree turn, smoke blaring from the rear wheels as the distant noise of cop cars could be heard.
"We're approximately four miles out, we've got not long left. Fuck me, whatever we are carrying, I have a horrible feeling it's gonna cost us if we stop, more than just a speeding ticket..." He simply added, overtaking slow moving traffic, moving onto the opposite side of the road, as he slid back in, just gunning it through, the tyre smoke and roaring V8 blaring. Turning left, he moved into a smaller alley, the noise of cop cars flooding, as Ross kept on the gas, just knowing he had to keep up the momentum. The Red C63 had been a beauty, and the Sheikh that wanted this car back, had something inside from Abu Dhabi. Something that needed delivery, and fast. It needed to be incognito too, so Ross being the entrepreneurial person he was, knew that it was always time to have a little bit of a race. No JDM, but muscle, stuff that was going back to the Sheikh afterwards, stock but powerful. And it felt awesome. Pacing back onto the Sheikh Zayed Highway, the traffic building as the day came to a close, Ross put it back into fifth, already thundering back on the pace, weaving through cars, just loving this. Right in the center of Dubai, they were transporting something, and it was total anarchy.
"More cops, right ahead! Back off the motorway we go!" Ross added, as he turned right, back off the highway, into some construction work, that he had to smash through a barrier to get through. Keeping the throttle on, he skidded around a crane, aware the police was a little confused, before getting back on the road, continuing to storm down.
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Gina stuck close to her teammate - the R8 bellowing as if it was a bat from hell. The rigor and long, hard hours of racing at this level taking a toll on the purpose-built race car. There was a reason why GT3 was one of the hardest racing disciplines there were out there. Only coming behind rally and open wheelers. This wasn't even the very worst the cars would be put through - there was the inclusion the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 24 hours of racing would kill any car. Those who made it out must have been lucky, and had the perfect strategy. Key suspension components were beginning to give out underneath all the stress Gina had dealt to it, and it could be felt with the slightest touch. She was praying to god it would at least stay intact until the end of the race. She needed to have Ryan's tail. His R8 also was feeling the pain. Every car here was. Some gave in, and had to retreat to the pit to retire for the night. Races like these - they were hard as fuck. They not only tested cars, but the determination of the driver. Everyone must've been drowsy, but plowed on for the chance at glory. Gina could've been practically dead, but she was still continuing. The adrenaline acted as a fantastic fuel. All she had to do was take over whenever Ryan slipped up, which was starting to get harder than it sounded.

---

The Asian girl flipped up the visor on her helmet, allowing her eyes to get used to the light she would now be surrounded by. She had deserved this moment. Hours and hours of rigorous racing. The R8 was in some bad shape, if she had to be honest. But it was only expected considering the nature of the sport. All sports beat up something. Soccer? Racquetball? Tennis? They beat up balls. Racing happened to beat up automobiles. Racing was an art in itself. Every single aspect of it. Gina was glad she was part of this lovely sport. It was just... phenomenal how she had come all this way to be racing professionally. The R8 pulled into the paddock, before shutting off for the night. It had been through so much. She pulled off her helmet and got out of her car, a smile on her face as she realized that she had just completed her first season professionally. Second place as a rookie? That definitely wasn't bad. Not bad at all considering she was playing with the big boys now. She was one of the only females in the league, which made it even more awesome. She accepted Ryan's hug and cheered, a big smile on her face as she turned around and looked at the car before her. The hours she spent with it... she was definitely going to miss spending time with the car. "I can't believe it, Ryan! First professional season in GT3 and we've taken second! Woo!" She cheered, high fiving an engineer.

---

Racing was a spectator sport - so of course that included lots and lots of press. All Gina had to do was to just sit there at the table, answer the occasional question, and look pretty as a representative of her team. The three hours between the end of the race and the end of the event. For some odd reason they felt much longer than the race itself. She didn't like talking to the press. A good majority of them were ignorant, definitely didn't know what they were talking about. People tended to ask her questions that made absolutely no sense. People who knew she was definitely, but they mostly knew her as that girl racer. Not that she was Regina Lam born in China. Not that she had a racing heritage. She was just the girl who drove the car in a land dominated by males. She wanted people to know there was a lot more to her than just that. Regina was more than capable.

At least now, she was sitting in her garage with Ryan. Her head leaned back pretty far, extending past the cushion and resting on the rather hard part. She looked up at the ceiling. Yas Marina. Probably one of the more hotter places she had been to. The daytime was hellish hot, but at least now when it was night it was much more cooler and bearable. Regina grew up in a warmer climate, yes, but she wasn't used to the dry heat Saudi Arabia possessed. How did people even live like this? Regina would leave that question to be answered by the natives. But for now, here came Lucas and Ryan discussing whatever it was they were going to discuss.

Regina closed her eyes, pretending to space out when the two discussed. She did feel a bit cheated... even though she was a rookie. She came into this line of work hoping that she would be able to make a pretty penny and a few. Instead she was cheated. Honestly, this would probably be her last season with Forge as well. She received better offers already, hopefully on the same team as Ryan. The two were a dynamic duo most definitely. They could not be celebrated, so teams would probably treat them like a package. Not that Regina minded. She liked working with Ryan anyway.

Regina opened her eyes towards the end of the conversation, "Yeah man... I agree with Ryan. He's got a good point. I think the both of us should be paid a lot more than we are right now. But that's just me." She protested, before getting up. Gina made a curious face as Lucas beckoned for her to follow. She nodded and caught up to them, walking out the exit. She stood before a pair of drivers. One man, presumably European (?), sitting on a hood of a red Mercedes Benz C63 AMG. The woman next to her, also Caucasian, sat on the roof of her black BMW M5.

---
Two Years Ago
Glasgow, Scotland


"Just relax, Miss Rossi. You'll be in good hands here."

Kimberly at this point was a little over nine months in her pregnancy. If someone were to ask her where she would be at this point earlier that year, it definitely didn't include being in labor somewhere in Scotland of all the places in the world. The girl was only twenty four years old. Many years before the age she intended to have a kid, if she decided to at all. And if she were to have one anyway, would she really be giving birth to her child in Scotland? Figuring out how exactly the kid she would be having with some guy she met at a race track earlier that year, who just happened to be her fiance? It was a rather bad interruption in her plans. She didn't plan on any of this. She wanted to just race and drive her cars back across the big ol' pond. But here she was, lying in a hospital room in Scotland in the process of giving birth.

The female driver lost track of how long she exactly spent in this hospital. Whatever it was, it was certainly long enough for her to start to get a bit touchy and a bit deep. Maybe this was supposed to happen? Maybe she was supposed to meet Ross and have all this happen to her? No, no. She was much too young to be having a child. She still had plenty of years to live! It was a bit disappointing to know that she would have to put her passion on pause for this child. She did feel guilty though, this baby was born out of wedlock. Kimberly also didn't intend on having a bastard child, but it was much too late. In the next few hours, her life would be turned completely upside down with the introduction of a brand new life. A life that she and Ross had created. It was rather surreal - knowing that her life would be flipped completely upside down.

Kimberly reached over to the side table, grabbing a hairtie and tying her long, brown hair back. Her hand migrated to her forehead, wiping it clear of sweat. The expectant mother winced in pain, groaning as she experienced some discomfort. This labor thing sure was hard. Probably the most pain Kimberly had ever experienced in her lifetime, and that was kind of an impossible feat considering Kimberly's past and what she had experienced before this moment. Hands down, most painful thing ever. Made everything seem like a walk in the park. "Oh.. fuck." She gasped, the pain clearly enveloping her and giving her a whole another world of discomfort. Even though she was put in a high tier maternity room, it sure didn't feel like it. Sure, the TV was on, but it was on BBC News, and the last thing Kimberly wanted to think about was the world she would be putting this child in. It definitely wasn't the same world Kimberly herself was born in. Definitely wanted this to end soon. She was starting to become disoriented.

The midwife sat by besides her, doing god-knows-what on her phone as Kimberly awaited the contractions to come along. She had already lost track of how far she was into this... which was not a good sign for Kimberly as a mother. Thankfully the midwife kept track for her, so that wasn't as big of an issue for her. This room was rather DULL for a maternity room. It was painted a lovely shade of boring beige, the only light on in the room was the lamp next to her, and the hallway outside. Otherwise it was pretty dim since it was night time. A stormy night at that. Such was the weather in a land like this. Always stormy, at the very least cloudy. Kimberly had never seen sunshine during her time here. The place she and Ross were staying in was lovely, but it couldn't reach its full potential considering that Kimberly spent a lot of time indoors. Too afraid she might've fucked something up.

Kimberly glanced around the room once again, it was only her, her fiance, and the midwife. Felt rather lonely, but this was a moment that only required Ross and Kimberly. After all, Kimberly was about to introduce a new life into the world - and Ross assisted in creating that life. She stared at the TV, before another contraction kicked in. This was indicated by Kimberly's low groaning, and sudden rising from her dormant position within the bed. The midwife took some notes, before realizing what this meant now. The midwife got up and took Kimberly's hand, as Kimberly breathed deeply and heavily. "Okay... you're in the transition phase now... all this means is that you're on the home stretch. Just stay strong, breathe, and relax."

Kimberly nodded, feeling more sweat drip down her face. This was it. A few more moments, and she would be a mother. She was going to put an actual life into this world. Kimberly could already feel the accomplishment that would overwhelm her as soon as she got done with. But for now, she had to be strong. Kimberly groaned and groaned, grabbing her fiance's hand and squeezing it as her midwife moderated the process, bringing along some nurses with her. After a few hard, intensive moments later, Kimberly groaned loudly one last time. It was quickly replaced by the sound of crying. At that point, Kimberly was stricken with a multitude of emotions. Fear, accomplishment, pride, and worry.

"It's a girl!"

Kimberly breathed a rather hard sigh of relief, plopping back in her bed as she smiled, tears flowing down her face and looking up at her fiance. "Oh my god... we did it." She said, her voice catching in her throat, "I-I'm a mom now... oh god..." Kimberly tried to keep the tears away from her face, but her efforts were futile as they started to stream. Her daughter was wrapped in a blanket promptly, putting a cute little beanie on her as she was put in her mother's arms. Kimberly had the biggest smile on her face, tears of joy flowing down her cheeks. The girl in her arms calmed down a bit, fussing around as Kimberly looked at Ross, and back down at her daughter. "Hi there... I'm Kimberly. I'll be your mother." She said, looking up at Ross, "You see him?" Kimberly asked as she gestured to her fiance. "That's your dad, Ross." Kimberly planted a kiss on her forehead, lightly grabbing her cute, delicate little hands, "Welcome to the world, Mia Hartley."

---

Present Day

Two years had passed since the biggest day of her life. Kimberly still thought back to it from time to time - but now Mia was two. The cutie was already walking and talking. When people said their kids grew up fast, they really did mean it. Her career had in fact taken a hard stop for about a year and a half. But, she realized that she shouldn't have to put her life on pause just because something had unexpectedly happened. Kimberly had sold off most of her garage to support her new family. However, her 2009 Subaru WRX STi Hatchback, and 2001 Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 V-Spec II Nur remained - those cars she had loved dearly. Not to mention the latter was incredibly rare, and she had jumped through so many hoops to get to it. But, that didn't mean she couldn't introduce new additions. To be more family friendly, she bought a 2015 Subaru Impreza WRX STi, the updated version of one of her preexisting cars to carry her kid around whenever she wanted to. She also obtained a few more cars, mostly for herself.

It was a bit sad when she got back in the seat of her Skyline for the first time a long while. She had completely forgotten the bond she had formed with this car. However, the more time she spent reconciling with it, the more she remembered its quirks and her style of driving with this. Within no time she was back into her prime, driving like she did two years ago. To the limit and beyond. Now she was here in the Middle East, driving a BMW M5 given to her by a Sheikh to deliver something. It was good money, so she couldn't deny. Plus, there were definitely a lot of cars to see here. Big plus to the enthusiast indeed. However, they stopped by Yas Marina to visit a couple of drivers. She wasn't exactly sure who these drivers were, maybe old friends, perhaps? She did know a few, but she wasn't sure if they remembered her.

It wasn't until they walked out the door that Kimberly recognized one of them. "Hey Ryan!" She beamed, her face lighting up at the sight of his face. It had been too long since she had seen him. Kimberly was a big fan of the guy, she liked him. However, she didn't recognize the female driver next to him. She decided to introduce herself, walking up to her, "Hey. I'm Kimberly." She said, reaching out a hand. Regina responded promptly and reciprocated the introduction.

---

Kimberly had one hand on the left side of her steering wheel, the other on the gear lever as she proceeded to transition into a tight turn. She kicked the clutch, sending it into a powerslide and clearing the corner easily. The M5 growled, all the horses packed in that biturbo 4.4L V8 working their hardest. The cops were all over them like ants on sugar. Whatever this car carried - definitely wasn't something the cops really appreciated. Kimberly gripped her gear lever tight momentarily, before loosening her grip so she could switch gear in a blink of an eye. She stuck behind Ross, hoping that he could get them out of the police's reach in no time. If they were to be caught, chances were that she wouldn't see her daughter ever again. The fear of that alone acted as enough motivation for her to keep driving to the best of her ability.

Kimberly followed suit as Ross turned right, straight into the construction sight. She could see sand be blasted onto the windshield, prompting her to turn on the windshield wipers before getting back on the road. The sound of squealing tires accompanied the sound of the V8 roaring, storming down wherever the hell they were as an attempt to get away from the police. The Sheikh was going to have to deal with some inevitable damage on his car, but it was better than not having his stuff delivered at all.

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Shifting up, Ross dived back onto the road, roaring through a tunnel of sorts as he weaved traffic, the 6.2L V8 more akin to something that would fit in a Shelby, not a elegant German Coupe. None the less, it was an incredible sound, as Ross weaved into the hard shoulder, blaring past a couple of generic-looking sedans- most likely some Ford Mondeos, or Honda Accords. He didn't worry about that right now. Getting clear of the cops was priority number one, as the road went on, Ross still going back and forth between in and out of cars, the V8 wanting to spin the back wheels up and make this beast feral. Looking behind, he kept an eye on Kimberly, before turning back off onto the right, looking at the exit.
"We're pulling off here, we might be able to lose our tail. Down to Al-Barsha Road." Ross added, taking the junction clean, as he sped past the construction work, aware that if Kimberly kept tight, and wove past the traffic, she might make it through.

Turning hard, and braking, the ceramics heating up as Ross hit the handbrake and shifted down, the rear wheel skidding as he then was back on the throttle in a sharp acute turn, Ross pulled into the small road, almost single laned, forcing people from the road as he turned left, heading down into the more complex roads, down into Al Barsha, as he kept on the throttle, the sound of sirens becoming a little more distant, though still in the area. Ross kept to the throttle, flooring it down the road and breaking a red light, turning hard left onto another road, between a pair of apartment blocks, dust kicking in the track as he then turned right, the wonder of Dubai's PD still going on- this was a chase that had lasted more than long enough now, and they wanted it over. That wasn't what Ross was going to let them have, not today, as he carried on, aware that they'd lose them soon.
"We might need to split, find some cover under a roof, then head out. Keep as low a profile as we can, apart. Wait, shit, didn't our contact say he left false plates in the boot?" Ross asked, as he thought it through.
"Shit, it might just be screwdriver time, we might get though this easier than I thought..." Ross added, braking hard again and kicking up some dust, as he drove through past the American Academy in Dubai, flooring it through the four way junction and just looking around, for places to quickly lay the car low for a moment or two.
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Kimberly kicked the clutch, allowing the wheels to get a bit loose as she counter steered, yanking the wheel the opposite way as she used throttle to even out the power. As she shifted down, the tires chirped as a new wave of power cascaded over them, a slight jolt sending her back in her seat as she straightened out her car. The German sports sedan bellowing like a bat from hell as they entered a tunnel. All that could be heard was the 4.4L V8 and the 6.3L V8 coming from the Benz closer to her. She was on the shoulder, whizzing past some ordinary cars as she merged back onto the actual road, putting the car where it was supposed to be. However, it wouldn't stay straight for long as Kimberly would have to snap the steering wheel left and right, bobbing and weaving in and out of traffic. It had been a while since Kimberly had done this sort of thing, but it was like only yesterday was the last time she did it. Everything came to her in an instant. She wasn't sure if it wasn't that muscle memory returning to her, or it was her mind on autopilot. Either way, the cops were a big worry, and she had to get out of there, fast. She heard Ross's voice come through the intercom, where she scanned her surroundings for any opening she could take.

As soon as she found an opening, she flicked the steering wheel and threw the weight hard enough to send it drifting towards Ross's trail. They had to split up soon. It'd be way harder for Dubai PD to get the both of them if they were both on the other sides of the city. The M5 squeezed itself into the narrow road, knowing that there were judging eyes bearing down on the both of them. Sirens, and fast cars driving down their street. Anyone could connect two and two together. The more roads they traveled, the more Kimberly had the urge to break off. As soon as Kimberly saw a red light, she broke off another direction, turning right onto another street as she threw her M5 into an alley, turning it around into a concealed place as she turned off the engine, leaning back in her seat as she took some deep breaths. The sirens were far away. If she was smart, she would've gotten away clean. Problem is, how would she get back? She heard Ross's voice again, "Way ahead of you. I'm already somewhere good." She said, adjusting herself as she heard her partner mention something about plates.

"Good idea!" Kimberly replied, opening the door slightly as she slid out of the car, popping the trunk. She opened it up. There was the package, and there were the false plates. Perfect! Now... for the screwdriver. Kimberly did some digging in the trunk, leaning in so that she could rummage through the safety kit of the BMW. She did find one finally, and she twiddled it in her left hand as she pulled out the rear plates. There was some work ahead of her, making sure they went on perfectly. But a little work in this instance would go a long way, something Kimberly would know very well at this stage in life. The screws came off and then back on, holding in false plates at the very end as Kimberly put the legitimate ones somewhere where only the Shiekh himself would know. Kimberly turned on the engine, hearing it purr once again. She had forgotten how satisfying it was to hear an engine purr to life. She really did miss this. "Where do we meet up? I'm all done over here."

---
Two Years Ago

"Okay, you're all set! Off you guys go!"

Kimberly smiled as she cradled Mia E. Hartley in her arms. She was finally able to leave, which was good for the three of them. Kimberly had grown very tired of the hospital she had been in for the past few weeks. All these tests, needles. Urgh, Kimberly hated needles. It wasn't that she was scared of them, she just hated the idea of having a needle pricking into her skin and taking stuff/putting stuff into her. Kinda ironic since she was a huge fan of tattoos, and had some herself. She was just happy to be finally leaving this stupid hospital. The novelty wore off very quickly. Kimberly made a slight happy grunt as she looked down at her daughter, who was a bit... indifferent? She was only a few weeks old. Not the proper age for opinions. Oh no, absolutely not. Even though she had spent nearly every minute of the past few weeks with her, she still couldn't believe that this bundle of cute was in her arms, and it was hers. Mommy and Mia, kinda rung. She liked it. Kimberly stepped outside of the hospital, taking her first real breath of fresh air in a long time. It was Scottish air, but it was still air from the outside! Beat the hell out of.... whatever that was.

A drive later, and they were back home. When she left, it was just her and Ross. But now, there was a new addition. Mia fussed a bit, normal for babies. Kimberly hummed quietly as she made her way inside, eager to put her daughter down in her crib. It was a long time coming. Lots of planning, anticipation, worry, and definitely mood swings. Mood swings were especially hard to deal with, and considering it was Kimberly, they sometimes got really bad. She would be really happy at one point, then the next point she'd be really pissed off or blabbering about how she wouldn't be a good mother. Thankfully she was done with that business. For now at least. Now came the hard part, raising this baby. This creature that came out of her, it was a bit disturbing in those terms, yes, but that was what it essentially boiled down to. Kimberly walked into the bedroom she lived in and sat down in a chair, a smirk on her face. Still surreal. Mia was making baby noises, which was a good thing. It would be a LOONG time before silence became a good thing. But she was willing to put up with that. No biggie, she had a bunch of siblings in the house growing up.

Kimberly got up and shuffled a slight distance, lowering her daughter into her crib for the time being as the new mother adjusted her back, grunting as she shuffled back to her lover. Kimberly pushed herself against him, wherever he was. She smiled and put a finger on his chest. "So... now that we're home... I guess it's a new chapter in both our lives, huh? No more cars for me. No engines, no wheels, no nothing." Kimberly had a smile on her face, but it was masking something. It was masking a slight feeling of fear, and reluctance. Knowing that the next few years would be dedicated to her daughter and her daughter only? It wasn't the path she wanted to take, but it was the path fate gave her, and that was the one she was going to embrace.
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