Monday, 14 September 2009

Snetterton - 22nd Aug 2009 (catching up!)

Race Results
  • Qualifying : 13th (2nd in Subaru Cup) - 1:24.926
  • Race 1 : 10th (2nd in Subaru Cup)
  • Race 2 : 9th (2nd in Subaru Cup)

  • Wow, I thought this post had gone up aaages ago... blogging fail :(

    The Subaru Cup's second visit to the Norfolk circuit was again greated by glorious sunshine, great for grip, but a worry to many in the Subaru Cup due to our experience with overboosting / overheating problems on our last visit.

    All the cars experienced this to some extent, but a combination of luck, driving round the problem and some ingenious adaptations, by mikee, to the windscreen washers to spray water onto the intercooler meant that we did not suffer excessivly.

    We, of course, had our usual mad rush to get ready for the race, with a new P1 rear diff being rebuilt by API Impreza being fitted to the car only a few days prior to the race along with a new paddle clutch from X-Spec motorsport to complete the repairs from Cadwell.

    My aim in returning to Snetterton was to shave at least 2 seconds off my best laptime from the eartlier visit, aware that to target a repeat double victory may be pushing our luck, but hoping to return to the winners step at least once.

    Despite a good qualifying run, managing not to get stuck behind slower cars as happened at Cadwell, I struggled to adapt to the changes in handling produced by the new diff and was unable to quite match my previous best lap of 1:24.916, recording a 1:24.926... 100th of a second slower!

    Race 1
    Starting second in the Subaru Cup class from the inside of Row 7, with Alix thompson ahead on the outside of Row 5 and Karen Phillips along side me I new it was going to be a real scramble down to the first corner for the class lead.

    Race 1 Podium - Richard Senter

    My nerves were back, knowing that my parents were watching me race for the very first time, but as the 5 second board came out any extranous thoughts disapeared as the revs raised and I waited for the red lights to go out.....

    I used the new paddle clutch (which allows quicker engagement and avoids slipping which had wasted time previously) to good effect off the start, making my way up the inside of my perpetual shadow Andre Severs and Vaughn Fletcher as we passed the pitlane exit. Unfortunatly I fluffed the gearchange from 2nd to 3rd, bouncing out of gear and effectivly going backwards.

    Managing to regain drive I slotted in behind Andre, who had to break early due to a minor incident ahead. Forced out onto the curbs I locked my wheels briefly and nearly hit Andre as we went into turn 1, a close call, we got away with just the slightest touch which did not upset either car.

    The loss of drive had lost me position in the Subaru Cup class, with Darren making his way past through the first couple of corners. A good run through Coram at the end of lap 1 gave me a chance under brakes into Russell Chicane and I darted up the inside of Darren as he ]]took a wider line into the chicane. Out on the dirty side of the circuit Darren attempted to out brake me, locking up and sliding into the front wing of my car with a hard impact.

    Besides a few dents and a loss of momentum, we both made it away from our clash with no ill effects and I was able to hang in on the outside round the Chicane to keep the place as we accelerated onto the straight.

    With the faster GT class cars of Andre Severs and Paul Garrod between us I was never able to close back up on Alix, finishing 2nd in the Subaru Cup. Towards the end of the race we started seeing some minor overboost and fueling issues which caused me to drop off in pace as a precaution, but no problems could be found after the race.

    A best lap of 1:23.770 shaved over a second off my previous best time, meeting at least one of my targets for the weekend.

    Reel Motion produced this highlights video of Snetterton. Hopefully we will see more from them at future rounds soon :)

    Race 2

    Starting directly behind Alix on the outside of Andre on Row 5 I was hopeful that another good start would bring me the class lead.

    I got an excellent start, passing Andre and Paul Garrod in their GT class Honda's off the grid and running side by side with Alixl, who had also had a great start, through turns 1 and 2.

    Alix got the best of me onto the Rivett straight for the first time and into the Essess secured his class lead, but I was able to continue to harrass him for the next 4 laps, at one point passing each other 3 times in a single corner!

    After just a couple of laps I started experiancing fuel starvation, particually in the high g-force corners like Sear. The fuel would all move to one side of the tank, then surge back causing first starvation and then overfueling, with a loud bang and shot of flame from the exhaust!

    This kind of thing is very bad for the engine, with Subarus having a reputation for detonating when subjected to fuel starvation (the fuel is needed to cool the cylinder). With this in mind I decided to back off in the hope of making the end of the race, looks like cutting anymore off my laptime would have to wait...

    First Andre, then Paul went past as my pace continued to slow. I have finally learned the lesson from Pembrey, not to fight with cars that are not in my class when I haven't got the pace. Letting the other cars past may have hurt my pride, but it let me keep going and, with Darren Hughes taking a spin on lap 6, secure a 2nd place finish.

    Simon Norris' extremely quick Evo hogged the overall wins for the weekend, the car astonishingly quick in a straight line, while Karen's run of bad luck continued on her welcome return to the Subaru Cup, with a shunt from an MR2 and a spin on oil from Andy McClennen's Swifts engine fire in Race 1 putting her near the back of the grid for the second race.

    Full results and times are available from TSL Timing here