Silverstone then.... Testing on Friday, arrived at a lovely sunny Silverstone but things went wrong as soon as I jumped out of the van. First, after having met the waiting Phil and chatting about the great hassle free journey on the way up we walked around the other side of the trailer and saw this:
God knows when it happened! No change the way the trailer handled at any point in the journey and no franticly waving drivers on the road either. So next to unload the race car and a caught strap caused a few issues so I removed the wheel to see what the strap was caught on only to cross thread a wheel nut refitting it..... And not to mention the wind, direct from the arctic and blowing across relentlessly for most of the day. Otherwise a nice day with just a brief hint of a shower while we were eating lunch inside.
Phil was out first... first time at the circuit so he needed track time and got plenty. Pretty much a full race distance on the first stint and he seemed to be enjoying himself in the company of GT3 Astons, a Porsche 935, supertourers from the past and the present, Radicals and to cap it all a Renault RS01 in menacing virgin black carbon fibre hunting him down.
Ricky got the next session time as well and set some fast times and a couple of practice pit stops/driver changes completed the day.
Saturday, race day then dawned bright and blue and thankfully the wind had subsided and we were joined by Rob and Simon, as ever helpful supporters. Although Rob did turn up in disguise so none of us recognised him!
Qualifying then and Phil out first to get his laps in before handing over to Ricky to set the grid time. Power circuit this one so not much chance of any front running, but a 1.07.5 got us 25th on a grid of 39, outpacing a Ferrari 355. This championship has really stepped up a gear this year, lots of super power BMW's demonstrated by last years race when a similar time would have gained a 16th place on the grid. To put into context, the tin tops race today, for similar cars to us but with modified engines (no Sequential box's though) Riku's time would have been 4th fastest.
So, qualifying done, sit back and relax till race time? No chance. The clouds were rolling in and a tense 2 hours or so observing the clouds and distant rain falling that were missing us until a sudden wind change and with 45 minutes till race time a torrential, icy downpour that lasted around 20 minutes and soaked everything. Big decision then, we have some "rain" tyres for standing water that will tear up if the track dried or we run the Dirreza's that will cope with wet track but not standing water. Phil was designated starting driver for the first time ever so the decision was his and he went with the full wet option the safe decision. Thanks to Simon and Rob for a hasty change we sent the car off and then watched steam from he track such was the sudden heatwave......
In hindsight I think it was still the correct decision as the track was streaming wet at the start and the chances are we would have gone off and not finished at all. In the event all the slower Puma's got past us and Phil has reported never having seen so many revolving cars in his life. By the time of our pitstop and driver change there was a definite dry line but had we changed tyres in the pit we would have lost maybe 3/4 laps so we had to stick with the plan. Riku got into the 1.12's by the end but the damage was done, we finished a safe 23rd. Our class opposition though had major issues which is a shame as they put a lot of work into their Lotus and we felt a bit subdued by taking the trophy and class win.
Should have some photos and videos soon.
Next up Brands Hatch, June 4th.
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never thought I would want a list but now find myself needing one just to remind me: Clio V6 230, Clio cup racer (X85), Clio 200 (X98) clio 182 (X65) (Riku's), Renault sport twin turbo in Panorama blue (van), Spider (Xciting) Clio220 Trophy.