Following a first round at Oulton Park which showed promise for the season ahead, I was optimistic heading into the Snetterton weekend. A track that should in theory suit our car and is one I’ve enjoyed in the past when I raced there during the Ginetta Supercup last year. As practice got underway on the Saturday morning, the car balance felt good and we were ready for action with our times. Our used tyre pace was more competitive than our new tyre pace. Heading into qualifying, I was hoping that a top 6 or 7 position would leave Andrew and I in good stead for the races on Sunday.
As qualifying got underway, we looked oddly off pace during Andrew’s morning session and despite setting personal bests, he was only able to qualify in P12 for race 1. That concerned me as I knew Andrew was better than P12 in the amateur session. I was worried that our pace had died out and we would be uncompetitive suddenly. As it was my qualifying session next, I knew I had to give it my all and get as much time out of the car as possible. On my out-lap, I immediately realised an issue, between practice and qualifying the car had developed a differential problem and was just spinning the inside wheel through the faster corners losing a lot of exit speed and time. I pushed on through as the balance of the car was good, but my best lap was only good enough for P13 overall, despite being 2 tenths faster than 2018’s pole time. It was really deflating for us as a team to be so far down the order when our pace in testing and practice had been so competitive. However, points are only won in the races, so I’d just have to refocus and give it my all on Sunday.
The team changed the setup of the differential for both cars on Saturday evening, and during the Sunday warm up, the car felt much more driveable, so I was hoping that Andrew would be able to make up some time in his stint before handing over to me in the first race. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Immediately off the start, one of the Mustangs ahead of us had a disastrous start, pushing on his brakes instead of accelerating when the lights went out. This meant Andrew had nowhere to go and unfortunately contact was made, putting us out of the race before the first turn. The ‘Do Not Finish’ (DNF) didn’t bother me too much as it was only race 1 and it wasn’t Andrew’s fault. The biggest issue for me is that the entire front right corner of the car was considerably damaged and changing it in time for race 2 would be a tall order for the team. The team did an amazing job and got the car repaired in time, but only just! Because of the repairs, I was forced to start from the pitlane and that meant starting last. As the rest of the pack were on turn 1 of their first lap, I could finally set off in pursuit. For the first laps I was completely on the limit and it’s probably the most fun I’ve had in my 3 years of car racing. During the first 7 laps, I gained 7 places as I cut my way through the GT4 field. However, all that hard work came to nothing as at the start of lap 8, I was involved in an incident that resulted in me being spun into the wall, further damaging the car and ending my race on the spot.
From all the promise testing had shown and having to face a double-DNF at a track we should’ve been strong on was a real shock and severely disappointing for me as well as the Century Motorsport team.
The next round is to be held on 7th and 8th June at the prestigious Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit. It’s the Silverstone 500, the only 3-hour race in the calendar. I can’t wait to put our bad luck behind us and finally get some strong results on the board.
As always, thank you to all my sponsors, especially my main sponsor Cambridge & Counties Bank and the Classic Car Team.
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