Porsche Club Race Report Silverstone 15th May 2004
Car - 924 Carrera GT
Following on from the successes of Croft I was hoping for another good result at Silverstone. Testing had proved to be frustrating with the return of the dreaded refuelling problem. The times also showed that I didn't really seem to be able to get a suspension setup that worked well and there was some suspension noise going round Brooklands but that didn't seem to cause a problem. During the day I discovered that one of my jerry cans was full of rust and so every time I put fuel in the car I also put rust in......could this be the real source of my recurring problem ?
Dave Forrest and Chris Dyer from Strasse came down on the Friday night armed with replacement fuel system components which were fitted in advance of practice. Could I go out and set a decent time ?
We took to the circuit, however on my first entry to Brooklands under braking the steering wheel didn't want to move left. Pulling harder on it turned the steering and I limped back to the pits. The bonnet was thrown off and nothing could immediately be seen to be wrong except that the anti roll bar was at a very strange angle. We decided noting could be done there and returned to the paddock. It was identified that one of the engine mounting bolts had gone for a walk so jacks and spanners were thrown at the car for an intensive 8 minutes. I got back into the car and returned to the collecting area just in time to get one lap in. I was not slowest, and both Richard Harrison and Ragdan El-Akabi had been excluded for technical infringements. Still 19th gave me a lot of work to do.
On the row in front was David Fissenden in his 2.4E . I decided that I would try and get past him at the start, unlikely, but I actually succeeded. Marcus Holden in his 3.2 carrera got a good start and took up a position on the inside which prevented me taking any more places. I set the car up for Copse and carried way more speed through and passed him and Fraser Robertson on the exit, there was also some cars going off circuit on the outside. Chris Berry was my next target and I passed him down the National Straight after getting a good exit from Becketts.
I pushed the 2.7RS of Ragdan through Luffield and built the momentum to pass, but he moved over at Woodcote and with him being a novice driver I decided to give him room rather than risk a coming together as he probably simply didn't know where I was. This compromised me and Marcus Holden carried his speed through to pass me under braking for Copse. I was actually up to 6th in class, perhaps as good as I could have hoped for.
Not happy about this I became more determined and chased them both down the national Straight , closing through Luffield again. Marcus passed Ragdan under braking, forcing him wide which gave me the opportunity to close up again. At Becketts Holden made a mess of his braking and spun so I was able to harry him more and finally the pressure told at Luffield as I passed him.
The track in front was clear, but this was because I had lost so much time in this tussle. For the next 3 laps I tried to make some ground up but the Richard Harrison was beginning to string together some good laps and he passed me under braking for Copse. Braking at Copse was just not working for me that weekend for some reason, but I was happy to let him through as he should be in a quicker car and it was not a battle for position.
Another couple of laps later and I was caught by the class 2 car of Alvaro Crego. He simply powered past me down the straight, but this was a battle for position so I gave chase. He had been going well in testing and had obviously fallen off the track at the start. There was nothing I could do as the speed differential was huge. I could feel that the power was just dropping off and started to short shift the gears to save stress on the engine and keep the temperatures down. Two laps later Colin Ingram came through at the end of the straight. I was quicker through the bends and stayed with him for another couple of laps by which time Derek Gregory came through. I was really going backwards now.
The "good" news was that there was no one in class 2 left to pass me so I simply brought the car home for a 7th position finish, gaining one place due to the retirement of Mark Rogers. This was not going to strengthen my challenge for the championship.
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