For our visit to Oulton park, we were to have an early start, with qualifying starting not long after 9am. There had been a light frost through the night and off the racing line, it was particularly greasy. Both Rob and Ryan were finding the conditions extremely challenging and both struggled to find a groove. Ryan even had a couple of off track excursions, one of which was on the exit of the fast downhill left of Cascades. Fortunately, there is a long run off across the infield, but Ryan still managed to find a massive hump in the grass. He hit this at speed, launching the car like he was on Dukes of Hazard.
No harm was done to the car our quickest lap would see us sit 13th on the grid, 5th in Class B! This was a bit off the pace of the other Clios, particularly Tom Mensley who was already under the 2 minute mark.
Rob would start the race this time out and despite playing bumper cars for the majority of the first lap, a strong first stint would see us sitting in 8th after the pitstops. By this time, the track was beginning to gain a lot more grip and with it, renewed confidence. Ryan was really starting to pick up the pace in the last few laps.
A great pass around the outside of the hairpin on one of the other Clios with only 4 laps to go, followed with a great battle with Carl Chambers in the 306 meant a very exciting end to the race for both Ryan and the rest of the team on the pit wall. The onboard makes for great viewing, especially the last 5 minutes!
Carl was determined not to let him through and fortunately for him, the flag dropped and we would roll over the line in 7th place, only 0.2seconds behind. After a time penalty is applied to the number 5 Focus, we would place in 6th place overall, 2nd in Class B. Ryan was even able to put a sub 2 minute lap in right near the end.
Tom Mensley in the rival Clio was a long way up the road and despite his 30 second success penalty nearly took another overall victory; he was 2nd by only 6.5 seconds! We still have more work to do to compete more closely with Tom, let’s see how we fair next time out at Brands Hatch.