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Donington Park Race Report – August ’14

If we were to pick a track on the calendar that we all enjoy, it’s Donington Park and leading up to the weekend, we were quite excited about it. This time out, it would be Ryan and myself (Dave) driving and after the good showing we had at Anglesey, we were feeling confident. As it’s a midlands based race, we’re not all that far away…. So, an early start and we were up at the track ready and raring to go.IMG_3694 The car sailed through scrutineering and qualifying was soon upon us. Ryan went out first and struggled to get any clear laps. With 36 cars on the grid, it was always going to be difficult to find space on track. I took the car from him halfway through the session, coming straight out behind a few cars. I dropped off a little and tried to find some space. I managed to put in a clean lap, it wasn’t perfect, but it was quick enough to put us 12th on the grid just 1 place ahead of our keen rivals in the no.40 black Clio. I was actually on another quicker lap….but pushed a little bit hard and went off at McLeans collecting a bit of gravel on the way. No harm done. Here’s a little snippet of my qualifying runs.

 

Post qualifying was surprisingly relaxing and we took time to socialise with a number of friends and family that had shown up to see us race. We took some time once again to practice our super slick pit stops and were feeling well prepared. We were called to the assembly area reasonably early, so we fired up the engine and did our final checks.

 

As Ryan pulled in to the assembly area he noticed the battery voltage was a little low….the alternator wasn’t charging! Rob popped the bonnet, wiggled some wires and tried to see if we could get it charging again. No luck. We just had to send Ryan out, hoping that the higher RPM seen on the track would trigger the alternator to charge again. After a timid start, Ryan got round the first corner without any incident. However, going down through Craner curves, dust got in his eyes. In his vain attempt to close the driver vent, he knocked the fuel pump switch! The car went backwards through the field and we were soon down to around 25th.

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After flicking the switch back on, Ryan soon got back up to speed, making up a few places before coming back round for the completion of his first lap. A few laps later, he had made up a few more spaces but the alternator was still not charging. From the pit wall we could start to hear it misfiring and the pace of the car was dropping off as the battery voltage fell. By lap 6, the car was almost un-driveable and Ryan had no choice but to return the car to the pits before it stopped out on track when the battery would inevitably run flat. Totally gutted.

 

A bit of a disappointing end to a race we were really looking forward. We can’t sulk for too long though, so we have to fix the problems and look forward to the next race at Oulton Park.

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