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Round 5: Snetterton - 10th October 2010

After a long 3 month wait, the final round of Time Attack 2010 had at last arrived. Sitting second in the championship with such strong competition I knew that I had to give it everything to be in with a chance of getting 1st place. The car was still working after Cadwell Park, so apart from a service and a long overdue clean it was kept in the garage untouched and unused. I did not want to risk breaking anything before Snetterton.

After a week of sleepless nights, an 11 hour drive down to Norwich and a trackday to re-learn the circuit, the last race of the year was upon us.

Straight away I felt completely out of practice with the car - three months is the longest time I have gone without driving it. The fact that I was a bag of nerves probably didn't help matters! I was braking too early and going round the corners much slower than I knew I could. In the warm up session my gearbox started crunching (again!) going into 4th and 5th gear and I told myself to take it easy for the first two sessions of the day so that it would hold out for the qualifying and the final where the crucial points could be earned. I finished the session in 4th place, behind Walter Morris, Scott Robson and Warren Kelly. Not fast enough, but I still had more to come!

Things didn't go much better in the practice session. I kept missing gears, crunching when I did manage to get it in gear, the brakes weren't feeling great and my tyres were barely lasting one hot lap! Luckily I had convinced Adam to whip his newer brake pads out of his Impreza to take down as spares for me. I was tempted to take the whole car as a spare but that just seemed a bit excessive! The new pads were fitted and brakes bled for the qualifying session and I switched to my slightly newer tyres which would hopefully last a bit longer. I was still sitting 4th in my class so I knew that now was the time to pick up the pace.

Out in the qualifying I could feel an improvement in the brakes and I was starting to build confidence in my braking points. The tyres were only marginally better though, despite being brand new at the last round. I seemed to convert to Adam's driving style...crazy, off the track in the mud and pretty much all over the place! I was struggling to pull together one clean lap - the nerves were definitely getting to me. To stay in with a shot of the top spot I needed to beat Scott. Half way through the session I noticed Scott's car pulled in at one of the Marshall's posts on the circuit with Scott standing watching everyone going by. I cannot imagine the frustration he must have been going through. I got into the pits at the end of the 15 minutes and was told that his engine had given up the ghost (possibly). I then found out that Walter was possibly out too because of engine failure. I had finished 2nd in my group, with only Warren Kelly ahead of me. 4 crucial points in the bag. The car problems seemed to be contagious though, and I soon found out (despite my pit crew trying to keep it a secret from me) that my car had decided not to start up! Doh! All the wiring was checked, coil packs were inspected, the plugs were sparking but 3 of the brand new week old plugs had cracked down the ceramic body. Thankfully Marcus Webster came to the rescue with 6 new HKS 9s which seemed to solve the problem and get the car going again. Phew!

The time for the final came and I was still a nervous wreck! I knew there was something not quite right with the car and with so many cars breaking over the course of the day I knew that nothing was safe. I was recommended to do one steady fast lap to get the championship in the bag just in case something broke or turned into Adam again and took it off the track! I'm not very good at taking it easy, but I could see that it was the sensible thing to do. After my 'safe' lap I stayed out having some fun chasing Warren's winning time. It wasn't to be though and I finished in 2nd place on the day. I think I would have been coming home with a wrecked car trying to beat Scott if he had been in the final.

My 2nd place earned me enough points to take the Club Challenge 4WD 2010 championship. I am over the moon with the result, and glad I can now sleep at night again!

A big thanks to everyone that has helped out with the car over the year:

  • Wallace Performance for looking after the car and me when I've been at the rounds on my own!
  • Russ Paton (now left Wallace Performance) for mapping the car, and for tweaks and advice at many of the rounds
  • RB Motorsport for building an engine that has lasted longer than any of my previous ones!
  • All my other sponsors for their help along the way - DDM Engineering, Motorwerks, Opie Oils, Clark Motorsport and TrackScotland
  • Kev, Simmie and Mic for helping get the car started again in time for the final session of the day
  • Colin Telfer (Scott's mechanic) for helping with hose fittings to fix a fuel leak
  • Marcus Webster for the spark plugs
  • Dan Comber (motorsport management student) for his help in the pits at Brands Hatch
  • Warren Kelly for giving me 'momentum'
  • Marco 'Sparco' Haig for the ice-cream at roasty-toasty Brands
  • John Stewart (Flat Out Photography) and Rich Sams for all their great shots at each round
  • The Time Attack organisers for another great year and for my jumbo trophy!
  • All my competitors, for making it so bloomin' stressful, but exciting at the same time!

Fee - Club Class #7


Media Coverage....

Official Time Attack Website - click here

Turbo Dynamics Press Release - click here

Evening Express Article - click here


Press play or click on pic to open larger version

Final: Fastest lap with data overlay




Pictures.... click on thumbnails for full size images


Thanks to Rich Sams and John Stewart for the pictures.


Sector Times....