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Veidec Festival - Mantorp Park

5.301 et @ 277.09 mph NEW TRACK RECORDS – NUFF SAID

Well not really, Mantorp Park was a real turning point for us in this years championship points race.  So far this year we have just concentrated on tuning the car, reducing damage and increasing reliability and the car likes it because along the way we have picked up better performance!

Friday – First qualifying session, this time unlike Finland we are determined to get a full pass in on the first qualifier then at least we can tune the car on the data from it.  So we went to the line having made adjustments to the engine from what we had learned in Finland, and low and behold instant success, 5.34 et @ 265.36 get us back to our Santa Pod performance. Because we are No.1 by a good margin, we opt to take our time servicing the car to carefully check on some of the modifications we have made since Finland even though this risks missing the second qualifier.  A decision justified by still being No.1 after the second round of qualifying.

Saturday – After our careful check the day before, everything looked good.  A few adjustments were made after reviewing the data from yesterday and we line up for our second qualifier in session three, 5.312 et @ 269.31 mph.  A good run, better than yesterday, first half of a new European record speed  keeps us at No.1 in qualifying.  So we return to the pit and decide to do as we did yesterday and take a good careful look at everything and miss the last qualifying session.  We are still No.1 after the last qualifying session so the field is set for race day tomorrow.

Sunday – For the first time in 18 months I had to attend the start line interviews for No.1 qualifiers! that felt good, not just for me but for the whole crew, the sponsors Silverline and PlayStation who kept the faith and stuck with us and especially David who puts in so much effort alongside me to make this happen.  Interview over and back in the pit the crew have warmed up the car in my absence.  Now a comedy of errors, a sequence of events starts that conspires to make us look like a “three ring circus”.  First we have a problem getting the last spark plug to screw in the engine (the thread was repaired the day before as a precaution!!).  There is no time to fix anything so eventually we force it in and tighten it up and cross our fingers.  Nobody knows if it is ok or not.

We are now late as we elected to be the first pair (No.1 qualifier gets to chose first or last pair), when we get to the start are we realise that we have left the warm up tank behind which we need to start the car, so Jim gets despatched to get it on our pit bike, courtesy of 1st Line Motorcycles.  That panic over we start the engine and as I move forward to the water box I get stopped by David, the door in the body which allows access to the data logger has been left open so he fixed that, then after our burn out as we hurry as much as we can to stage the car, oops driver error!  I fail to set some of the controls correctly!!  Luckily for us Esko in the other lane smokes his tyres instantly and although we have a slower time than previously, 5.68 et @ 261 mph we get the win light.  We all definitely “ducked a bullet” that time.  I can’t remember ever getting into a sequence of events like this since I first started racing, but I guess a similar situation has to get everybody sooner or later, at least we’ve had ours now!

Second round – no real damage from the first round win, but we change the cylinder head with the bad spark plug thread and make some more adjustments from the run data.  This time we face Krister who has run better and better this year and we also know that in order to improve our points score we have to win this round as we are currently second and Krister is third 1 point behind. Well it comes down to the tune ups again.  As Krister has lane choice he puts us in the right lane which so far we haven’t run in this weekend but we have to rely on the track crews to make the lanes as even as possible.  So we stick with the tune up we have from the other lane.  At some point in the run Krister starts to smoke his tyres, meanwhile I know we are on a good run.  Sure enough the win light comes on in our lane and we are in the final and when the crew arrive to tow me back and tell me the time and speed I can hardly take it in. 5.301 et @ 277.09 mph, when we started the year the records were 5.42 et @ 264 mph and we held them both, we have now lowered the et by 0.12 and increased the speed by 12 mph!! but that’s not important right now, we have a final to run against the championship leader.  So we head back to the pit to ready the car, everything is ok but at 4.30 when we get the call to go to the staging lanes the first sprinkles of rain start to fall, and despite clearing a number of times the track crews valiant  efforts to dry the track are finally thwarted at 9.15. the racing was abandoned and the final we so looked forward to was not to be.

Now we are back in England we have checked the car over and have some more changes to make because although our reliability was quite good at Mantorp Park it could be better, and I have one week before I leave for Germany, so I have to stop writing and “crack on”.   

See you in Hockenheim.
Dave Wilson