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Test Session (Friday)
The car completed 13 laps during the test session, which proved a valuable learning experience for Gary. The first time running on the Pirelli tyres with the new wider Rays wheels, on a circuit the car had not competed at before. The car showed good pace and the potential for a top 10 position in qualifying, Consistent lap times around the 1 minute 59 second mark, with his best time being a 1.59.21.
Gary’s session was cut short after out braking himself into an uphill chicane smashing the bottom of the front splitter heavily on the kerbs.
Feedback from Gary was positive and he was pleased with his pace and that of the car, however knew there was more time in him and the car for tomorrows qualifying session. Repairs were made to the front splitter overnight and the decision was made to run the active centre differential in qualifying to try to reduce some of the understeer Gary had experienced.
Qualifying was another dry session and all signs of the rain over night had disappeared. There were a number of red flag incidents at the start, however Gary managed to carve away more time from his best lap time, eventually getting down to a 1.56.67 . Using the active centre differential had worked to cure the understeer and had a dramatic effect on the braking, meaning that Gary could push harder and cut nearly two and a half seconds off his previous best lap time!
Race 1 (Saturday)
Starting on row 3 in 6th position he held his position during the first lap. Whilst fighting for 3rd place the throttle stuck, the Tolman Motorsport team managed to sort the throttle issue and he re-joined the race at the back of the field with a lot of work to do to get back to the front! He did well to regain several places; however the car then began to suffer from an intermittent electrical fault. The fault caused the ECU to power down cutting the engine instantly. Gary managed to reset the power and continue to race however this was a recurring fault that affected the whole of Race1 . Gary continued to fight for a position, passing Clio cup cars one after another, diving around the BMW Z4, and then suddenly losing power only to be passed losing the position he had gained. Later on the issue caused Gary to make contact with the Seat Copra Cup car of Lee Allen and he was hit on the right rear corner. Three laps from the end whilst passing another car Gary launched over the kurbs into the gravel trap, tearing the rear diffuser and breaking the bumper off. Looking slightly worse for wear the car finished the race 15th of the 27 cars that had entered. Despite the problems Gary and the car showed great pace which meant that he and the car were capable of a top 4 finish.
Post-race repairs went on late into the night, the rear diffuser was scrapped having been dragged behind the car for the final 2 laps of the race. The rear panel behind the bumper had been torn off and a rear wheel bearing had begun to fail. Most importantly we had to find the cause of the electrical fault which had robbed Gary of his potential top 4 finish. The team worked tirelessly and finally traced the issue to a broken wire in the throttle position sensor.
With repairs completed Gary and the team were confident of a good result in the final race of the weekend. Gary had hoped for rain as being the only 4WD car in the class we would have been a definite advantage, it wasn’t to be as the sun broke through for another scorching hot day.
Following the rolling start Gary was up into the top 10 in the opening laps, and part of a close fought battle behind the P7 BMW 3 Series of Philippe Bonneel.
Sadly on lap 8 Gary was forced to pull over and retire the Evo9 due to a mechanical failure of the rear differential, sadly a result of the heavy impact sustained during Race 1. His best lap of the race was a 1.58.40 which meant that the car had a potential for a top 10 finish. On par with the BMW E46 M3 Seat Leon Supercopa’s the car showed a lot of potential.