1) GT150 2)Overall
|1) 2nd, 2)21st
Picture courtesy of Marc Lawrence Track Attack Media Photographer
Oulton Park was to be the first run of the latest addition to the Prize Motorsport Arrive and Drive fleet.
As a Cost vs Performance exercise, Alec had requested that apart from the MSA safety requirements, the performance modifications would be limited to braided brake flexi lines, EBC yellow brake pads, aftermarket lowered/uprated springs (on stock legs) and track tyres.
As a total unknown we decided to do the afternoon test session on the Friday, the car ran well and by late afternoon we were only a few seconds off the Mk1 lap record, despite the springs being a tad too soft.
Qualifying went well, despite being a couple of seconds down from my testing PB, I was happy we would claw it back in the race. Starting 21st overall and 3rd in GT150 class.
Off the start I nearly managed to avoid Paul Lawrie who had been spun around, just taking a little love tap to the back quarter.
I conceded a place into Britons chicane, but managed to take it back at the end of the first lap when a Mk1 spinning across the track at Deers Lead caused a little bedlum.
I was then chasing Paul Calloway, our class leader, he was pulling away bit by bit, at the same time I had Jon Lord in the Celica never too far behind me. I was thrown a bit of a lifeline when the Colonel got crossed up into Knickerbrook and wrong footed Paul allowing me to gain time on them, the downside is this also backed me up a bit to Jon's benefit.
Couple of laps later, Paul having a run at the Colonel into Lodge slowed them both and allowed me a good run up onto the S/F straight. I managed to get by Paul but not the Colonel.
Paul was not giving up the class lead that easily and was looking for every possible gap.
My next lucky break was the Colonel deciding to throw it off the track again allowed both of us by.
With no cars visible ahead and a few cars in my "Truli Train" I had to keep my elbows out until the end of the race.
Finished 16th overall and 1st in class.
On the green flag lap I had noticed Jon Lord in the GT150 class Celica dropping back and then retiring, lap1 we were to find out why…
Off the line, stayed with the pack again, cautiously. Dan Blake looked to run wide at the first turn and was sliding back toward me, a swift change of direction avoided a difficult conversation with Alec later!
Knowing there were some quicker cars behind that had fallen off in R1, I was ready to be defensive, but not at the risk of contact.
As we approached Knickerbrook for the first time, the pack was catching a Honda, up clay hill he looked to go defensive so I went round the outside, seeing the slippery surface flags and a dark line where I was already committed to go, the car stepped out a little but I was clear of the Honda to get off the, what later transpired to be oil.
I managed to keep my Trulli Train going for a bit longer, into Driuds the Colonel put his nose in, but I was over cautious if he was on the oil and about to slide into me, making the pass even easier for him.
I was then passed at Shell on the outside by 117 (Steve Wright ?), nice clean move.
Paul Calloway spotting my gap at Druids came through, clean pass, no drama.
I then had Paul Lawrie chomping at getting past, side by side we went from Shell, through Brittons chicane, Hilltop and down into Knickerbrook. Though I was able to retain my place, the defending allowed Paul Calloway to romp off into the distance.
With my elbows well out I was able to maintain the Trulli Train to the chequered flag.
Alec did what he set out to do with this car, build a basic spec car, with very minimal modifications, but is able to hold its own mid-pack. With some mild tweaking to the springs, filter and exhaust it will be a very competitive car.
Even in its basic trim, it was great fun to drive and I thank Alec for giving me the opportunity to drive. Despite the roll and bounce it was predictable and did not feel that it was trying to kill me, you really should try one !!