Snetterton Race Report - 26th/27th September 2009 ..........
The final weekend of the Dunlop Sport Maxx Production Cup was a real roller coaster ride and a mixture of highs and lows for Adrian and the team right from the off.
Saturday morning saw a cloudy, cool but dry Snetterton Circuit, ideal weather for turbocharged cars! Adrian took the car into qualifying with 36kgs of success ballast being carried from finishing 2nd at the final round at Croft and once qualifying had begun Adrian needed just three flying laps to post the pole position qualifying time of 1:19.364 and he came back into the pits at the end of lap four so as to rest the car and components for the race. Simon Shaw on his final qualifying lap came within 0.007 of the pole time and took second, Leyton Clarke grabbed third just 0.3 secs back.
The first race on Saturday afternoon was much warmer than qualifying, as the sun had been out for the latter part of the morning and into the afternoon. Starting from pole Adrian was out dragged off the start line by the Leon of Simon Shaw, due to its additional traction from the OE LSD, something which the Astra is not allowed to run, and so Adrian settled in behind in second and set about catching Shaw. In the process he set fastest lap in the car on lap four of 1:20.091.
Lap six, Adrian had caught and passed Shaw for the lead which he held until lap 9. Bad luck then hit Adrian as lack of drive, later diagnosed to a driveshaft/cv joint failure put the car out of the running and out of the race on lap 10. Those raised kerbs at Snetterton are vicious. The one consolation was a point for fastest lap, but that’s motor racing.
Once the car had been recovered back to the paddock area, and was stripped down, the offending cv/driveshaft assembly was replaced and the car was prepared for Sunday
Sunday morning was bright, warm and dry. Putting the disappointment aside of Saturday’s race Adrian had to start from the back of the grid for race 2 so had some work to do. As a help, due to the non finish the 36kgs of ballast had been removed and with a fastest lap from race 1, we knew the car was going to be quick!
Carving his way through the field, Adrian came from 17th off the grid to 8th by the end of the first lap, out dragging Allison’s car down the Senna straight on lap 3 for 5th place and then set about catching the front runners, again setting fastest lap of 1:19.355 in the process, which was also a Sport Maxx lap record.
Sadly on lap 6, a racing incident with James Corte at the end of the Revett straight saw damage to the RH wing, front suspension bottom arm, track rod end and KW damper assembly, Adrian limped the car back to the pit lane but sadly out of the race. We still held onto fastest lap, so gained a point but now had some work to do before the final race of the day.
Tim C set about pulling the bent wishbone and steering rack end of the car, whilst spares were organised with help from friends in the paddock, thank you it was much appreciated. A big thank you too, to Richard and the guys at KW whose support was first class. They stripped down the front strut so it could be welded and then rebuilt it following the shunt for ready for Race 3. Once everything was back together, checked and double checked (well done Tim), tracking and camber were given a final check and adjustment. Finally some new rubber went onto the front from where the tyres were flat spotted during the race 2 incident.
Adrian started race 3, again with no ballast and from the back of the grid in 18th. By the end of lap 1 he had managed to climb to 6th, just ahead of Martin Wallbank. The next 2 laps saw hi up to 3rd place having cleared both Leyton Clarke and James Corte. He passed Allison on Lap 5, whose car had a suspected hub failure and crashed out at Russell Bend hitting the wall and coming to a halt near the pit lane entrance.
The Safety Car was called out whilst cars were removed and once racing was back on again Adrian chased down race leader Simon Shaw and took the lead going into Riches on the final lap. With everything crossed Adrian held it together to take a very well deserved win, along with yet another fastest lap.
Despite some unfortunate luck in 2 of the races, success came at the end of the day with a win from the back of the grid, plus pole for race 1 and fastest lap in every race, and a new lap record.