The Club's First Racer! - Part 6 - Mallory Park
Mark reports from his penultimate race of the season at Mallory Park....
After an average run at Croft, and missing the last race at Snetterton I was looking to put in a good performance at Mallory on the 30th September. Mallory is a short and fast circuit with a huge high speed bend, so I wasn’t sure how the car would go there, especially as I had never driven there nor would I get the chance until qualifying. Something I said I’d never do after I tried this method at Pembrey! YouTube video training was all I could do, but at least it’s a short circuit.
I’d made some changes to the car by removing the headlights to reduce weight, fitted a fresher set of tyres and also the new Kaaz 1/5 way differential. Testing the car at Rockingham a couple of weeks prior went well and the car was feeling very good.
On the day of qualifying, the weather stayed dry and the car felt very fast indeed. The tyres and diff were working very well and felt like I had got some good times in. The lap time papers got handed round and I found myself in 5th, which was very pleasing as the only production car in front of me was by 0.001 seconds. The top 3 cars were the super tuner class cars, but the first place car was only 1 second off my time. So all quite positive! I’d also got an inside line grid position which I wanted, given the first turn into Gerrards is a right hander. Hopefully the RWD advantage would work off the line…
The S2KUK support continued, with Simonix, Whaninoz and Tommy2000 turning up to support – thanks chaps!
I sat on the line and couldn’t spot the start lights, which fortunately stayed on red for a while before I noticed them! I was looking for a flag start – oops. Fortunately I got a very good start and got into 4th position, and close to 3rd. After a couple of laps I slipped concentration and let a Civic type R (Rob Williams) pass me up the inside, but he then pulled a gap so I doubt I could have fended him off for a full race. So that was 1st in class spot lost and I wanted to hang onto 2nd. Behind me was another Civic type R of Mark Chese and I was fending him off nicely until I couldn’t find 3rd gear coming out the hairpin. After a couple of attempts it went in but Mark has closed the gap and got past me. All from a small error. I kep the gap for the rest of the race but couldn’t close Mark down, and crossed the line in 3rd class place, 6th overall. Not bad but certainly not as good as it could have been!
For this race I was on the left side and a place back from Race 1. I got another great start up the left, but was being squeezed towards the grass by Rob Williams and felt I had to back out of it. Sadly this lost me a few positions as cars on the inside got past through Gerrards. This was a problem as my target cars of Mark Chese and Rob Williams were getting away, while I got caught up behind the Accord Type R of Phil Wright, and 2 DC2s very close behind me. Mallory is very hard to overtake so I had to get aggressive. After several laps having a really hard (and fun!) battle to get past, I had a big oversteer coming out of the hairpin which allowed Stuart King to close up and pass me. It’s quite hard defending and attacking at the same time and the defensive line is not the fastest one in a RWD car! Rich Chilton in the red DC2 was also up my back end now and I needed to really focus to get back in front. Eventually I got past Stuart after taking an unusually wide line into the hairpin and outdragging him down the straight. I then caught Phil who ran wide before the hairpin and spat a huge rick into my window, which cracked very badly. You have to put that to one side, and tried the same wide move on him twice until it stuck and got the advantage braking into Gerrards. Now in clear space, I dropped 1 second per lap and left a big gap behind, but the Civic of Mark Chese was just too far ahead to catch by this point. I crossed the line in 3rd class position again, and 6th overall.
While I wanted better than 3rd, I was really pleased with how I’d managed to get past the pack I was in, as it could have been a very different (worse!) result. It’s not an easy circuit to pass on, and to get past with no contact was very hard. It shows the importance of qualifying and getting a good start on these tight circuits. The car is also performing really well now and I’ve got used to how it drives after all the adjustments.
The video says it all and worth watching to the end!
Next up is the final race at Donington on the 20th and 21st October.
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