A rather wet Brands!

The fourth round of the Michelin Clio Cup was all about the weather...

29/06/2016


 

The test day on Friday went well, although Sarah's car had some braking issues towards the end of the day.  The guys at Westbourne Motorsport changed a few things and hoped the issues had been resolved in readiness for the weekend ahead.

Saturday morning was dry and bright.  Getting a clear lap was always going to be an issue  on the small Brands Hatch Indy circuit and, unfortunately, the brake issues (which unbeknown to Sarah were going to plague her for the rest of the weekend) were still in evidence so she had to settle for P4 on the grid for both races.

 

Race One on Saturday afternoon was interesting!  It started dry.  Sarah got an amazing start and up to P2 by the first corner.  She held this for several laps but her brakes were locking more and more as the race progressed meaning Fabby and Hirst got by.  Then the rain began to fall, extremely heavily extremely quickly and, with the race cars being on slicks, the clerk of the course red flagged the race and everyone dived into the pits to have their tyres changed for part two of the race. 

 

Part 2 and the cars were sent out in what felt like monsoon conditions. Sarah went out on the green flag lap but had problems with the car steaming up so dived into the pits to get that sorted and start from the pit lane.  As she got back onto the circuit and one lap down, the race was again red flagged as it was deemed simply to be too dangerous to continue.

 

A decision was then made to run part 2 of the race at the end of the day (time permitting) and, sure enough, this was started at about 6 p.m. - and still very wet!  Sarah got an okay start but remained in P4 until Hirst threw it off at Paddock, gifting her P3.   With a very slippery and wet track, survival was the key and keeping it on the black stuff which Sarah did for the rest of the shortened race giving her P3.  

 

"That was the strangest race ever", said Sarah after. "There was a double rainbow as you drove towards Paddock Hill but then thunder and lightening as you came through Surtees!  The car usually handles beautifully in the wet but with the brake issues, I was struggling all  the way through that one so I'm glad to have finished on the podium." 

 

Race Two was on Sunday and, again, no one quite knew what the weather would bring. As it turned out, in between the showers, it was dry and sunny.  Sarah got a great start and up to P3 but the brake issues persisted and as she went into Paddock Hill, the brakes not only locked up but pulled to the right causing an extremely sideways moment and off circuit excursion.  This allowed Hirst to get by.  Sarah got the car back on track and pushed it as much as she dared having many, many moments along the way to bring it home in P4.

 

"The car was almost impossible to drive in that race," commented Sarah.  "I couldn't put any real pressure on the brakes without them locking up and pulling to the right.  It's really frustrating.  The guys at Westbourne, especially Bill and Tom, have worked so hard and we've tried lots of different things but we still have the problem.  We've now got to get to the bottom of the issue, get it fixed and move on to the next weekend and hope for better luck."

"I want to particualrly thank the marshals for their hard work this weekend.  This would not have been fun for them and they did their usual brilliant job in very difficult conditions.  Thanks also as usual to my fabulous team, Westbourne Motorsport, all of my teammates in the Clio Cup and JSCC and, of course, my ever faithful and supportive sponsors, Campbell Nutrition, The Mobile Garage People, Flexpress, Aspire Financial and Csb Internet." 

The next round is at Croft on the 23rd/24th July. 

Photos courtesy of Phil Laughton Photography & Zoe Lelliott

 

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2019 Race Calendar

  • March 30/31: Silverstone / Clio Cup / Rounds 1 & 2
  • May 11/12: Brands Hatch / Clio Cup / Rounds 3 & 4
  • July 5/7: Zandvoort / Clio Cup / Rounds 5 & 6
  • August 10/11: Snetterton /Clio Cup/Rounds 7 & 8
  • August 24: Donington /Clio Cup / Rounds 9 & 10
  • Sept 21/22: Croft / Clio Cup / Rounds 11 & 12
  • Oct 26: Oulton Park /Clio Cup/Rounds 13 & 14

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