After a successful test/race at Silverstone a couple of weeks earlier we went to Rockingham with a fair degree of confidence, the car was running well, and the driver reasonably dialed in. We arrived at the circuit on the Friday night and unloaded and set up the pit garage ready for the Saturday Morning.
For some reason Rockingham never seems to be the best organised meeting and this proved no exception, with the noise tests causing chaos with cars being directed from all angles and seemingly taking forever. but we eventually all made it into the holding area, with the exception of one Speed 6 engined car that failed the test and had a mad scramble to sort something out to get out later. Whilst waiting in the queue to get in the holding area I didn’t think the engine was idling quite right, it sounded as if it had a slight manifold blow, but nothing was obvious and it seemed to clear with more revs.
When the circuit opened and we all headed out I ended up as one of the last cars out on to the circuit, so after a slow lap trying to get past traffic I aborted a lap and did a slow run through the pit lane to make some space on the circuit. This worked perfectly with not a car in sight when I left the pit lane and powered onto the circuit, to do a hard lap and get the tyres back up to temp. As I came into Piff Paff there was a car qualifying out of session perched up on the high kerbs so the yellow flags compromised that lap, and halfway around the next lap the red flag came out so they could remove him.
Not a great start as we hadn’t even managed a flying lap yet !
Still this time I lined up on the front of the Pit lane first out onto the circuit, so when the lights went green I headed out on to the circuit first. I managed the out lap and one clear lap before another car going off into the gravel brought out a final red flag and ended the session. Somehow in that one lap I’d managed to put the Tuscan on Class B pole by almost a second and 7th on the overall grid. not too shaby given the state of last years tyres still on the car.
I still wasn’t quite happy with the engine, and it had been spitting back a little on the overrun, so the team pulled the spark plugs and did a compression test. The results made un happy reading. number 4 cylinder had a spark plug showing signs of running lean and was well down on compression. Whilst the engine was running the risks of a major failure were too high and we had to withdraw the car there and then.
Not the result we were looking for first round and 2 dns ( did not start) results with zero point on the board. with the competitiveness of the series that leaves us trailing by 44 points with no chance of making them up even if we were to win all the remaining rounds. especially as we cant make one round due to work commitments.
Still that does release us to do other races outside the championship if something looks good. The plan now is to strip the engine to find the problem and depending on how major we will either get the Tuscan back out or concentrate on the Tasmin for the rest of the season.