QMN and Euro Saloon Championships at Snetterton

It was a busy Sunday for Holden Racing UK at Snetterton Race Circuit as we had entered two different championships!

QMN Qualifying was up first and was to start on a try track. Alex was quick to set a fast lap, which was good enough to get him into 2nd place for the first race. We cut the QMN qualifying short as straight after this session we were straight out for qualifying with the Euro Saloons.
Towards the end of the QMN qualifying rain started to fall but it wasn’t wet enough for full wets, which meant a change to intermediates for the Euro Saloons Qualifying.  After 7 laps we pulled Alex in as the times were not getting any quicker but this proved to be the wrong thing to do as the track conditions improved as did the other drivers times which left us in 6th place.
The lead up to race 1 brought some heavy rain and as the race was approaching it was starting to dry up and looking like slicks would be the best bet. We hung on as late as we could before committing and decided slicks was the only choice.  On went the fronts but when it came to the rear, the left nut just was jammed on and there wasn’t enough time to try and free it. This left us no choice but to run inters on the rear and the slicks on the front.
The race got under way and Alex was chasing Dale Gent in his powerful Impreza but only 9 minutes into the race, it was red flagged due to an accident further down the field.
After approx 15-20 minutes of sitting on the grid it was time to restart the race but the Holden was refusing to fire up. The marshals called us up to try and get the car going but it was a previous starter motor issue rearing its ugly head (after the car has got hot and then been left to sit the starter motor jams until it has cooled). After a short while and a little help from a tow vehicle we bump started the car and got it going. The officials were kind enough to allow us to continue with the restart. Due to the time it took to repair the damaged tyre wall and get us going again there would only be just over 5 minutes worth of racing left.
Alex was quickly on the rear of Gent’s Subaru and each lap was looking more and more like he could take the lead. On the final drag to the flag Alex looked like he was going to take the lead but Dale just nabbed the win by 30 thousands of second! Unfortunately due to the red flag period our camera’s battery died and there is no footage of how close the end of the race was.
Our second race of the day (Euro Saloons Race 1) was meant to be an hour after our first race but due to the delay in the QMN race this was shorted and with the car stuck in Parc Ferme and then scrutineering the next race was soon upon us.
A quick dash back to our garage and we set to trying to get the rear wheels of, we eventually managed it but was too late to make the grid for the start. This meant starting from the pit lane, Alex fired out the pits and took chase but could only fight his way up to fourth as the pin lane start had allowed the leaders to pull out too much of a gap.
The third race (QMN Saloons Race 2) was set to start at 16:30 giving us a bit more time to get the car prepared. During this time the rain really began to fall and didn’t seem like it was going to let up. Not long before the start it was beginning to show signs of drying up but was still not dry enough for slicks. Not knowing how wet the back half of the circuit was we took the safe option and opted for wets, as per the rest of the field.
Alex was starting where he finished race 1 in second place which is where he stayed until the chequered flag as the 4wd of Gent’s Subaru was far better suited to the conditions.
 In hindsight inters would have been the better choice as conditions improved through the race.
As soon as we finished the race it was time for our fourth and final race of the day (Euro Saloons Race 2). We literally drove down the pit lane, straight back up to the collection area and out on to the circuit.
Due to our last race being directly after the previous one there was no time to switch to slicks, which was the to be the tyre of choice.
The track was mostly dry by now and there was less and less standing water to dive into to cool the over heating wets. With all of the grid on wets bar the Suzuki of Wayne Schofield, it was really a fight to see whose tyres could hold on the longest. If only we had stuck those inters on before the previous race but it was too late for what if’s.
As the race went on the Holden’s wet weather tyres were causing more and more grip issues as the tread blocks started to turn to jelly, which meant any kind of progression up the field was impossible. With the car becoming more and more of a handful Alex fought the car across the line in 4th place, with Wayne finishing first due to his slick tyre gamble.
It was a busy, hectic day but with a good collection of silverware!
Next up is our favourite circuit Brands Hatch GP with the QMN Saloons.
Thanks to Rafal Biniszewski / www.fastandfocus.com for the images.

Posted: Jul 16, 2014 Return