Early Saturday morning at Donington Park was dry and bright and looked ideal for a day’s racing for the AMOC Intermarque. Reports from people arriving at the circuit from the west seemed to indicate that thunder storms were coming our way, which they eventually did about an hour before qualifying. The rain stopped well before qualifying and the circuit looked to be drying at a similar rate to Oulton Park a few weeks earlier.
How wrong I was. The circuit didn’t look too wet but it was very slippery, and qualifying was a case of keeping it on the track and try to learn where the grip was. The times in the session were all over the place, with some cars electing (correctly) to use wet weather tyres, others (like myself) were struggling on dry’s. We qualified 15th, with our main championship rivals much further up the grid.
With a lot of ground to make up during the race we needed to be on the correct tyres, and an hour or more of torrential rain around lunch time made that decision an easy one, we went with wets.
We have never used proper wet weather tyres before so the first few laps of the race would be a step into the unknown, as we had no idea how much grip would be available, we also had to guess on pressures and suspension setup.
The lights stayed red for a very long time making the pack very bunched and moving very slowly. This allowed us to use the 911’s greatest asset, traction (with the engine hanging over the rear wheels grip off the start is brilliant). With others struggling to put their power down the 911 squatted down and took off. Making up about 5 or 6 places by the first corner. Then we had a tentative first couple of laps, I think it was down to having to build up tyre temp slower than normal as it was so wet and simply not knowing how much to push them.
We had made up several positions during the first half of the race, but our championship rivals were a long way up the road still. Around half way through the safety car came out and we took this opportunity to pit. We got a bit lucky here, as other cars had to be held at the end of the pits and a group of cars got stuck behind a slow moving car on track and didn’t catch the safety car up.
After the safety car we weren’t far behind our championship rivals, with Porsche team member Steve Atkinson and Wayne Marrs in his Ferrari 355 just ahead. Trouble with traffic and a lapped Aston Martin getting in the way meant we couldn’t move any further up the order. We eventually brought the car home 6th overall and 2nd in class.
The tittle battle is getting closer, with 3.35 points covering the top 4 cars, with Wayne Marrs on 94.6, Tim Mogridge on 93.5, Steve Atkinson on 92.5 and we are on 91.25. More importantly Porsche is still in the lead of the team championship.
We should have a full gallery live before the end of the week, so check back.