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2013 Round 1 - Donington

posted 18 Apr 2013, 15:12 by Kieren McDonald
We made it to Donny and it was certainly down to the wire - poor Dave and Sam from 
www.trackroadandrace.com were a little worse for wear after zero sleep - but #88 was ready for what the East Midlands circuit had to offer. A few cosmetic bits remained to do but it was certainly worthy of showing its face and unleashing the new fresh look that had been kept under wraps.

It would be the 1st time car and driver would reconnect after the busy winter break (well after New Year to be precise), which was spent rebuilding #88. In fact, it was more like a fresh build - more details on that in my next blog. I am extremely happy with the work everyone has put into it - not just because of the great repair work and paint job, but the precision and thought process that has been applied to the build is clearly visible. I was now intrigued how it would act when put through its paces.

Quali crept up on us rather quickly - feeling shattered, no food or drink and my head was not in right frame of mind - late for quali and realised we hadn't yet adjusted the harnesses and to top it off lost my way in the paddock, forgetting where the assembly area was!!! Finally managed to get out onto the circuit to squeeze in only 5 laps. I returned feeling rather frustrated, as I really wasn't switched on. My lines were all over the place, braking far too early and under revving due to not having time to test the read outs on the digi dash. The car did feel a bit different but to be quite honest after such a long break, it was evident I just needed to get some laps under my belt and get my rhythm back.

Dave, Sam and Shaun cast an eye over the car, performing the usual checks - everything was looking good!! It was clear from the lack of fuel usage that I had just been out on a Sunday drive :-) A couple of tweaks with mirrors and dash, food and drink and a bit of time to collect my thoughts, this time I was ready to go out and have some fun! Having only qualified P16 out of 19, I had my sights set on climbing the field.

The tense moment sat on the grid, watching the red lights soon arrived - revs climbing all around.....and the lights are out and we're off. I had a pretty good start, managing to climb a couple of places as we headed down for Redgate. I opted to take to the outside, forgetting how long a corner it was and just about keeping at bay from the dirt.

Luckily I managed to keep my position so focused on a clean sweep down through the legendary Craner Curves behind the se7en s class of Proctor. I resisted lifting and late braked down the inside into the Old Hairpin, exiting behind Burrows. Foot down and starting the incline towards McLean's, I decided to dive down the inside before then climbing the hill for the tricky Coppice. De Silva was in sight, as were a large pack head of him, encouraged by this I pushed on.

I really was struggling with a couple of corners, mainly that of Redgate - I don't think I got that right even once! Managing to draw into De Silva, I managed to benefit from his mistake through the Chicane. Next target for me was Baker.

No matter how much I pushed I just couldn't seem to significantly close the gap - continually making mistakes. I must have cooked my tyres and brakes from over doing corners, no doubt as a result of wrong lines/braking. I just seemed to go backwards and my lap timings showed exactly that - as of lap 5 my times were way off.

I crossed the line, pleased to see the chequer flag in P9 - looking back, an extremely good end to the day, following a rather stressful lead up to the event.

Plenty of positives from our outing at Donny - got back out there after a long break with no testing, tested the 
many new bits with the build, climbed the field after a disappointing quali, and best off - nothing fell off - a real testament to the high standard of work by www.trackroadandrace.com.

The car will now have a quick check over and possibly a couple of slight changes following its 1st outing.

Big thanks to our supporters and sponsors:

Thanks also to www.mbracephotography.co.uk, Nick and Rain for some fantastic photographs. Plus of course none of this would be possible without the continuing support of my family.

Next up, Rockingham May 21st-22nd for rounds 2&3 of the Dunlop Mini Se7en Challenge supported by Mini Sport. Hopefully see you all there!


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