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Silverstone Report

posted 27 Mar 2011, 14:58 by Kieren McDonald
Not quite the start to the season I expected....

Please visit the 2011 Gallery page here and click on the Silverstone Pics link to see all pictures from the Saturday...hopefully you will find some of yourself there too :-)  Thanks to Lorraine for taking the pics! 

An early start to Friday took us to Silverstone to set up and do our nut and bolt check and a few other items.  Big thanks to Leon & Adam who lent us their ballast for the weekend to save us having to rush that job!  Friday afternoon saw me taking to the circuit for the 1st time to try out the car...and what a great time I was having!! There were a couple of red flags due to other cars spinning out but I managed to cover around 5-6 laps of the new GP circuit - it is huge...next time I shall take the sat nav :-)

Upon restarting the 2nd time after a red flag from the pit lane, the car wouldn't start but Simon & John soon got me going with a jump start.  The car felt great and all gauges looked good but then I lost the ability to rev the car so had to limp back into the pits and put an end to the session.

With some help from Ralph (thanks very much) there appeared to be an issue with the alternator, as the battery was not receiving any charge.  By this time, I was out of the 2nd session so no more testing for me that day!  Dick Hunter kindly arrived and helped Simon fit a new alternator, which appeared to correct the battery charging issue.  It was thought this was more than likely why I could not rev the car too.  Simon also found an oil leak so rectified that too.

We charged the battery overnight and headed back the next day for quite a hectic day - consisting of changing a headlight (thanks to Kane Astin!), nut & bolt check, scrutineering and drivers briefing.  We past scrutineering - just had to tape up the holes in the rear window and stick tow arrows to the rear bumper - ready for qualifying!! I must admit, I was feeling pretty tense!

I was quite overwhelmed with the support and number of people that came to support - thanks to all :-)

As I lined up for qualifying, there was a sound check and then off we went.  Immediately, the car did not feel good - same symptoms as the previous day - I could not rev it! Then the inevitable happened a few corners in, a huge cloud of white smoke and then I spun (presumably on my own oil!)...luckily I started at the back of the pack and there was a large run-off area so no panel damage!  The marshalls did a great job in pushing me out of harms way, where I awaited the recovery truck - gutted, gutted, gutted!!

After being towed back to the paddock, many kind faces lent a helping hand and uncovered the truth of what had happened...it didn't look pretty, as you can see in the picture!

The piston had pretty much disintegrated and left a couple of large holes - the other in the gearbox casing...game over and no race for me!  I was so shocked and really could not believe my luck (still can't), especially after everything else that has happened lately (oh, and did I mention the gear shift cable on my Porsche had detached too!!!).

I really must send out a big thank you to my team, mainly Simon and also Dick Hunter and Terry Barringer for lending a hand to diagnose the engine problem.  They took out the engine there and then so will be heading to Rob Selby for a rebuild and hopefully will be ready for some serious testing before Snetterton!!

Congrats to everyone who successfully got out on track - the results from Round 1 can be seen here.

Hope to see you all at Snetterton....