Nuerburgring 15-17 May 2009
Over the winter I bought and re-built myself a van Diemen RF88. I hoped this would improve my chances in the championship. I already had found during test at Zandvoort that the car handled a good deal easier than the RF82. Now it was the proof of the pudding to see whether the car was actually faster than the RF82.
The weekend was divided into three days of racing. Friday in the morning there was the possibility to have a check during free practice. Free here doesn’t mean gratis. A cool hundred euro for half an hour of track time is not free by any standard. That is why in contrary to my original plan I only booked one session out of two. The session went well although I didn’t like the brakes and there was a moment in the session that I was down on power. Another surprise was the use of the GP-chicane instead of the ‘normal’chicane. The first time I got to it I remembered people telling me I always braked to early here, so I braked a little later and found I had to turn earlier into a titer corner. As it was only the out lap I survived and in the process found that I indeed had always braked too early. After the problems with my power output were resolved I did a 1:24.2 which was not great by any standard but it was a start. Furthermore I still had some ultra-long silly Zandvoort gears in the shifter.
The qualifying was hopeless. I again experienced the problem with the power output and after three laps I found some speed on the start-finish straight, but I could not find any brakes at the end. After a few try’s I could lock the front wheels and could keep the car out of the gravel trap. A hairy moment!! Apparently my rear wheel was on fire as the marshals jumped forward with the extinguishers and gave my car it second taste of powder – the first one was at a little fire in my garage the week before. I had no time as I had forgotten to install the transponder. That made the embarrassment even greater although the lap times I did were probably not worth mentioning.
Returning after my little mishap
The rear brake had ceased as the friction material had gone. The steel on steel created that much heat that the alu-piston was morphed on the pad.
After a necessary cleaning of the distribution by Nick and Dan leant me brake caliper I would try again in the only session that day. I had installed new used brake pads on the rear which would normally be good for qualifying and the race on my old car but here I wasn’t sure on this car.
Anyway the session got underway and first two laps were good, but then the power problem re-occurred. It toke me two laps to get rid of the problem and then I found the power and a little bit of speed. I was still a little bit comprehensive about the brakes and all the problems nibbled at my concentration. So my best lap was a meager 2:26.5. Some 6 sec off the pace in this session.
After the practice I found that the pads at the rear were again badly worn. I wanted to replace the pad with new one’s and I found that I could push back the pistons in the caliper. This pointed to a problem with the master cylinder. This wouldn’t release the pressure and the brakes stayed on explaining the outrages wear and the power problem. Of course the engine wouldn’t pull when the brakes were on. So I could start the race with a lot more confidence.
Sunday (Race day)
If ever a plan works at the start of a race this wasn’t the day for it. I was way back on the grid and I thought I could get a few places at the start and thus try to catch up and hang on to my adversaries in the B-class. This went all pear-shaped as the lights went off. Everybody drove away from me at the start. I could make up something at the first corner and could pass Stephen Collyer. On the run inside the Mercedes complex I was re-passed by Stephen – superchubby - not somebody who would normally catch me on acceleration. In the rest of the lap I managed to re-pass him. Then on the start-finish straight I was passed by Alan Williamson, who now has a Reynard FF87 which is fast in a straight line but my new car is also supposed to be quick. I even was passed by the brick - Crossle 32F - of Stuart Dix.
First corner in the race - photo: Joke van Dijk
I realized that the new brake pads I had installed were dragging. I knew they were when I went out on the track but I had guessed the warm-up lap would suffice to get rid of the extra material. Wrong guess!
Chaising Stuart and Nils - photo: Joke van Dijk
Next lap I could keep up with Alan on the start-finish straight and lined up to overtake at the end. I had to brake extra hard as the yellow flag was shown here. I then overtook Alan at the end of the complex. Next victim was Stuart on that same lap. Nils Leuber was the next one I had to pass which I did on the next lap. It toke me two laps to close the gap on James Hagan who I passed in the hairpin. I still had a good view on the first group especially when you came down to the chicane.
Now there was a considerable gap to the next man, Roel Mulder. I could see him in the distance battleling with a two-liter. It was obviously holding him up but everytime he passed it he was re-passed. After five laps I caught Roel and passed him. In the chicane I put my car hard between the corner and the two-liter. I was not going to hassle with it as I wanted to see whether I could get nearer to Chris Whitingham who was the next one in class in front of me. Paul McMorran was in between us and they still quite far ahead. I closed the gap a little bit, but the next lap I almost lost it at the first corner, so I concentrated on finishing. I ended like this 6th overall in 1600 and 5th in the B-class.
|1||Tony Walsh||Reynard FF 88||B||14||33:22.073||2:20.851|
|2||Chris Stones||van Diemen RF 88||B||14||33:22.532||2:20.806||-0.459|
|3||Rebecca Dean||Reynard FF 88||B||14||33.24.710||2:20.322||-2.637|
|4||Chris Whittingham||Reynard FF 88||B||13||31:13.463||2:21.723||-1 lap|
|5||Paul McMorran||Crossle 25 F||C||13||31:14.077||2:21.449||-0.614|
|6||Ed Waalewijn||van Diemen RF 88||B||13||31:22.419||2:21.948||-8.342|
|7||Roel Mulder||PRS RH02||C||13||31:23.548||2:21.928||-1.129|
|8||James Hagan||Crossle 32 F||C||13||31:27.493||2:22.285||-3.945|
|9||Stuart Dix||Crossle 32 F||C||13||31:53.565||2:24.995||-26.072|
|10||Alan Williamson||Reynard FF 87||B||13||31:59.127||2:51.511||-5.562|
|11||Paul Hubbard||Merlyn Mk20||C||13||32:50.402||2:28.831||-51.275|
|12||Povl Barfod||Titan Mk6||C||12||32:40.973||2:29.714||- 2 laps|
|13||Giovanni Romagnoli||Nomad 78||C||12||33.10.275||2:35.658||-29.302|
|Nils Leuber||Vaney 71/2||C||- 8 laps|
|Steven Collyer||Dulon MP17||C||- 11 laps|
|Matthew Dean||Reynard FF88||B||- 12 laps|
|Alan Crocker||Cheetah Ray 74||C||-3.442|
|Hanno Hess||van Diemen RF 88||B||-13 laps|
|Thomas Warken||Reynard SF84||A||14||31:07.438||2:11.114|