Mini Se7en Update – Snetterton
Well it is round 7 and 8 that brings us to the Norfolk circuit of Snetterton. This is a new and longer version of the popular Snetterton 200 (2 miles) track and goes by the catchy name of Snetterton 300 (3 miles)…..simple hey! With none of the minis to have raced there as yet, there were going to be a lot of unknowns, mainly gearing and how the tyres will react due to the 18 minute race and 3 long flat-out right handers, Corum being the longest of the 3. Driving up on Friday evening, we encountered flash floods, and with the weather looking like it was not going to improve until Sunday, it looked like another wet meeting this year. Fortunately we had lovely sun all weekend so at least tyre choice was not an issue, allowing us to run drys all weekend.
This is the first run out for Adam’s car since Rob at Selby Engineering had worked his magic on the engine, curing a problematic oil leak and rescuing 10% horsepower.
As we headed out on to a sunny track, it was a case of learning the new track. Fortunately Leon had a days testing on the new track so he could give some pointers on the new infield section. The initial laps were quite busy with traffic, but with Adam getting used to more power and a different set up, it was not a huge problem. After a couple of laps it was either push and pass the slower cars or back off and find some space. Leon chose the overtaking option where as Adam backed off for some clean laps. Adam managed one flying lap with no hold ups before car 44 seemed to lose power just starting his 5th lap. So that was the end of the session for 44. Leon managed to get some clean laps together and putting his information from testing to good use. Leon managed to qualify 8th for both races where as Adam managed 11th and 10th. So all in all a good showing from both drivers. Adams problem was found out to be the carb not having a good seal in to the inlet manifold.
Again the weather was kind to us with the sun shining brightly on the last race of the day. With the sun slowly setting it was time to wait for the red lights to go out and for the race to begin. Leon made a good start from the outside of the grid where as Adams great start was cut short, being blocked in on the inside of turn 1 with nowhere to go. Leon was leading the mid pack for the first half of the race where Adam was still learning his way around and watching what was happening for a couple of laps before attacking the cars in front. With Leon still leading the pack of 5 cars, Adam was making his move on the cars in front every lap managing to claim another position.
With the rest of AL Motorsport cheering them on, the two team mates were about to have their first real battle of the 2012 season. Both drivers now clear of the chasing pack, battle royal was about to commence. Adam was slowly catching over the next couple of laps with Leon making some small errors as his mirrors get filled with the Silver Emtome/Mini Sport car. Finally Adam got a great drive from Murray’s, the final corner on to the up-hill start finish line…. Drafting Leon down the straight with only inches between the two cars Adam pulls out of the slipstream and makes his move. Leon still covering the inside line in to the first corner, Adam has to go the long way around the out side… two cars entered… and two headed for the hair pin with Adam now in front.
Next on the hit list was Steve Baker who was having a great race, but try as Adam might the gap only reduced a small amount and laps were running out. Leon was now several car lengths behind but keeping a constant gap to Adam.
As the race came to a close both cars crossed the line in 7th and 8th Adam making up 4 places and Leon holding his great qualifying position. We later found out that we were not on the optimum gearing for the new track so were losing time down the long straights of Snetterton… something to remember for next season!
Sunday lunchtime brought us to round 8 of the championship, again with blue skies and no sign of rain for the first time this year! Both AL Motorsport cars lined up on the grid with Leon in 8th and Adam right behind in 10th. With the 5 second board going up and the engine notes rising, red lights on…..waiting …..waiting and they are off! Adam made an amazing start catapulting from 10th to 6th by the first corner splitting Leon and Nathan Burge. Then attempting an outside manoeuvre on Ashley Davies at the hairpin. With Ashley in Adams blind spot he did not was to pull across in front and get a possible DNF, meaning Adam would have to go kerb bound and in the process, unbeknown to Adam, it snapped the anti roll bar link… That in its self is not hard but it hooked on the inner boot lining and caused the front left to fully compress. Now making a squealing pig sound on right handers and a lot of understeer Adam took is easy as he did not know what was wrong. This let all the cars he overtook back past, one of them being team mate Leon who was recovering well from a poor start.
With Adam dropping back AL Motorsports hopes were left with Leon who made some great progress and under a lot of pressure from Steve Baker. Unfortunately for Baker he blew his engine big time down Bentley Straight which lessened the pressure for Leon and gaining a valuable place for Adam…. Who just about avoided the oil slick whilst trying to hang on to Proctor and Keat. With the race ending with a great 7th for Leon and 10th for Adam all in all not a bad weekend for the whole team with both drivers getting back on the pace in their respective races.
But….. It does not end there…..due to a technical infringement with Proctors car, Adam was promoted to 9th. With James Coulson not finishing one race and Tristen Knight not racing this helps Leon retain his 4th in the championship and with 2 race finishes brings Adam closer to the top 10. Things are starting to look good for both drivers.
Come see us at the next meeting at Thruxton on the 17/18 of August….things are heating up!