This weekend just gone saw round 2 off the winter off road series held at the great Maritime raceway club in the Chatham Docks.
Saturday was practice day. Being my first time out with the all new 22 3.0 I spent pretty much the day getting to grips with the new car and dialling in a set up for the following day. With a few changes from the set up that Chris and Ellis had sorted at the previous round, which was adding the brass front pivot block, dropping the rear toe to 2.5 degrees and raising the rear inner ink position through the very innovative camber block insert. . The car was dialled and ready to go for the following day. Id like to add the amazing job TLR have done with this new car. The stability and corner speed the car has is superb and gave me great confidence going into the following days meeting.
Practice came Saturday morning and i decided to try the softer off the 2 tyres from schumacher in the pin range. With just this change I found the softer tyre unsettling the car a the back section off the track. I decided to switch back to the harder tyre for round 1.
Being brave, I opted for a brand new set off the harder tyre. To add, brand new tyres in the harder form take fair bit more running in than the softer and i banked on being able to get the edge off in the warm up but it didn't happen andIi struggled through to a 15th in round due to having very little grip on the wood sections till the last minute or so when the tyres finally bedded in.
Round 2 :-
I decided to go back to the softer tyre, for safety more than anything to just be able to get a round in. Getting off to a good start from the back i managed to take the lead on the stagger, only to make a small error getting up on 2 wheels, it was tenths, but it dropped me down the order, but then on the very last lap, the leaders all made errors, with me also getting some hot laps in i took TQ for the round and FTD for the day.
Round 3 :-
I decided to run some scrubbed tyres in of the harder compound again as they just seemed more stable and consistent, I also went up on the rear spring and moved the battery slightly back from the furthest forward position. to see if i could make the rear of the car a little more stable to suit my fairly aggressive style of driving. The car reacted superbly to these changes, allowing me to get hard on it at any point on the track. I made a couple errors during this round, pushing hard for the TQ i came away with a 2nd in round meaning i was sitting top of the pile going into the final round.
Round 4 :-
I left the car as it was, felling I just learn the car more on track, The car was awesome fro the off but i made a strange error on a section off the track that I hadn't made an error on all weekend, just being caught out by the ripple section. Jumping back on the pace hard with the car just allowing me to push it as hard as I wanted, I managed to get back up too 3rd and with a 4th person taking a TQ but not beating my round 2 time I would line up on pole position for the main. Great achievement for the new 22 3.0 on its first run out!
With the changes made before round 3 I decided to go back to the softer tyre, believing that I wouldn't have to worry about being caught out on the lower grip sections.
As the buzzer went off I couldn't have possibly made a better start, pulling out over a second gap in the firs couple turns. Keeping 2nd place at an arm lengths back, I started to loose a front tyre with 3 minutes still to go. with the car becoming difficult to drive, I began to struggle to keep the chasing pack away. But with a little luck and hard driving making sure i made no errors i managed to hold onto to the win!
A great result for myself, being the first win that I have taken at the Off Road Wars meetings, then to do it with the awesome 22 3.0 made it even sweeter.