A weekend of racing as part of the Mini Festival Snetterton laid ahead of us, and after a positive days testing we were aiming to improve and close the gap to the pack in the AM Class.
Qualifying saw bright sunny skies and summer temperatures! In a change to qualifying compared to Round 1, this weekend had seperate sessions for the Open Class Cooper S cars and ourselves in the Pro/AM Cooper Classes. This eased the pressure a lot making it easier to put together a decent lap time or two. After 15 minutes our qualifying was complete and P7 would be my grid slot for the first race of the weekend.
In true British style the afternoon saw a huge change of weather as black skies rolled over Snetterton and brought with them a heavy downfall of rain. By the time Race 1 was upon us, while the rainfall had stopped the track itself was an awkward mix of drying, damp and greasy. Coming from a rallying background I was strangely looking forward to the prospect of the slippery surface, albeit with a healthy mix of nerves for good measure. A good start off the line saw an opportunity around the outside of the hair pin at turn 2 and a position gained, throughout the rest of the race as the track dried out and despite a moment or two, P6 would be the position retained which in turn meant taking P6 on the grid for the second race of the weekend in the morning.
For the first time this season our racing covered two days giving us two more opportunities out on track on Sunday. Race 2 in the morning gave us dry but cool conditions, and with heavy rainfall overnight the run off areas were sodden meaning they were best avoided at all costs. After a red flag on the first lap of the race, a restart was lined up. Unfortunately nerves took over here and missing second gear repeatedly off the line meant the pack pulled away on the restart, seeing a drop down to P7 and an insurmountable gap meant this would be the finishing position.
Our final time out on circuit for Race 3 began from P7 on the grid, after the start of race 2 the aim was to get a clean run off the line and aim to stick with the pack. Thankfully this went well, and for the first time this season the pack only began to pull away during the later stages of the race. With the extra race over the weekend it felt like a few things began to click together and we climbed to P5 and our best finish of the year so far!
Huge thanks to Chris Snowdon for all your instruction and help before the race weekend.
Thank you to Owen, Dan, Albert and Lewis from Chichester College and Kevin, Josh and Phil from Sussex Road and Race.
Thank you to Keith for your advice throughout the weekend.
And Chewitt Racing thank you so much for your hospitality over the weekend, it feels great to be a part of such a friendly paddock!
Round 3 takes us to Silverstone’s National circuit, confidence is building with each time out in the car and while I know there’s still a lot to learn, I’m up for it and can’t wait to get back out there! By Elspeth Rodgers