05th April 2010 – AAA Saloons – Castle Combe

After two seasons in Time Attack of which I finished 3rd overall in Club Pro 2009, I thought it was time for a jump into proper door-to-door racing. After hearing last year about the possible forming of a new All Wheel Drive championship taking place across some of the country’s best circuits, I was immediately excited with the prospect.Once the championship was made public, I immediately informed the organisers of my interest and signed up.
Jonathans Car 1 Over the Winter months, the Evo hasn’t changed much, as the progression to proper motor racing was always on my mind when specifying the parts and materials which went into this build.We have only added an ‘Accusump’ oil accumulator system to ensure the engine is always in supply of oil.There will however be further developments on the Evo throughout the season.
QualifyingAfter having no time in the morning to fit my slicks, I went out for the Qualifying session with my Toyo R888’s used in Time Attack last season.  Once out on track I spent the first couple of laps familiarising myself with the circuit before setting off for a quick lap.
I had completed a fast lap and was onto an even better one when I saw some clouds of blue smoke emit from my bonnet, followed by fluid over the left side of the windscreen. I decided to bring the car straight in to the pits to view the damage.Oil had been pushed out of the catch tank by the newly fitted ‘Accusump’ system through the two filters and over the engine. Luckily no damage had occurred but there would be no time left for me to rejoin the session.

Jonathan's Car on Track 1
Jonathan’s Car on Track 1
However, I was quite pleased with my lap time of 1:16.399, which was good enough for 9th on the grid for the first race.

Race One

Slicks fitted, pressures checked, filled with fuel, drained the oil catch tank, we were now ready for the first race of the AAA Saloons. Sitting in the paddock area by the Avon footbridge, I was thinking of how to drive the race and ensure tyres are warmed up enough by the end of the formation lap for the rolling start. Then we were called to the grid and soon enough out on the circuit to warm up the tyres.Since this was my first ever time on slicks I tried to follow everybody’s example to warm them up. Once the Safety Car had peeled into the pits we got in 2×2 formation and when the lights went out it was go, go, go! Not knowing when the cars in front were going to accelerate away from this rolling start, I was too slow to react when they did and was overtaken going in to ‘Quarry Corner’ but I immediately took the place back on ‘Farm Straight’ heading down to ‘The Esses’. It was there where I found the limits of cold slicks and span coming out of the chicane. Luckily I managed to keep it on the tarmac and away from other cars.

Jonathan's carr on Track 2
Jonathan’s car on Track 2
So, rejoining at the back, I had loads to do so I decided to use this as a practice session and a chance to learn the abilities of the slicks. After only a few laps of though, I had lost boost and I was to enter the pits.Nothing was immediately apparent so decided not to run in the race any further until we could determine the problem.
After inspections of the engine and turbo in the paddock area, the problem was diagnosed as a split silicone hose to the turbo. This was soon replaced and all was well for race two.

Pipe Repairs

Pipe Repairs

Race 2

Due to my DNF in the previous race I was on the back row of the grid for race two. There were also a few spaces on the grid where some competitors were unable to repair their cars after the first race.

Away we went out on the formation lap, warming up the tyres without being too excessive. This time, we had made some adjustments to the suspension to help gain tyre temperature quicker. As we reached Camp Corner for the rolling start, everyone was eager to go. The lights went out and away we went, this time I got away better but still with room for improvement.

Knowing Gary Prebble had the experience and finely tuned Evo to mix it up at the front, I let him through before the first corner. I could then pace myself and concentrate on my own race.

Within a few laps i’d already passed a few of the Class B competitors and the retired ‘Bogey’ of Simon Norris on lap 4 at Quarry, Everything seemed to be going well and my confidence & ability was improving constantly.

Jonathans Car on Track Race 2

Jonathans Car on Track Race 2

Jonathan between two class B cars

Jonathan between two class B cars

I could tell that my lap times were falling though I knew I had no chance of catching up with the front runners, I still pushed on. Lucky I did as I caught up with Laurie Kilby who was running in 3rd position with a broken gearbox. As I closed up to the rear of his car for an overtake just before the ‘Camp Corner’, his gearbox/transfer box shattered, spraying shards of metal at my car which was hard to avoid. At this time I was unsure what position I was in and still pushed on.

It was only a few laps later when the Evo X of Steven Liquorish crashed following a previous collision with Ajec’s Guy Higgs for the lead of Class B had damaged the car. As I passed the wreckage under yellow flag conditions, the chequered flag was shown. Only when I entered the pits after the cool down lap did I know I had achieved 3rd position. It certainly took a while to take it all in. I certainly didn’t expect a podium position is my first ever race day.

Podium - 1st Garry Prebble, 2nd Nick Williamson and 3rd Jonathan Faull - All Owen Developments Drivers!

Podium - 1st Garry Prebble, 2nd Nick Williamson and 3rd Jonathan Faull - All Owen Developments Drivers!

Jonathan - Prize Giving

Jonathan - Prize Giving

Trophy on Jonathans bonnet!

Trophy on Jonathans bonnet!

I am now very looking forward to the next round at Silverstone in five weeks time which I have gained valuable experience from past Time Attack seasons.

I look forward to seeing you there on Saturday 8th May 2010!

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