Thursday, 7 June 2012

Race day – 2nd June

Race Two
The track had dried by now and Marcus was looking forward to improving on his 7th place finish.  Starting from 8th he got away ok and managed to avoid contact at Old Hall, where a few cars were brushing against each other, and was into 7th out of Cascades.  Again he had Paul Follett ahead, who made it anything but easy to pass.  This allowed Chris Dyer to close up behind, so much so he decided not to bother using his brakes into Cascades and used Marcus’ rear bumper to slow down instead – you could perhaps give him the benefit of the doubt for a small rub but the double tap shown by Marcus’ rear-facing camera showed that Dyer didn’t even lift off the throttle!  Luckily it didn’t hamper Marcus’ progress and instead sent Dyer off on to the grass at the exit.  At the end of the lap Marcus found a way past Follett into Lodge and was up to 6th.  He continued in this position, with lap times on a par with the 911’s of Mark McAleer and Mark Proctor in 4th & 5th, but unable to close the gap.  Further down the order Lee Atkins had a big off at Cascades, which brought out white flags from Old Hall and Marcus found himself with the unique experience of passing a blue-lighted BMW X5 Medical Car during a race as it exited the pit-lane!  Shortly after the Safety Car boards were out as Atkins accident was dealt with and with not long to go it looked like the race may finish behind it.  The marshals worked quickly though, allowing a last lap sprint to the finish line.  Pete Morris was in the lead and made a very canny re-start, making the most of his powerful 996 by backing the lead pack up with a lift off the throttle just before the start/finish line, catching everyone out and allowing him to then blast away.  Having much less power than the 993 of Mark Proctor ahead left Marcus at a disadvantage and unable to profit from the re-start, so it was head down to complete the lap cleanly and not give any opportunity to Dyer, who’d had chance to close back up.  As a plan that was fine, until Pete Morris spun onto the grass at Knickerbrook, causing Mark Proctor to slow a little and Marcus had to do the same to avoid his rear end.  This allowed Dyer a better exit and he just got his nose alongside Marcus’ rear on the inside on the approach to Druids.  Rather than taking his normal turn in (risking an accident, which whilst it would have been Dyer’s fault, could still have put him in the gravel), Marcus turned later and wider but without having slowed enough this sent the car into a huge sideways slide.  He used all his skill to avoid a spin and keep the car on the track and the thought crossed his mind that although not a quick way to go around, he was in fact blocking the whole track with his dramatic drifting stunt!  Immediately afterwards though Dyer went past down the inside and with just one bend to go there was no time to take back the place before the chequered flag fell so in half a lap Marcus had gone from 5th to 4th and back down to 5th again!  Still, with a lap time within a second of the race winner and the car in one piece it wasn’t a bad result and the Hartech team (who had worked hard all weekend, even doing an express clutch replacement on Ben’s car between races) were full of congratulations.  Ben started 12th but had an issue with a loose wheelarch liner, forcing him to pit mid-race leaving him crossing the line 23rd but with another un-damaged car.

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