PEUGEOT SPECIALIST & RACE TEAM

Croft (Darlington and District Motor Club) - Saturday 23rd - Sunday 24th April 2016.

Race Report by Carl Chambers

We were invited to do a race at Croft by David Cox who owns the sister 306 BTCC to mine, his wife helps run DDMC (Darlington and District Motor Club). Having never been to Croft I jumped at it but then looked at the map and saw how far away it was!
We were welcomed to the track by David and his wife Heather, they had saved us a nice spot right next to them and the club tent. They were very helpful and welcoming all weekend! David was using his other car a 205 GTi with an Mi16 engine and not his 306 BTCC that he normally runs in the CSCC Tin Tops.

Qualifying.
There was 37 cars on the grid and a big mix of cars, from a Ford Falcon, Marcos Mantis, Porsches and Caterhams. It was also strange to find out all the front running cars were on slicks! This is unusual because normally slicks and treaded tyre shod cars are never run together as the tyres react totally differently!
In qualifying I quickly found the track had very little markings and was quite bumpy, as well as very fast! It was also very hard to find a clear piece of track with so many cars out there.
We ended 27th overall with a time of 1:39.488 5th in class. David Cox was first in our class with a time of 1:36.990 so I had a bit of time to find. Though this is Davids home track so he knows it well! He was 14th overall.
A BMW M3 was on pole with a time of 1:29.127 so a full 10 seconds a lap faster than me! 2nd was a Holden Monaro and 3rd was a Seat Leon Supercopa.

Race 1

Just as we went round on the green flag lap it started to rain and hail! Just what I needed, but the front cars on slicks were going to really struggle!
As the lights went off I stalled the car! Something I have never done before and it took me a split second to realise what just happened and to get it started again. Luckly all behind missed me, but it was also quite lucky in a way that I did stall as all the cars that were near me on the grid had contact in the next few corners! So if I hadnt stalled I would have been caught up in it all!
After lap 1 and the cars all having problems I was back into 25th so gained 2 places from where I had started, and after being dead last after stalling!
Now it was time to get my head down, the rain had stopped but the track was still very damp. The faster cars on slicks were really struggling so time to pick them off! The Monaro was the first one I picked off, he was mega quick in a straight line but really slow in the corners! In the end I managed to force him into a mistake and he went really wide so I could get past! I was gaining on 2nd and 3rd place cars in my class, David Cox was well ahead in our class, so these 2 had to be my targets!
On the last lap I was right behind the Fiesta which was right behind the Clio. It was all going to come down to the last hairpin! I closed in for the move, just as I went to get the Fiesta into the hairpin, he decided to try and do the same thing to the Clio in front of him, totally unaware that I was there! Sadly contact was made and he was lucky to save his Fiesta from spinning. This mearnt we we both delayed so the Clio was free to claim 2nd in class. I finished 4th in class behind the Fiesta, and 19th overall.

Overall

1st Colin Simpson Marcos Mantis 5000, Fastest lap 1:30.251
2nd Bill Addison Caterham Superlight R400 2300, FL 1:31.003
3rd Micheal Cutt BMW M3 E36 3200, FL 1:35.595

Class C

1st David Cox Peugeot 205 GTi Mi16, FL 1:40.897 (14th overall)
2nd Simon Sheridan Renault Sport Clio 182, FL 1:42.309 (16th overall)
3rd Steven Craggs Ford Fiesta Zetec, FL 1:40.515 (18th overall)
4th Carl Chambers Peugeot 306 BTCC, FL 1:40.827 (19th overall)

Race 2

David Cox had kindly ran back to his workshop specially to get me a new headlight to replace my broken one from the contact with the Fiesta, not much other damage was done so we were ready to race again and looking good!
Rain clouds were still floating round but so far it was remaining dry!
The start went far better, but then got blocked in by the Corsa (2.0 16v redtop! ) in my class so both the Fiesta and Clio got back past me again.
The Corsa then picked up the pace and we both pasted the Clio and gave chase to the Fiesta of Steven Craggs. Next lap I managed to sneak past the Corsa and then Craggs Fiesta gave up the following lap breaking the throttle cable! David Cox was long gone once again!
The rest of the race was a battle holding off the very fast Corsa and it was his home track! He had more power than me, so had the legs on me in the straight but as long as I kept my line he could not pass! He drew alongside a few times but had to give in as I had the line! It was a great battle right to the end. We finished 21st overall and 2nd in class. The Corsa tried a last lap, hairpin move but lost 3rd gear so struggled across the line in the end.

Overall

1st Bill Addison Caterham Superlight R400 FL 1:28.544
2nd Paul Brydon BMW M3, FL 1:29.001
3rd Andrew Wilson Holden Monaro, FL 1:29.578

Class C

1st David Cox Peugeot 205 GTi Mi16, FL 1:37.208 (16th overall)
2nd Carl Chambers Peugeot 306 BTCC, FL 1:38.266 (21st overall)
3rd Steve Kirton Vauxhall Corsa GSi 2.0 16v Redtop, FL 1:37.427 (23rd overall)