When you come in from the first stage, and people are telling you there are flames coming from your brakes you get that feeling that it could be a tough and long day…
We knew that with another very strong entry that a repeat of our success at Brands Hatch was unlikely. The stages at Snetterton were longer and faster than at Brands Hatch with a lot of heavy braking from a high speed, making power and braking a premium.
Stages 1 & 2 didn’t seem to flow that well for me, I think it took a bit of time to adapt to high speed circuit rallying. The excitement at the end of stage one was due to a rubber boot getting a bit too hot, luckily no real damage was done though and a quick rebuild of the slider bolts and we were off again.
Stages 3 & 4 were much more like it, we ended up mixing in with more cars, which lead to more overtaking and we got a better feel for the stage layouts and I got a better feeling in the car. At lunch we were 6th in class and 57th overall, it was still all quite tight in the class battle. But the cars with more power were clearly taking the lead. Those Vauxhall 1400 engines can be made to go very well…
Stage 5 added a new dimension to the event, with a new stage layout using some of the in-field roads, and some of these were pure gravel roads. This came as a bit of a surprise on a circuit tarmac stage rally! It did though mean I got to use the handbrake and engage in a bit of drifting 😉
Stage 6 is where it all got interesting, midway through the stage we ended up losing the brakes. The brake pads broke down on the OSF, and this lead to the caliper piston coming out and dumping brake fluid onto the hot disc which created lots of smoke! Luckily we were able to get to the end of the stage dropping about 40-50’s and avoiding anything solid with just the handbrake to slow us down.
Thankfully the service time was longer after stage 6 to allow for stage change arounds. This gave us time to get the offending item off the car, after a lot of work by many people in the service area, we were able to re-build the caliper and get back out on the stages. Many many thanks to all that helped out.
The last two stages were completed at a slightly slower pace to allow the new pads to bed in and as we had nothing to chase results wise. Luckily for us the time lost on stage 6 didn’t alter where we finished in class, though it did loose us a few positions overall. In the end we finished 5th in class and 51st overall.
Here is the on-board from SS5