The build up to this event had mostly been about travelling around the UK and Europe for work. The ZR was ready before the event, but with all the prep work and work and travel flu had hit, so I arrived at the event all rather tired and not in the best position before the event.
One new thing for this event is after 20 years of rallying, we now have our our trailer. We use of a work pool car to tow with, we can now tow to events. This does mean a bit more pre & post event work, but does mean there are less concerns about how to get a broken rally car home.
We hadn’t done an event at Bramley, the only previous targa rally was run in snow so no real guide to how this event would work out. It was clear from the first test that grip would be at a real premium with the surface being tarmac and broken concrete mostly covered with mud/leaves/slime.
The first few tests went ok, but I didn’t feel on the pace and the car didn’t feel that great with very little grip and the handbrake wasn’t useful either. Then out of the blue just after a slight compression on a long straight the back end of the car stepped out. This then put the car into a tank slapper from which I couldn’t save the car from ending up in a ditch. We were very lucky that although we lost an indicator, damaged a headlight, and dented the bonnet we were able to carry on. Though I did need to use a ratchet strap to bend the cooling fan away from the radiator.
Although we were able to carry on, we ended up with a test maximum and this ruined any chance of a good result.
After the event, I did find a few things with the car. The front tyres although they had enough tread were very hard. It seems the 40min session at Silverstone for the Pomeroy trophy overheated the front tyres, and this removed all the cold temperature rubber compound. I have also found that the handbrake although it would hold the car, wasn’t working on one side which made the other side less effective as well.
Hopefully for the next targa where we will be using some List 1B tyres and a working handbrake we can be back to setting more competitive times.