It was back to Wetherfield but this time with the Micra for a stage rally. This would be the first stage rally of the year, and my first time driving the Micra on tarmac since the end of last year.
The entries in our class (A) was very strong with a number of high powered 1400 cars so we were in for a battle in our road rally spec car. The weather was glorious sunshine all day, although this did make it rather hot both in the car and for the tyres. The stage were all about 10 miles long, and made use of most of the airfield. This gave a great mix of twisty stuff in the bomb dump and really high speed flowing stuff. The twisty stuff really suited the Micra, and although we lacked ultimate power the flowing nature of the high speed parts meant it was a real challenge to keep the momentum and carry speed through the high speed parts. It was a great challenge dealing with the back end of the car stepping out round a corner when you are flat in 5th!
During the morning we built up our nice lead for our position of 4th in class, however a change of front tyres was required and the next set where nowhere near as good as the previous ones. So over the lunch break I went with a split tyre strategy to try and give better grip and confidence in high speed turn in. We went into stage 5 really needing to make back some time, as we couldn’t afford to lose as much time as we had in stage 4. We had a full-on charge in stage 5 with nothing left to give anywhere. Thankfully this worked and we started to increase the time between between us and 5th in class (another Micra). You can see on this stage below we were just a few seconds of the pace of a C2R2 Max, equal with a Fiesta R200 and faster than many other cars like M3’s and an Impreza!
By the end of the day we finished up 4th in class (as best as we could have expected really) and 23rd overall. Our overall position shows us much higher than many other more high powered cars, which is pleasing and shows just how competitive the 1400 class is.