The build up to the event was really quite busy, as the Micra has undergone a lot of work in the last few months. The last event in the Micra saw us retire with clutch issues. This turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg….
In the end a lot more work was done during the months between Wethersfield and Rockingham. See the car spec page for more details.
In the last couple of days in the lead up to the event it was clear that snow would feature at some point during the event. This lead to some last minute panicked buying of some winter tyres, but we found some on the Friday evening and got to scrutineering just in time. This all went fine, so we then set up our service area and headed to our hotel.
It was nice for once on a rally to have a later start, as the event didn’t start till 12pm. So after a leisurely start to the morning, we headed to the event to complete the noise test and then final setup items like fitting the rally slicks, checking tyre pressures and a final check over the car.
The first stage was a case of getting back in to driving the car again, and getting used to the new gearbox which has a lower final drive fitted. This made the car nicer to drive as the ratios are closer together and you get better acceleration. Although it was very cold the tyres were working well with a good level of grip once off the line. By the end of the stage we we were first in class and doing well overall.
After this the stages went by quickly, however coming out of stage 4 the car felt like the car was running out of fuel. We made it out of the stage ok, but dropped some time. After checking a number of things and a phone call to Matt Humphris it was narrowed down to a AFM issue. This was annoying after fixing it after Wethersfield stages, but we had a good known throttle body ready to be fitted. After some frantic work this was fitted and tested ready for the first night stage.
The two night stages were good fun, although it is surprising how what seems like very good lights in the lanes goes nowhere on the vast expanse of a race circuit… We knew the car was going well at as on the final stage we took nearly a minute out of an Evo who started in front of us. By the end of the day we had a 47s lead in class and were 23rd overall out of nearly 60 starters. All the talk at the end of the day was will it snow and how bad will it be? Normally such a lead would feel comfortable, but with heavy snow on its way this lead could disappear very quickly.
The next morning came round, and a more normal rally time to get up. It was snowing heavily and a far bit was on the ground. We slowly made our way to the circuit. The organisers worked very hard to make the event happen, but sadly the snow won the battle and we never got to see what it would be like rallying on snow. So the results stand as per the end of day one. It was pleasing to have shown real pace in the newly rebuilt car.