Welcome to my video on turning a rusty old shed in to a thoroughbred Italian winning race car. In this episode we build on the success of Saturday’s race and enter in for the Future Classics series designed for cars built in the 70’s and 80’s. Things get wet and we end up doing very well indeed…
In the last race we learnt a good lesson regarding tyres and the importance of the Lancia being on new rubber in order to combat the tendency for it (and all 4wd cars) to understeer on turn in. There are a number of things the driver can do in order to help this such as trail braking as well as the opposite by employing the “track day technique” of picking up the throttle on turn in. The latter is usually taught to prevent horrible accidents by inexperienced drivers running out of talent, but it can also effective here also. To this end we elected to put the two best tyres left from Saturday on the front and scrub in some brand new ones on the rear and do the minimum amount of laps possible. The out lap wasn’t that fast due to the tyres needing to get some heat in them but then two reasonable times were set, the latter putting the car on provisional pole with a 1.37.3. We had still gone quicker in testing on fresher rubber but we were happy never the less. We then listened to the commentary in Parc Ferme and Tony Blake with his lovely Porsche 911 RSR put in a great last lap and was on pole by 3/10ths. Aston Blake was third in a Porsche 944 a second behind the Lancia, also set on his last lap.
The weather had dominated our thoughts all weekend and 30 minutes before the race it started to gently spit with rain. Definitely still dry tyre territory but it was the classic wet/dry tyre gamble. We checked radars and reports which showed it would definitely be raining after the race but was vague about when the rain was likely to start. We opted for the Nankang NS2-R tyres which is not a “wet tyre” as such but work much better in the wet than the Nankang AR-1 (AR-1 is about 7/10ths quicker in the dry around Croft).
As the race started Richard got a great start but thought better of a move around the outside of Clervaux, this isn’t a 13m sprint race after all! Through the chicane the Lancia was able to take more speed through the apex and was ahead before the breaking zone into Tower bend.
After the end of lap 2 the Lancia was 4s in the lead but the Porsche of Tony Blake began to real the lead back in and at the end of lap 5 the lead was only 1.4s. At this point the Nankang NS2-R tyres were not quite able to match the dry tyres on the Porsche but they did have one thing on their side, it was beginning to rain!
As lap times grow larger the Lancia was able to pull away until pitting on lap 8 back with a 5.8s lead. After the pit stops it takes a few laps to shake things through however based on a 1m pit stop the net lead was never lost throughout the pit window and by lap 14 Richard had a 30s lead on the Porsche 924 of Aston Blake. Aston had to serve a 30s penalty in the pits for a previous win which would have put the Lancia neck and neck after the stops. The race then continued in the same fashion with the lead being slowly extended until the penultimate race lap. Unfortunately the Porsche 911 RSR of Tony Blake had a coming together with the barriers and the race was shortened by 3 minutes and the chequered flag shown 3 minutes early. Tony was checked out at the medical centre and was thankfully uninjured.
Richard didn’t quite understand, nor believe that the Delta had actually finished a race, but finished in the overall lead. It was only when he entered the pits realising he was the first one that it began to sink in. To come to the circuit with the hope of finishing, but coming away dominating the race with a 43s lead is a dream come true.
To finish first, first you must finish was the mantra the team came to Croft in their heads. A class win and an overall win was beyond our wildest expectations and has made the pain, effort, cost and time spent building and preparing the car all worthwhile. We know there is still more time to be unlocked from the car in setup and boost levels which should bode well for circuits and conditions more suited to the RWD fair which usually dominate the races.
In the next episode we take part in a one off event called Festival Italia at Brands Hatch’s where the Lancia has entered the Italiano vs. Inglese Allcomers Race on the 13th of August.
Extended version: https://youtu.be/3sEnWkRo8Ek
Timing Sheets: http://tsl-timing.com/file/?f=CSCC/2017/172964fuc.pdf