Welcome to my blog on turning a rusty old shed in to a thoroughbred Italian race car. In the last episode we were at Silverstone racing the Birkett relay racing against the BBC Top Gear crew in an epic 6 hour team endurance race. In this episode we take on a festival fun race called the Plum Pudding at Mallory Park.
The 43rd annual Plum Pudding race meeting has happened on Boxing Day for the last forty two years. The Plum Pudding is the only race meeting on the circuit calendar to feature two, three and four wheels and is the ideal excuse for the whole family to get up off the sofa and away from those mince pies, because with fresh air and racing engines… it doesn’t get much better!
An event that’s become something of a tradition for those local to the Leicestershire circuit, it gives competitors who love to race on two, three or four wheels a chance to work off the Christmas turkey in a slightly more unique way than normal! Whilst those who love to race bikes and sidecars will have races to cater to their tastes, a pair of races each will be run for sports cars and also saloons respectively.
The way this works, however, is a little different to any other race meeting. This is because although competitors will still have a regular practice session, there is no qualifying on the day to determine the grid, nor is it chosen by a random draw. Instead, our grid position is set by the order of entries received. The grid for the second will then be a reverse of the result from Race 1, so if one wins they start at the back and so on.
We “qualified”, or got our entry in ninth place right in the middle of the twenty car grid. The second bit of bad news is that ninth was on the right hand side of the circuit next to the pit lane.
The start was taken very tentative given the grip advantage that 4wd has and there was no space to drive in to. Once the race got underway the slower cars dropped back and we were in a battle with similarly passed cars. After overdriving the car for a number of laps, the car came off the circuit on the exit of Gerard’s Bend and splashed through the puddles losing two places. Then followed a recovery drive where the lovely sounding Rover Vitesse was caught and passed after a better exit out of Devils Elbow corner. We finished fifth overall but 3rd was definitely possible without the off track antics. We had opted for the Nankang NS2-R tyres which are full wet “list” tyres but this was probably the wrong call as there was a definite dry line and the extra rubber given by the Nankang AR-1 would have been better.
The Clark of the Course decided to change the starting order and instead of reverse grid the whole field, reversed the top six. This was great news for us as it meant we were starting in second position on the front row.
As there was plenty of space in front of the Delta we made a good start but the flying Audi TT Spaceframe yellow rocket came flying past and quickly disappeared in to the distance. We had opted for dry tyres this time with the Nankang AR-1 and once warm after the two warm up laps the tyres were giving lots of confidence inspiring grip even in the damp patches. Sitting pretty in second we were on course for finishing well but an Impreza had other ideas. After a few close laps swapping places and beginning to overdrive the car again, the exit of Gerard’s Bend caught us out again and we followed almost the same path through the grass and puddles. This time we had lot lost any places but the Clio Cup car had caught up a whole bunch of time. Sadly the Impreza retired from the race and the Clio Cup car, driven by an instructor from Mallory Park caught and overtook the delta towards the end of the race. We did have a brief fight back but off line there was much less grip so a lunge down the inside would not have finished well.
Still, third is a good result, second was on the table without the error at Gerard’s Bend but even without this error, the Clio would have probably caught and passed us for the second step.
The Plum Pudding was a surprise entry to the seasons racing and was a nice way to cap off a great first year with the Lancia. Please check out the season review videos on our YouTube channel and please subscribe, comment below and give the video a thumbs up.
Extended Version: http://youtu.be/A7IBaU1FTtk
Additional Footage: Colin Taft http://youtu.be/2bkYypguyAQ