EEMS-SUPPORTED E85 FUELLED ASTRA AT BRITISH TOURING CARS DONINGTON PARK - ENGINE DAMAGE IN QUALIFYING MEANS NO STARTS IN SUNDAY'S RACES

Donington, Derbyshire, UK -- After two good practice sessions on Saturday, Fiona Leggate's Thurlby Motors Boston Bowl Astra run by Tech-Speed suffered engine damage during the later qualifying session and will not take part in the three races today.

The team called in the car when the engine note changed to a misfire, and when the engine was checked with engine builder Raphael Caille of Triple Eight, the damage was obvious: a large crack through the head. Without a spare engine set up for the E85 bio-ethanol -- petrol blend, the team had to pack up for the weekend.

Fiona Leggate: "It's SO disappointing. The car was running really well and we had a plan for the session. I had just come in for fresh tyres when the engine went. It's so noisy inside the car that I could not hear the change. I've won my class and come third overall here before in the MG in Britsports, so it was looking good for the weekend. I will stay on as I have promotional commitments and we would not miss the pitlane walkabout for the fans."

The Tech-Speed mechanics set about removing the engine immediately to be sent for rebuilding, as there is not much time before the next round at Snetterton on 12-13 August.

"Engine failures do happen," said a philosophical Marvin Humphries, Tech-Speed Team Manager. "The engine has not been over-revved, it's one of those things, it came in running on three cylinders. This bio-ethanol engine is a one-off, we have no spare. We've done well to go through two half seasons, last year and this year, without a problem at a race. The Vauxhall engine this year is a different specification so we can't borrow one of theirs and use our ECU. It's very disappointing -- this circuit suits the car, too. The only slim chance was an engine in an Astra on display at The Motor Show in London!

'In all the 30 or so years we've been racing, I can only remember 2-3 times when we've been at a circuit with no car in the race because of an accident or car problem."

The car will be on track again for Snetterton on 12 and 13 August.

-ts-