Unfortunate Cramp 'clutches' defeat from the jaws of success. CVW Manta Racing driver Steve Cramp has successfully proved today that he has the pace to challenge the leaders in this year's Donut King Australian Performance Car Championship, ...
Unfortunate Cramp 'clutches' defeat from the jaws of success.
CVW Manta Racing driver Steve Cramp has successfully proved today that he has the pace to challenge the leaders in this year's Donut King Australian Performance Car Championship, however, it's luck that the HSV Driver is now lacking, after failing to finish today's opening race of championship's third round currently underway at Sydney's Eastern Creek International Raceway.
The disappointing race result came after the Adelaide based driver took his CVW Engineering HSV Commodore to a season best 6th place in qualifying at the 3.9km long West Sydney circuit, just over a second from pole position and well in touch with the leading V8 powered cars on the grid.
In a highly unusual schedule for the 18 cars Performance Car field, four sessions were scheduled for today -- two 20-minute practice sessions followed by a solitary 20 minute qualifying session and a 10-lap race -- making it one of the busiest days of the season for the CVW Engineering backed team.
The strong result in this afternoon's qualifying session backed up a similarly strong show of force by the distinctive red HSV in practice -- Cramp 5th on combined times from both sessions, and just two tenths slower than the leading V8 powered car of Barry Sternbeck.
"The car was really good all day today," explained Cramp after scoring the 6th place result in qualifying. "And we were very close to the leaders which was a very positive thing. We are really able to utilize all the power we have around here, as well as out excellent braking package we have onboard for this season."
Hoping to make solid forward progress in this afternoon's first 10 lap race, the CVW HSV made a strong start and was looking good for a strong top five position to kick of the weekend strongly.
Unfortunately, the string of bad luck that has plagued the team struck again, as the clutch began to give Cramp troubles as the car entered into the middle stages of the race, when the hydraulic cylinder began to rub on the clutch plate.
After persisting with the problem intermittently for a few laps, the clutch plate finally jammed altogether at the most unfortunate place on the track -- the super fast 230kph turn one at Eastern Creek -- causing the car to spin into retirement.
"That spin certainly made life interesting," exclaimed Cramp after the spin. "We were doing 223kph through there in practice today, so you can only imagine how interesting it made our day. It's very disappointing to have this problem, because we were looking really good for a strong result today." he said.
Despite the dramas, Cramp was buoyed by the potential the car had shown throughout the day.
"It's great to be here and to be able to really open this thing (the car) up." He said. "The brakes are something else, as well, so we'll just use the package we have to the best of our ability when we are coming through the field in the race tomorrow."
Cramp's charge to the front will hopefully come in tomorrow's second race, as the Donut King Australian Performance Car Championship takes to the track for another 10-lap encounter tomorrow at 13:40pm.