Donington Sarah Kavanagh Update - A tough weekend

Sarah Kavanagh and her team endured a difficult weekend for their opening race of the 2000 European BOSS F1 Championship. Sarah was unable to complete any running at all on the test day on the Friday following electrical problems with the cars...

Sarah Kavanagh and her team endured a difficult weekend for their opening race of the 2000 European BOSS F1 Championship.

Sarah was unable to complete any running at all on the test day on the Friday following electrical problems with the cars Engine Control Unit (ECU) and the Ignition pack.

The car refused to run cleanly despite the best efforts of all the teams in the paddock and the expertise of Dick Langford of Langford Performance Engines, the builders of the Cosworth DFR engine in the Jordan.

Finally on Saturday progress was made and the fault traced to faulty programming of the ECU. However by that time damage had been caused to the Ignition Pack. After new components were fitted all round the car finally fired up and ran with ease.

Sarah got her first ever run in the dry in the 20 minute untimed practice session on Sunday - the morning of the race. Unfortunately there were still problems as she struggled to drive the car hopelessly off the pace. Differential gearing and an early rev limited left her 30mph down on the straights and firing erratically everywhere else.

To add to the frustration after 5 laps and exhaust let go and blew a 5in X 1in hole in the header pipe. This was the end of the session for Sarah.

The repair to the exhaust was a tiresome affair as the stainless steel used for these exhausts changes properties after so much heat, and is extremely difficult to weld. Luckily the European Aviation team had a master fabricator there on secondment from the Arrows F3000 team and he was able to adequately patch the offending pipe.

By the time this was ready Sarah had missed qualifying and was destined to start from the back of the grid for race one. Although the car was still not running cleanly we were going to give it a go and put some dry miles on Sarah and the car.

At the start she made a blinding start, going through the grid to end up 11th at the first corner. While the race was getting up to speed there was no problem and the handicapped Jordan was able to hold it’s own.

But as the race settled down, the lack of speed everywhere except the corners was proving too much to cope with. Sarah was having to back off to prevent engine damage.

Surprisingly she still managed to come home in 9th position in race one. This was more a reflection on the problems of the other competitors than any speed on the Jordan’s part.

With the complete lack of pace of the car it was decided not to run in the second race of the day, and focus instead on correcting the technical difficulties and making the car ready for the next outing.

The weekend’s difficulties were actually a godsend since a number of problems that could have surfaced one by one all came together and we learned in one weekend what might have taken 2 or 3 races.

Corrective action has already been taken on all the difficulties and we are looking forward to competing on equal terms for the next race in Belgium at the Zolder racetrack on May 21st.

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Sarah Kavanagh