As many of you know, GMC Motorsport have chosen to make 2003 a quiet season after dominating Class 1 of the Scottish Tarmac Rally Championship for the past 4 years and competing in the same championship for 8 years. But that doesn't mean we are ...
As many of you know, GMC Motorsport have chosen to make 2003 a quiet season after dominating Class 1 of the Scottish Tarmac Rally Championship for the past 4 years and competing in the same championship for 8 years. But that doesn't mean we are doing nothing !
After further Suspension Development work on the teams Opel Corsa over the winter break, we decided it was a good opportunity to 'test the car in anger' and also allow the team's mechanic's a try at navigating an event each.
First in the navigator's was Stewart Thomson, who also lives in East Kilbride. Charterhall is traditionally the first event of the STRC. As usual, It was an early start, arriving at the venue in the Scottish Borders at 6.30am, but even at this point, it was obvious it was going to be another sunny day--.Perfect !
After the usual pre-start inspections and tyre selection process, we were ready to race !
Stage 1 started well, with no dramas or incidents. Early indications showed the suspension modifications were working well, with the cars handling being very predictable. Stage one consisted of two 4-mile loops over both tarmac and gravel surfaces. On the second loop, I approached a 'long right 5 gravel' bend at approx. 80mph, which was slightly fast, and caused the rear of the car to step-out. Fortunately, we managed to catch the slide and keep the car travelling in the correct direction and only lost a few seconds. Our position after stage 1 was 3rd in class.
Our time for Stage 1 was 8min 38sec
Stage 2 was a re-run of stage 1. Our pace was quicker, and with no 'moments' the clock was stopped at 8min 22sec, 16sec's quicker than stage 1.
During the service period the usual inspection took place, and seemed well. We opted to lower the tyre pressures by 5psi as this allows better grip on the loose surface.
Stage 3 was the reverse of stages 1&2. All started well, however, approx 3miles into the stage, after exiting a chicane and accelerating up through the gears the car suddenly lost all drive. As the engine was still running we knew the problem was either Transmission or Drive-Shaft failure. We coasted to a stop off the stage and lifted the bonnet to diagnose the problem.
Seeing the engine bay covered in oil is not what we expected, but on closer inspection found the problem. The differential failed, and exploded which sent components through the gearbox's alloy casing, hence the oil everywhere !
Unfortunately, the event was over for us, and it was an early trip home !
Amazingly, this was our first retirement caused by mechanical failure since April 1996 at Ingliston, which is over 40 events ago.
The transmission is already removed and dismantled, and hopefully the car will be running again within the next week.
Our next planned event is DCC Stages Rally based at Ingliston, Edinburgh on 26th April, where, our second mechanic Sam Little will take the passenger seat.
Thanks should go to Stewart for his excellent input from the navigator's seat, and it's just unfortunate we didn't finish. Another time Stu !!