Silverstone: Scuderia Ecosse race report

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE! 13 August 2005 -- The Scottish duo of Andrew Kirkaldy and Nathan Kinch finished the Silverstone 1000kms in fourth place today after a race run in very difficult conditions. Andrew Kirkaldy started the race from pole ...

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE!

13 August 2005 -- The Scottish duo of Andrew Kirkaldy and Nathan Kinch finished the Silverstone 1000kms in fourth place today after a race run in very difficult conditions.

Andrew Kirkaldy started the race from pole position, electing for wet tyres as steady rain was falling over Silverstone. It was clearly the right choice as the track became increasingly treacherous; Kirkaldy reporting almost impossible driving conditions as he worked hard to hold onto the car. The Silverstone 1000kms was going to be a case of keeping out of trouble. Kirkaldy pitted after an hour on track for more wet tyres, fuel and an aerodynamic adjustment to try to settle the car into the conditions.

The first half of the six-hour race amounted to a succession of safety car periods as the heavy rain took one victim after another. TVR team-mates running into one another, prototypes spinning on the pit straight and huge amounts of spray summed up the opening hours of the race, throughout which Kirkaldy kept his head down and worked his way up to fifth place.

Just over three hours in and the skies over Silverstone started to brighten, the rain eased and the track began to dry, just as the team managers were discussing whether or not the race should be stopped. It would continue on. Thirty minutes later Kirkaldy pitted to hand over to Nathan Kinch who rejoined the race in fifth position.

"It wasn't a whole heap of fun out there today", commented Kirkaldy. "It's so hard to drive in those conditions; on and off rain meant one minute we were aquaplaning and the next it wasn't wet enough for the wet tyres! The final irony though was that I needed my sunglasses on by the end of the run."

Nathan Kinch pitted from third place after an hour for intermediate tyres and held position when he headed back out onto the track. Five hours into the race Kinch reported in that he was having difficulty seeing through the Ferraris windscreen and that the washer wasn't doing what it should. Scuderia Ecosse's ever-inventive Sporting Director, Malcolm Swetnam, came up with a solution: next time Nathan passed the pits whilst running behind the safety car Swetnam deposited a bucket of soapy water over the Ferrari to clean the grime away! Unfortunately it didn't quite do the trick but earned a round of applause from all who saw it. Kinch pitted a few laps later to have the tear-off film removed from the screen to restore his clear view.

Kinch rejoined the race in fourth place and brought the Ferrari home safely after just under six hours of running. Commenting after the race Kinch said: "That was definitely the most difficult race I have had! The conditions were so unpredictable, changing from lap to lap. The car was great in the dry conditions and also in the wet but it was the extremes that were hard to handle; on one lap a corner would be a certain way and on the next lap it would be completely different. The problem I had with the windscreen towards the end of the race was tricky as the dirt had just smeared over the screen and I couldn't clear it, then with all the spotlights and the green safety car lights I couldn't see a thing! I'm pleased we made it to the chequered flag and the points are very welcome but I wouldn't like to do that one again."

Team Principal Stewart Roden praised the drivers for coping under difficult conditions. "Both the drivers had their work cut out today and I think staying on the track was an achievement in itself. I have to say though the highlight of the race was when Malcolm (Swetnam) was summoned to Race Control after throwing the water over the pit wall. Obviously we were concerned we may be in trouble but when Malcolm got up there they just wanted to shake his hand for his ingenuity! On a more serious note though I'm glad we can come away from Silverstone with some points and we'll be back again tomorrow for the British GT race!"

-www.scuderiaecosse.com

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Nathan Kinch , Andrew Kirkaldy