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BGTC: Ryan Hooker Mondello Park race notes

Ryan Hooker: A Little Too Hot in Ireland! Ryan Hooker (Essex) suffered a bitter blow at Round 2 of the British GT Championship held at Mondello Park, Ireland. After an encouraging and impressive start to the weekend, Team Jensen's chances were...

Ryan Hooker: A Little Too Hot in Ireland!

Ryan Hooker (Essex) suffered a bitter blow at Round 2 of the British GT Championship held at Mondello Park, Ireland. After an encouraging and impressive start to the weekend, Team Jensen's chances were dashed after an incident in Race 1 which saw them sadly withdraw from Race 2.

After familiarisation sessions on Friday (7th May) the Team found that changes made to the Corvette C5 since Round 1, notably a new rear brake set up, had improved the car further with power and speed also encouraging for a strong set of race finishes and hopefully first points on the board.

During Saturday mornings 90-minute practice session Ryan was in focused mood. "The car was improving with every outing" said Ryan, "we made great inroads with the suspension which we had found too soft on the Friday."

Ryan's team-mate, Dominic Lesniewski took part in Qualifying 1 but found his run hampered due to a power steering belt failure. A quick turn around saw the problem remedied and Ryan out for Qualifying 2. "It is quite a bumpy circuit but after bedding in new tyres and dicing with a fair bit of traffic I was pleased to secure a time of 1m53.139s to place us 21st on the grid for Race 2 on Sunday."

Race 1 took place on Saturday at 5pm with Dominic starting the hour long race. Ryan recalls "I was stood in our garage getting myself focused for the change over in 30mins time when over the pit wall I saw a plume of smoke and felt sorry for the poor guy that belonged too - then I saw the top of Dom's crash helmet appear and realised it was our car!"

On the final corner of lap two flames swept up from under the Corvette's bonnet. Yet the scene was too worsen. "One of our team members, who is also a trained marshal, leapt over to start to extinguish the fire and was shouting for marshal help" says Ryan. "Fuel continued to drip onto the engine so just as it appeared to be out it would ignite again then eventually marshals arrived on the scene. If the fire had been brought under control sooner we would have had a fighting chance of replacing the engine but with so much peripheral damage it wasn't an option so we sadly had to call it a day and pack up for the weekend."

Of course the irony of Ryan's sponsor being Essex based fire engineering company, FireSure didn't go unnoticed! "Jensen (team manager) had also arranged a barbecue that evening, so I think I've heard all the jokes possible now!" Ryan laughed.

It has been a dramatic start for the newly formed Jensen GT team, yet Ryan remains upbeat. "It was gutting" he says, "I could literally feel the energy drain out of me as I watched the flames. And, it is gutting to turn and see the team, who have put in so much hard work, faced with this. We know this year is a learning curve, but perhaps I wasn't expecting it to be so steep so quickly! But, this is the reality of racing and we are at the beginning of a very long journey so will draw a line under this weekend, regroup and look forward. We'll be back!"

Ryan will be on track again in the Porsche 924 Championship on 15th/16th May at Croft Circuit, North Yorks before further preparations for Round 3 of the British GT Championship at Snetterton, Norfolk on 5th/6th June.

-rhr-

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Series GT
Drivers Ryan Hooker , Dominic Lesniewski