VWRC: Claire Tippet Donington notes

Claire Tippet: Strong Finishes At Season Opener Local racing driver, Claire Tippet made a strong start to her 2005 campaign in the VW Racing Cup with two solid finishes in the opening round at Donington Park, ...

Claire Tippet: Strong Finishes At Season Opener

Local racing driver, Claire Tippet made a strong start to her 2005 campaign in the VW Racing Cup with two solid finishes in the opening round at Donington Park, Leicestershire.

As in 2004, Claire is behind the wheel of a Golf MkI though it has had an inside and out overhaul in the off season. The car is now powered by a 2L engine, which Claire is assisted in managing by her colleagues at Legends Racing, Bourton on the Water Industrial Park, Cheltenham. The car also sports a stunning new blue and white livery, which mirrors that of her 'team-mates' Dave Turner and Lloyd Allard of ATMR, Cheltenham who aide Claire with her car set up and care.

Saturday's qualifying session was somewhat of a fraught one for Claire as she struggled with teething problems, seeing her qualifying in 27th position. "It is somewhat disappointing " Claire reported back, "but the important thing is not to dwell on it but use it to pinpoint the problems."

Doing just that, uneven tyre wear pointed to a tracking issue. The car had been fitted with wider front tyres for qualifying and from studying these the team were able to gage how much to alter the car's camber, and this proved to improve the car enormously.

Claire reported back from the first race on Sunday morning saying, "I had a good start" but as we approached the fast Craner Curves I was tapped by another car as it went off. The knock put me into a very speedy pirouette but after a few twirls I was able to get back on track without any major damage being done! The track seemed to be catching a lot of people out. A short safety car period allowed me to get back with the main group and when the green was given I was soon into a good rhythm and able to make up a number of places and was pleased with my moves on McInerney's Beetle and the Vento of Michael Kurton.

"I shaved over two seconds off my qualifying time and the alterations to the car made an enormous difference. The tyres would still benefit from further bedding in but the race proved a good bedrock for us."

Claire's second race was the last of the day by which time the track had become particularly slippery after a packed timetable had seen, amongst others, the Formula Three and British GT cars leave their marks!

Claire began Race Two from 23rd position, established from her position in Race One. Once more she made a good, solid start and was quickly making up places as others found the conditions tricky. However, Claire stayed firmly on 'tarmac firma' and her increased confidence was evident as she made some impressive passing manoeuvres, at one point making up a whole ten places on her grid position!

"I had a steady race" said Claire. "From 23rd on the grid I was up as high as 13th at one point. Some of the more powerful cars who had offs at the start of the race started to come through the field as expected but I was able to hold my ground and make some comfortable passing moves. I had a good tussle with the Caddy though it proved extremely hard to judge as it appeared to have a brake light sticking at points!

"I posted my best time of the weekend during the race, taking a further half a second off my best lap in Race One, so all in the right direction! It was particularly nice to get a good result as members of Cole Eason Consultants, who are kindly sponsoring me this year, came to lend their support which was much appreciated. They said our second race was the most exciting of the day, not surprising when the winner crossed the line backwards but that's another story! "

Claire brought her Golf MkI home in 16th place, having gained an impressive seven places on her starting position. In doing so she has scored four championship points and lies in equal 14th overall.

Now attentions turn to the second round which will be held at Cheshire's Oulton Park Circuit on 24th April. "The car is returning to ATMR's garage on Monday" Claire confirmed after the race, "where we'll be looking at the compression ratios. There is certainly the potential for a lot more power which we hope to unlock before the next round."

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Series GT