Maidstone duo narrowly miss out on endurance race success. Maidstone's Gideon Cresswell and Helen Moore narrowly missed out on a certain top three result in the Fiesta class of the European Endurance Racing Club's Britcar Championship at ...
Maidstone duo narrowly miss out on endurance race success.
Maidstone's Gideon Cresswell and Helen Moore narrowly missed out on a certain top three result in the Fiesta class of the European Endurance Racing Club's Britcar Championship at Snetterton last weekend.
The pair, racing for dance act Faithless' Maxi Jazz Racing outfit, were second in class but within sight of the race leader when a malfunctioning battery forced the car out of the race.
Qualifying: 1st in class, 14th overall: 1.30.290s
Having previously raced a Ford Fiesta with Maxi Jazz Racing, Moore was first out of the garage in Sunday's thirty-minute qualifying session. Working up to a strong time in the first half of the slot, she returned to the pits for a practise pit stop and driver change.
With the all important changeover accomplished in under a minute, former Formula Palmer Audi front-runner and three times FPA race winner, Cresswell reeled off several quick laps, eventually settling at class pole with a quick lap time of 1m30.290.
" The qualifying session was quite busy," Moore commented." We were slightly hampered by the faster cars which weren't in our class as they were able to leave us for dead on the straights but were then very slow through the corners."
" I also had a few problems with faster cars," Cresswell said," but I was luckier in the traffic than Helen was. The practice pit stop went well. Unlike many of the other cars in the race, we won't need to change tyres or refuel so we should be able to make up some time on the driver changeover."
With each driver pencilled in for a forty-five minute stint, Moore was first into the car to take the rolling start. Having got alongside a faster Alfa Romeo, she was then forced to back off to avoid a slow starting car immediately in front and lost a place to team-mate, Richard Marsh.
Racing side by side through Riches, Marsh held the inside line for Sears forcing Moore to yield the position. Seizing the opportunity, a third Maxi Jazz Fiesta piloted by Dave Campbell drew alongside Moore on the Rivett Straight. Despite being later on the brakes into the Esses, Moore found herself on the outside for the second part of the chicane and was forced to concede the place.
Not to be outdone by her team-mates, Moore regrouped and closed up on class leader Marsh and second placed man, Campbell. All three Maxi Jazz cars ran in formation for several laps before being caught and lapped by the overall race leaders.
With traffic falling in favour of the leading two Fiestas, Moore was called into the pits for a strategic early driver change-- with the pit stop out of the way, the Moore/Cresswell car would be free of the traffic and have an advantage over the Fiestas yet to stop.
A near perfect pit stop saw Cresswell strapped into the car and out onto the track in less than a minute. Pushing hard on the first lap, he was one of the first drivers to arrive on the scene when a blown Marcos engine deposited oil onto the track at the Russell chicane. Despite locking up on the oil, he recovered the car well with little time lost.
When Marsh pitted a few laps later, Cresswell regained the lap he'd lost in the pits and set about closing the gap to the leading Fiesta of team mates Campbell and Jeff Moeser. With the race approaching its final section, a spurt of speed saw Cresswell bettering his team mates lap times by two seconds. Catching up to Marsh, Cresswell was gifted second in class when Marsh spun out at the Esses and was then unable to re-start his car.
When the Safety Car was scrambled two laps later, Cresswell caught the lead pack and more significantly, closed the gap to Fiesta class leader and Maxi Jazz team mate, Moeser. Although Cresswell lost time in traffic at the restart, he stabilised the gap at just under two seconds before inching closer to the leader with ten minutes of the race remaining. However, drama followed on the back straight later that same lap when Cresswell's Fiesta momentarily lost all power. Despite regaining momentum, he managed only a few more corners before coasting to a halt at the Bombhole with six laps remaining.
Cresswell:" A malfunctioning battery was found to be the cause of the breakdown. It was a very disappointing end to a race that had looked to promise a lot, not only for Helen and myself but for the whole team who I know were really proud of what we achieved. We do have the small consolation of having set the fastest Fiesta lap but a race finish would have been better.
" I'm pleased with the way the weekend went overall considering that this was my first ever saloon car race. I didn't have any problems in adapting from single seaters and the race has proved a useful learning experience for both Helen and myself. It's a little bit gutting to go out with six laps to go but that's motor racing.
" I'm still looking at finding a budget to return to single seaters in either Formula Renault or the Kent Formula Ford festival later in the year but I certainly wouldn't rule out endurance racing as an option for the future."
Moore:" I'm a little bit disappointed that the car didn't make it to the finish but overall it was a good weekend's racing. I think both Gideon and I coped well with the longer race distance. We're both now hoping to do another race or two, possibly even the EEC's twenty four hour race at the Nurburgring later this year. I think we'd both like to try that with something a little more powerful though.
Like Gideon, I'm also looking to put a budget together for a few more races later in the year. I have looked at the Clio Cup but I have a few other options so it's a case of wait and see at the moment."