TUESDAY 1st September 2009 - THE RAIN-MEISTER?
Where to begin? Bank-holiday weekend and a very busy schedule at Pembrey for the PMT Motorsport team – taking in both the Club Ginetta and Welsh Sports & Saloons (WSSCC) car races over Saturday and Sunday would mean one free practice session, two qualifying sessions and FIVE races. The result – one fifth place and one DNF (Ginettas) and two second-in-class, one second-overall and one OUTRIGHT WIN in the Welsh series. This is the first time that team driver Paul has been the first to take the chequered flag in a race - keen readers will remember Paul’s win at the Mallory Park Ginetta Festival in 2008 but he finished second on the road with the leader being docked 10 seconds for a jumped start ‘gifting’ the win to Paul.You can see photos here
This time it was (almost literally) a ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances – a wet track with fresh rain falling halfway through the race, no large capacity saloons entered , the more powerful class-C Westfields struggling with tyres and a perfect start to lead class-B rival Nick Jones’ Renault Clio-Cup car into the first corner. From there it was all about fending off Nick’s challenges around the testing 1.5 mile circuit for eight laps until more rain began to fall causing Nick to suffer visibility problems and overshoot his braking in to Hatchets Hairpin thereby giving Paul the breathing space he needed and from there a straight run to the finish. Paul’s winning margin was over 28 seconds at the flag and to cap off a great result the Orange G20 lapped the entire field (apart from Nick) and Paul took fastest lap by just TWO HUNDREDTHS of a second from his class-B rival!
The result was reward for team members Jacques and Malcolm who in addition to having to endure the almost-constant heavy rain on Sunday had been faced with rebuilding the near-side front corner with a new upright, hub and wheel bearing assembly late on Friday evening after the previous failures and then repair some severe rear bodywork damage after Paul was unceremoniously punted out of the second Club Ginetta race on Saturday afternoon. Paul had earlier taken fifth place in the first Club Ginetta race after starting eight and he also took fifth overall (second in class) in the first Welsh race of the weekend on Saturday, running the car in its Club Ginetta spec (road tyres and no aerodynamic aids).
For the first race on Sunday that had dawned grey and wet, Paul felt that he had a chance of taking the fight for class-B honours to Nick, so much so that he played his ‘joker’ (double-points) as the field prepared for the second WSSCC round of the weekend. But with the rain having abated 45 minutes earlier the track was slowly drying and Paul had to settle for second place both overall and in class to Nick’s Clio. Further afternoon rain and a tweak to the Ginetta’s setup gave Paul his chance in the final race of the weekend and the team were overjoyed with the result that puts Paul in third place overall in the Welsh championship with three rounds to go.
You can listen to Paul’s post-race interview here