Tuesday, 28 August 2012

King of the Imprezas at Brands Hatch!

Through Druids and down Hailwoods Hill towards Paddock Hill Bend - So Brands Hatch!!!

The Spookworks Rally Team was in action over the bank holiday at the Brands Hatch Summer Stages.  The international and iconic venue normally home to the racing fraternity was invaded and taken over by rally cars on 27 August and used the rally school complex as well as the super-fast Indy Circuit.  A formidable entry list of 85 cars set out to tackle this high profile event of 8 stages and 40 competitive miles and had the prospect of being Spookworks toughest competition all year.

Even some loose stuff courtesy of the Rally School; don't let the picture fool  you that is really up a steep incline....

Spookworks has never had the pleasure of Brands Hatch before and what a treat the venue turned out to be with some of the best facilities and slickest organisation on any event we have EVER been to.  Scrutineering and document checks went seamlessly and before we knew it we were getting suited up to get straight into the action.  Stage 1 was a cheeky 4.6 miler to explore the circuit and saw Spookworks plunged into the action off the start line mid way through the famous Surtees Corner before opening up on to the Cooper Straight for a scary cold tyres, cold brakes sweeping uphill right hander through Graham Hill bend.  

Lots of painted kerbs to make things easy....Spookworks navigate Druids on Stage 3

Regretably, straight off the line the glimmering and well prepared Spookworks Impreza found itself with no turbo boost  and the stage suddenly turned form great opportunity to damage control as we crawled around to the finish.  After being passed repeatedly by the opposition we managed to post the 45th fastest time a 5:44 and plunged like a Stuka Bomber from our seeded position of 32nd down 13 places to 45th overall and 9th in our class. 

Back in service after some scratching of heads it was realised that a last minute tweak of a fairly innocuous pipe about 2cm in length before the start had been the culprit and when’ retweeked’ the normal Spookworks engine burst back into full song.  With 5 mins to go before stage 2 it was helmets back on and straight back into the fight.  With normal service resumed, we roared off the line on stage 2 determined to make up for lost time (literally).  Despite being only another 4.6 mile test we beat our previous time by 25 secs and moved back up the leaderboard to 32 overall and 5th in class. The only casualty was the co-drivers mirror which seems to always be on the endangered list in any event, but the Spookworks financial team will be relieved to hear that the mirror was actually caught before it hit the ground while flat out through Clearways corner.  Check the in car footage for all the action on that one!

Missing something?  Losing the co-drivers mirror was an in stage weight saving measure - promise!

Stage 3 and 4 were slightly longer stages at 5.2 miles and with the bit still between our teeth we attacked throughout moving up from 32nd to 27th after Stage 3 and after setting the 18th fastest time in stage 4 we moved up to 23rd overall.  Better still the only issue was a slight repair of the intercooler spray which has ceased to function.  This was rewired and switched to manual operation allowing the literal soaking of the intercooler throughout the stage by the crew inside the car. 

Stage 5 and 6 were a reversal of this mornings stages and another 5.2 miles gave Spookworks more opportunities so re-establish themselves at the top of the order. Setting top 20 times seemed to be the norm now as some fresh rubber came into play further enhancing the leech like grip of the Impreza due to Superpro bushes and Proflex suspension. The conclusion of Stage 6 saw Spookworks in 20th overall and an incredible 2nd in class.  In service, a quick look at the leader board saw us 2 mins down on 1st in class  an ex works Ford Focus WRC 2005 which is roughly 60 times more expensive than the Spookworks Impreza and behind us in 3rd was a Mitsubishi Evo nearly a minute down the road.  Nothing to be gained and everything to be lost was the consolidated wisdom of the Spookworks Team as the car was sent off to complete the last 2 stages of the event.

Spookworks on the charge to 2nd in Class and 20th overall.  Hard to keep up to these Millington Equipped 300bhp plus lightweight escorts though!

As Stages 7 and 8 unfolded the agreement made in service seemed to get lost in translation as the Spookworks crew posted 2 top 15 times to finish the day in equal 20th overall and 2nd in class.  Discounting the Ford Focus WRC machine we were the first home of the 4 wheel drive runners and the highest placed Subaru Impreza of the day.  A terrific result against formidable opposition and a great points haul for the 2012 Championship. 

The hallowed treasure!  Some silverware for the Spookworks HQ trophy room.