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Racing Report

Snetterton, Norfolk - November 15th 1998
Circuit Length: 1.95 miles

Driver : Denise Manderscheid, Car No: 36
Comment : Hmm that's racing!…Qualified 19th Finished 15th

Qualifying: Another 5.45 a.m. start from home to be at Snetterton by 8.30 for a 9 a.m. sign-on and scrutineering. It was cold and damp and started to rain just before qualifying for the Mini's. Watching other formula's tip-toe around the track we could tell that it was going to be yet another slip-sliding experience! But at least this time we went out on Wet tyres - last weekend at Silverstone we were on Dry tyres.

nce out on the track I realised just how horrible it really was - the standing water made for wonderful plumes of spray off the other cars, mine too for those behind me. Trying to find a non-greasy part of the track anywhere around the track proved almost impossible. I took it fairly easy for the first three laps and then thought Ok time to pick up the pace. I knew the Esses at the end of the long Revett straight was a bit greasy but managed to maintain my line through there okay. Then on to the Bomb hole and around Coram Curve. Coram was getting increasingly slippery and sure enough on about the 5th lap I came to grief. I spun like a top and went off into the grass but luckily stopped in an exit point on some rough tarmac. And so I managed to continue. But to make matters worse for me my windscreen started to steam up almost from the moment I entered the track. It gradually got worse until I found it very difficult to see where I was going. I also got stuck behind some slow traffic and the combination of slow traffic and totally steamed up windows meant I never got a clean fast lap in. I was not a happy bunny when I came off the track - I knew I was probably right at the back - and I was. As they say that's racing!

Race Day: Very soon after qualifying the sun came out! And the track started to dry slowly. It was not to last. By the time we came to race the rain had been hacking it down at intervals. The track was very greasy but there was not quite so much standing water.

Starting at the back meant I had a lot of work to do and I set to it - not an easy thing in the Mini Se7ens! The cars are so evenly matched that it takes a lot of effort to propel yourself through a field of 22 strong.

The start was a bit tricky because the track was wet. Nevertheless I managed a good start and made up a couple of places, tucking in behind Sarah Munns who in qualifying had blown her engine but managed to borrow one from another competitor. Sarah was three places on the grid in front of me.

Around Riches we went with no trouble. I suddenly saw my team mate Rob Cullum moving very slowly indeed. It turned out he had been hit on the start and was having difficulty getting going again. Rob had started in 6th position.

From Riches I followed Sarah down to Sear Corner, a right-hander to the long Revett straight. Part way down the straight Sarah slowed and beckoned all behind her to pass. She was about to pull off because of electrical problems. I passed Sarah with another car alongside looking to get ahead of me, but I managed to creep ahead of him down the straight to the Esses at the bottom. Once through the Esses I carried on to the Bomb Hole and around Coram.

The track seemed much dryer than for qualifying and I was relieved. The next couple of laps saw me catching and overtaking another couple of cars. On about the 5th lap I was coming around Coram with another car on my tail. We headed on down to the chicane Russell Bend. I was in the lead and turned in first - the car behind misjudged his braking distance and hit me in the rear sending me spinning into the gravel at the beginning of Russell.

Facing the wrong way, back wheels embedded in the gravel and a stalled engine - what a great combination!!

With the engine re-started, I had to wait while two Mini's passed before I could rock the car out of the gravel and back on to the track. I wasn't sure what damage had been done to my car so all I could do was continue and see how she drove. Luck was with me - the handling seemed a little shaky round corners but within limits. Guages were showing no adverse affects and so I continued.

I caught up with the Mini that had punted me off. I followed him through the chicane aiming to pass him on the start finish straight but he pulled off into the pit lane entrance.

Continuing onto the last lap of the race I could see in front of me the Mini that had taken me out at Silverstone the week before. I almost caught him up but at the chequered flag he was ahead of me.

In Parc Ferme afterwards Paul Triffit came up to me and apologised for punting me off at Russell - I just shrugged my shoulders, that's racing, it happens.

Checking the damage to my car afterwards all I could see was a scrape mark on the bumper and a cracked rear brake light cover. Paul's car in contrast had both headlamps smashed, dented grill, and a crack in the body work below the right front headlamp. It looked a little sad.

Final race of the Winter series is next Sunday November 22 at Brands Hatch. I am planning to test at Brands on the Saturday before and then hopefully we'll have a dry race!

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