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Racing Report

Oulton Park, Tarporley, Cheshire - May 3rd 1999
Circuit Length: 2.77 miles

Driver : Denise Manderscheid, Car No: 21
Comment : What fantastic weather - all weekend! Qualified 25th Finished 24th

Qualifying: For the 15 minute qualifying session at 9.30 on Monday morning the weather was clear blue skies and not a drop of rain in sight! What a pleasure. There were 38 Mini's who went out to qualify for the race - of that number we all knew only 32 would be allowed to take part. So it was a question of get out there hard and fast and get as good a time as possible.

I had last raced on the circuit two years previously and was therefore quite glad to have had a test drive on the circuit two days prior to the event. However, the test duration was only one 30 minute sessions - barely enough time to get used to the track and certainly only just enough time to shake down the car which had had a complete engine rebuild following the engine letting go at the previous race at Silverstone. But the car seemed good and so come Monday morning's qualifying session I had no hesitation in going for it. Track conditions were excellent - having 38 mini's buzzing around at the same time was interesting but by now I am very used to that.

As sessions go it was fairly uneventful, no red flags very few yellows came out and I seemed to be going fairly well. I rely on my in-car lap time to tell me what my lap times are and initially this was working well but then as usual packed up on the 5th lap. And so at the end of the session I came off thinking I had not done all that well.

In fact I had qualified 25th out of 38 which wasn't all that bad - still a lot of work for me to do in the race. As for my team mates Rob qualified 4th, Jason 9th and Jonathon 36th .

The Main Race: The race was not due to start until 4.45 pm and so it was a long wait in the heat of the day (nice as it is it does get a bit wearing after a while). There were more than a few complaints from other drivers when it came time for us all to get ready for the race - wearing full race gear when it is so warm can be uncomfortable. I liken it to being in one's own sauna! Personally it doesn't bother me. I like the heat. Just as well.

The start of the race was uneventful with all of us getting away on time and without any hitches. I made a fairly good start picking up a couple of places but new deep down I should have been able to do better.

Nevertheless I managed to keep up the pace and was doing well. I had crept up to 20th position but was having trouble catching those immediately in front of me. No time to think of that for immediately behind was Graham Edwards who was quite persistent on trying to get past me at both the chicanes - Foulstons and Knickerbrook. But I was equally persistent in holding him off. All was going well. I was able to hold off Graham and pull away from him and the others who were behind me.

On the sixth lap I was beginning to put some distance between the pack behind me and I could see the cars immediately in front. It would be hard to catch them up but that was my aim. My lap time was running true to from and was not working so I had no idea of lap times but that was the least of my worried. I wanted to just catch those in front. On down Cascades to Lakeside, Island Bend and then the hairpin Shell Oils Corner to the first chicane Foulstons, then on up the hill to the second chicane Knickerbrook to Clay Hill at the top of which is a long fast right-hander called Druids.

As I approached Druids I could see several cars had come to grief - there were two in the tyre wall to my left and at least one in the barrier to my right. One of those cars had deposited oil on the track but I failed to see it and spun in the middle of the black stuff. Quite how I managed to stay on the track I am not sure but at the time I was thinking - oh any minute now one of the guys behind is going to go straight into me.

I will never know how they managed it but they all missed me and just carried on! I had stalled the engine so had to get her started again. I carried on and finished the race in 24th position with my team mate Phil just behind me.

Back in parc ferme I felt very demoralised at what had happened. Graham came up to me afterwards and congratulated me on blocking him more than once - he said he found it really tough to get past me and only manage it when I found that patch of oil at Druids. It turned out several drivers had come a cropper on the same patch of oil so I was not alone!

As for my other team mates Rob finished third and Jason finished 11th. So suppose for the team having all four finish was not too bad - and as a bonus none of us did any damage! Wheee that must be a first.

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