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Racing Report

Silverstone, Northamptonshire - November 7th 1998
Circuit Length: 2.24 miles

Driver : Denise Manderscheid, Car No: 36
Comment : A very interesting day …Qualified 12th Finished 16th

Qualifying: With an 8.30 sign-on and scrutineering, another early start from home had to be made. Fortunately it was dry and not too cold. It stayed dry for most of the day. Despite this the track was definitely not dry. Not quite damp enough to go out on wets but perhaps a bit slippery for the dry tyres. Nevertheless I stayed on dry tyres. I watched the single seaters negotiating Brooklands and Luffield just before my qualifying session - they tip-toed their way round. It was very slippery!

The track was definitely very slippery, especially around the left-hander called Brooklands and on into Luffield the long right-hander. The straight down past the start finish line wasn't too bad. Copse the right-hander at the end of the start finish straight was very interesting indeed as you met the greasy patch just as you rounded the corner! From there it was straight onto Maggots curve where 2nd gear was needed to negotiate the fairly sharp right-hander that leads you onto the Club straight at the end of which is Brooklands.

I took it fairly easy for the first three laps to feel my way round the track and make sure I qualified. By this time I was feeling fairly confident I new where the worst bits were - Brooklands and Luffield mainly. And so I started to put in a couple of good laps. It was all going quite well until I rounded Copse and lost it completely in the middle of the track. When I stopped spinning I was literally in the middle of the track just around the corner. Not a great place to be for oncoming traffic would have no chance to see me. I had also stalled the engine and was having difficulty getting her started again.

While I was attempting to get her started, the pack caught up with me. A red Miglia shot past on my left just missing my wing mirror! Several more cars went past me on either side. I was to learn afterwards that the red Miglia had taken one look at me taken his foot off the throttle and immediately gone side-ways sliding towards me. Fortunately he recovered sufficiently to straight it up and go past on my left-hand side.

I finally managed to restart the engine and shot off down to Maggotts in a fit of temper. My next full lap was to be my fastest at 1 min 27:58 secs - it was to earn me 12th position on the grid.

Race Day: The good news was the track had begun to dry out and there was very definitely a dry line. However, there was still some greasy patches around especially at Luffield and Brooklands.

The green flag lap allowed all of us to check out the track and decide for ourselves the best line to take at each corner. To me it seemed a lot better than qualifying.

The start proved interesting as the track was still damp. As the lights turned to green and I let out the clutch my rear wheels started to spin - too many revs on a greasy track. Although a slightly slower start than I would have liked I still managed to make up a place and continued on around Copse and onto Maggotts with no problems. Through Maggotts and down the Club Straight I managed to get past another. Down into 2nd for Brooklands which I deliberately took a little wider than normal because of the greasy surface. I turned into Brooklands and continued on to Luffield - all seemed well. I was with the pack and having no problems when suddenly without warning the back end went and round I went spinning out of control again!

I couldn't believe it by the time I had recovered there was the back marker just passing me. I was not a happy bunny - the red mist came down and I set off in hot pursuit. Over the next few laps I caught up with and past nine mini's. I was back at Luffield moving through a pack of half a dozen cars and could see my way to passing at least one more when the car on my outside and slightly behind lost control. He went sideways hitting me in the front wheel and side panel. That put me sideways with my rear wheels on the grass at Luffield.

I thought - it cann't get any worse. My back wheel was throwing up mud as it dug through the grassy edge and my front wheels were tracking sideways as they tried to pull me through the corner. I just kept my foot in and somehow managed to pull the car straight and continued on. By this time I had lost two of the positions I had just made up. It was not my day!

There was one lap left to go and try as I might I could not get past the culprit who had nearly had me off. I had to be content with finishing 16th.

Afterwards in the paddock I checked my car and could only find superficial bodywork damage. My front wheel had a broad stripe of white paint from the other car - other than that I couldn't see much damage. I am sure my team will give me a full report later in the week. The other driver was not so lucky - his driver's side door was pushed in and the door sill had a nice 'V' shaped indentation! Some of the body work looked a bit side too. Shame - but that's racing……….

As for me I bettered my lap times by 8 secs - my best lap time of the race was 1 min 19:46 secs. Part of this was due to the better track conditions but a good deal was due to my temper. Perhaps I should get mad more often………….

Next weekend it is back to Snetterton on Sunday - and hopefully a much better outcome.

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