Terra Novus
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  Florida,32256
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Racing Report

Super Coupe Series - Renault 5 GT Turbo/Honda CRX/VW Polo G40

Brands Hatch - Sunday April 7th
Indy Circuit Length: 1.22 miles

Driver : Denise Manderscheid, Car No: 96 Denise Manderscheid & 19 Val Foley both Renault 5's

Qualifying: 35 cars lined up raring to go for a 15 minute qualifying session at mid-day on Sunday. To say I found this daunting is an understatement! But once I was out on the track I calmed down and really enjoyed myself. Out on new slicks for the first time ever, I took it easy and warmed them up gradually over the first two laps. Just as well really as Val who was in front of me decided on the first lap to do a spot of digging in the grass at the bottom of Graham Hill and in the process deposited a load of fresh soil on the track just as you turn into Cooper straight! I didn't see it happen but it must have been spectacular as the soil was spread at least three quarters of the way across the black stuff. Nice one Val. She continued on with no further problems. Soon afterwards the session was red flagged and we had a shortish wait lined up in the pit lane while an unfortunate Honda was cleared from the bottom of Paddock Hill Bend. They also took the opportunity to clear the soil away from the begining of Cooper straight.

And so we started the 15 minute session again. Very busy but fairly uneventful. Yellow flag came out a few times, as did the blue flag. My times gradually got better and better. Running on new slicks was a dream. Really grippy and gave me oodles of confidence in the car; this of course helped me to keep the boot down. I became very happy with Paddock Hill Bend and more confident with the 'S' through Surtees, McLaren and on round Clark Curve. Just as I began the final lap of the session I saw the warning flag for a mechanical failure come out and was surprised as it looked like it was for me? I dutifully came in at the pits on the next time round and asked Ian and Dave what was wrong. As it turned out nothing was wrong, it must have been for someone else but as there was no car number in the orange circle I couldn't be sure.

Both Val and I finished with very respectable times. Best lap times were: Denise 1.00.79 and Val 1.01.08

In testing the previous Wednesday Val had managed a 60 sec lap and my best was 1.03. To say that we were very happy bunnies was an understatement.

Race Day: Our qualifying times earned us side by side positions on the grid at no's 27 & 28 out of 30. The rolling start gave us less than a full lap to warm up the tyres before we were off. Before Paddock Hill Bend the Renault in front of me back-fired and shot fire out of the exhaust - good job my harness was tight or I might have launched myself vertically! On over Paddock Hill and I just felt the back end begin to slide; I hadn't been able to line myself up properly and so was too far over to the right. However, I kept the power up and carried on over the hill and kept on going.

Everything was going really great. On Lap 7 I decided I'd had enough of following Val and along Cooper Straight decided to overtake. But I hesitated (Val was on my right hand side) and we were still alongside one another just before Surtees. A quick change down and I booted it into Surtees across to McLaren and on round Clark Curve. No problem I thought, kept the power on down Brabham straight and turned in to Paddock. At which point everything went wrong! Part way down the back end came round to speak to me and I ended up at the bottom sliding backwards into a shallow gravelly bit. At least I was still right way up and facing forward! But the engine had died and I lost precious moments trying to start. Just as three marshalls came running up to me the car roared into life - the expression on one of the marshalls face was priceless wish I'd had a camera. All seemed clear so I dashed off up and under the bridge and onto Druids. As I came up to Druids I suddenly saw two cars one on each side of the track on the grass and very definately out of the race. One of the drivers dashed across the track at the top as I was tearing up. As I was having fun at Paddock so the guys in front had had a coming together first at Druids and then again at the end of Cooper Straight where a VW had embedded itself in the tyres.

Losing it at Paddock cost me both time and a lap but at least I finished 10 laps and in 25th place. Val completed 11 laps and came in in 23rd place.

To sum it all up - what a day. It was brilliant. Both of us cannot wait till the next one.

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