WSSCC Race Report - Rounds 1 & 2
Coming straight off the back of a successful first round in the Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship on Monday, we travelled over the Severn Bridge to the Pembrey Circuit in Wales for the opening two rounds of the Welsh Sports Saloon Car Championship on Sunday 23rd April 2017.
With the new Yokohama AD08R tyres as used at Castle Combe officially classed as MSA 1B tyres, Weeks and the RX-8 are entered into the BS (Slicks) class for this championship.
Having only driven the circuit in the wet during our developmental 2016 season and with a new combination of Black Diamond and Hawk discs/pads freshly bedded in beforehand, Weeks qualified in 13th overall with a 1:10.290, just 0.290 seconds off his target time. This was good enough for 1st in Class and would have been good enough for 2nd in the more popular BT (Treaded) class.
For the first race, Antony knew where he could improve his times and was far more confident with the overall balance of the car under braking and stability gained from the damping adjustments made at Combe the previous Monday allowing control of the car in both under and oversteer scenarios.
The race itself was a grudge match between Weeks and the Volkswagen Golf VR6 of Gareth Haycock - swapping positions multiple times and always on each other's rear bumper (flames included). Eventually however, Haycock capitalised on a slow corner allowing the leader through to cross the line in front by 0.549 seconds. Weeks however had achieved the target time (sub 1:10) with a 1:09.567 some 0.723 seconds quicker than qualifying securing the class win and FTD. For reference, this time and position would also have been good enough to secured 2nd in Class BT by some 10.5 seconds!
The second round of the Championship was inevitably going to be a repeat of the first with Haycock and Weeks lining up alongside each other following the race one results. Haycock's Golf accelerated off the line better, but Weeks was soon on his tail (again) this time with the fast starting Richard Francis in his Citroen Saxo VTR (a far lighter car in comparison).
A battle then ensued between Francis and Weeks in the early stages of the race whilst the RX-8 generated the heat into its tyres before stretching its legs and creating a marginal but sustainable gap. All the while Weeks is back on the tail of Haycock and battling once more for track position.
Weeks made another move at the first corner stick before taking a little too much initial speed into the hairpin eventually collecting the slide but on the grass allowing both Haycock and Francis back through.
A stella drive followed putting in another 1:09.687 FTD to catch up with both Haycock and Francis once more, clearing Francis and putting Haycock back under pressure before both drivers took differing lines through the first corner in avoidance of the spun Sierra Cosworth of Andy Williams. It was Weeks' line than proved to be better allowing him cleanly past the spinner whilst Haycock had to take further avoiding action across the grass also allowing Francis back through.
Weeks finally crossed the line in 10th overall, 2.4 seconds ahead of Francis and 3.9 seconds in front of Haycock. This again secured the class win and FTD and also earnt him the marshal's choice for 'Driver of the Race' - a well earned and probably the most appreciated and memorable trophy in our ever growing collection from the RX-8.
Due to budget constraints, Weeks will miss the next round at Castle Combe on Bank Holiday May 1st and may also skip the next 2 rounds at Pembrey before making a return to Castle Combe on May 29th. Watch this space...