Yesterday 24th Sept 2008
Robbie entered the TDP Evo VI into its first ever saloon race. Both the car and Robbie were new to full blown racing. In qualifying the new Hankook T71 and T91 tyres gave awesome grip and Robbie manged a 1:01.380 m:s.h. This gave him 2nd place on the grid. Before the race it was decided that the tyres should be changed to T51 and T71.
So he lined up on the grid and they were off. Being new to racing and not quite as willing to damage the perfect EVO exterior he opted for the safer line in turn 1 conceding 1 place to second. Then out the country to turn 3 and the T51 not quite up to temperature yet were a bit slippy and he missed the turn in point and conceded another place. Into the ‘S’s and the lighter more agile lotus passed him on the inside leaving us now in 4th place. Things were not looking good at this stage. Into dunlop for the first time and Robbie found himself being pushed by the Clio’s into the gravel. He manage to keep two wheels on the track and used the Evo’s mighty acceleration to pass the Clio’s down the straight. Back in 4th place until turn 2 when he missed the breaking point and ran wide letting one of the Clio’s past. Then bang! Quentin Smith hit the back of the car trying to spin Robbie out. For the next 3 corners Quentin kept using the back of the evo as a punchbag. He hit the back so hard that the body work was rubbing the back wheels. Robbie eased off as the noise in the car was horrendous. He decided to try and hold his position and pass the pit wall where the crew could see the car and asses the severity of the damage. Luckily the piece of body work fell off on the exit of the dunlop corner and the race was on once more. Robbie was cautious for the next 2 laps in case the back Tyre gave in. Once he was happy the Tyre had no damage to it the Race was on. In the next few laps Robbie picked up pace like he was on fire and with only a few laps to go he was battling LLoyd Hutchinson in his mini (also tuned by Robbie) for 3rd place. Robbie squeezed passed LLoyd and had a go at second but the drive of the Lotus aggressively protected his position in a succession of blocking moves. On the last lap disaster struck. The oil pressure had being falling of when the car had being pulling big G and this eventually caused a catastrophic bearing failure entering dunlop. Robbie at this stage thought that the engine had a misfire and with the line in sight he managed to fend off Lloyd and take 3rd place. He also set the fastest laps of the race. Next time he will be ready for the driving of the others and wont be so quick to concede places.
This car is very competitive and given a few more races and a specially baffled sump it wont be beaten easily.