Posted by Britcar Post Race Reports | Posted on 03-05-2009| Posted in
It was a weekend of major highs and lows for the team and drivers at the Rockingham Motor Speedway. Having set impressive times in testing ,an unfortunate twist of fate would befall team driver, Rachel Green in qualifying. A little too much kerb on the apex, whipped the Mosler round and saw the car rear end into the Armco at high speed, extensive damage to the car put paid to Rachel’s already tight budget and an end to her seasons racing in the Mosler. The incident denied Luc Paillard his first outing of the season with the team.
In the Marcos camps, spirits remained high as both cars, driven by Mick Mercer and Rupert Bullock in the GT1 Marcos and Jon Harrison and Neil Huggins in the GT2 Marcos, qualified 7th and 8th respectively.
With a 90 minute race on Saturday and a 90 minute race on Sunday, Jon Harrison would start the proceedings in the driver’s seat for the first race with Neil Huggins taking over for the second half. For Sunday’s race, the finishing position from Saturday would determine their starting position on the grid. For Sundays race starters, Neil would be first to drive of the racing duo.
Meanwhile, Rupert Bullock would take the roll of first driver with Mick Mercer taking over halfway in their GT1 Marcos and follow the same driver strategy for the race weekend.
Neil Huggins started the race and as is customary with his reputation now, drove the Marcos beyond its expected position amongst the other higher powered and advanced machines. As always Neil drives with 110% commitment, that commitment rewarding him in the running order when it was time for him to do his mandatory pitstop and hand over to Jon Harrison. A strong performance from from Jon reinforced their position rewarding the dynamic duo with an astonishing 5th placed finish.
Rupert Bullock in the sister Mantis was not able to enjoy the same reliability, suffering a long brake pedal half way through his driving stint and then experiencing an ECU glitch which Mick then had to endure until the chequered flag leaving them trailing to the end in 19th position and a with a great deal of work to do in the Sunday race.
With finishing positions determining grid places for the Sunday race the Harrison/Huggins car took their 5th place on the grid with the Mercer/Bullock car way down in 19th of 24 starting cars.
Jon made a good start and held position into the first corner but was tagged from behind and forced into a spin. All but a couple cars had passed him before he was able to recover and rejoin the race. Jon stayed out of trouble from then on and was able to make some progress up the leader board and hand over to Neil.
Good fortune and, of course, even better driving saw Mick Mercer able to make the most of an unproblematic Marcos Mantis. A searing pace from Mick , a superb pitstop and transition from Mick to Rupert saw them shooting rapidly up the leader board and in the fight for 5th place which was now the main feature of the race.
With pitstop complete Neil still had a lot of ground to make up and pushed hard to make up the places, eventually able to tag onto the back of the big scrap for 5th place involving several cars including Rupert Bullock in the sister Marcos who was pushing the Porsche that was desperately trying to hold on to 5th. It was all down to the last corner of the last lap and Rupert made a final brave and highly successful slingshot from the back of the pack to pass the Porsche, leaving it open to the ensuing cars and ending up clashing with another hopeful. Rupert crossed the line in a very deserved 5th overall. This allowed Neil to move in and make his attempt to claim 7th but was just pipped to the post by only 0.15 of a second by the recovering Porsche as they crossed the line in 8th place.