Team Viking miss out on top five finish
Crash causes the team to drop down the rankings
At the recent six-hour race at Snetterton the Team Viking drivers were in the form of their racing careers and looking for a podium finish. This was until a crash in the third stint saw them lose time and drop down the timesheet, but still managed to bring the car home in 10th.
The weekend started strongly with testing on Friday. Team mechanic, Aaron, had set up the car perfectly for the combination of long straights and wide variety of turns at the Norfolk circuit that challenges both power and handling. "By the end of testing we were running with times in the top ten," said Team Manager Mark Holme. "We were full of confidence and knew we had a quality car and were posting quality times."
During Saturday's qualifying session the team were struggling and sitting around P20 on the timesheet. The team brought the car into the pits and quickly discovered it was a fuel starvation problem. With the filter replaced there was only three minutes left on the qualifying clock, so Holme went out to try and set one flying lap. His time was quick enough to put Car 110 in eighth. This put Team Viking on a high ready for the race.
The team driving order was to be Holme, followed by Nick Nunn and then Jim Hadfield. The grid draw saw Team Viking pulled out to start 12th on the grid. Holme got off to a flying start and by the end of the first lap was up to fifth. Holme was having the drive of his life, setting a blistering pace that was pushing in the top three and he was keeping with the leaders of the race. "When I brought the car into the pits for a change of driver a gap had appeared between us, with the leaders, and the chasing pack behind us," explained Holme.
Nunn was second onto the track and continued the good work that Holme had started. He had an incident-free stint bringing the car back in P5 for Hadfield's first stint of the day.
Hadfield was unfortunate early on to his stint. He made an imprecise move at Palmers and ran wide, due to hitting the rumble strips he caused a brake knock off, meaning the pads weren't sitting on the discs correctly. Hadfield was unaware and at the next corner, Agostini, he over-braked and went into the car in front before being hit in the side by another car. This caused a great deal of damage to the steering rack, the bodywork, and damaged the data logging equipment. The consequence of Hadfield's crash was extra time in the pits as well as a loss in power, meaning the team were losing three-to-four seconds every lap.
Holme was then to go out for his second stint and as he did the heavens opened and it became a wet race, which worked in Team Viking's favour. "With the rain coming down, it levelled the playing field and our lack of power wasn't costing us too much time," said Holme.
As Holme's stint continued the weather got worse and by the end of his session he was under the safety car. Nunn went out for his second session and spent the whole 40 minutes behind the safety car, which he found very frustrating.
Despite Hadfield's mistake, he is the team's wet weather specialist and it was decided to let him have a double stint to try and get his confidence back. Hadfield returned the trust and managed to push car 110 up from 14th to 11th.
Nunn went out and with skilful driving moved Team Viking into 10th. Holme then went out, but the rain had stopped and the track began to dry out, which was a disadvantage in the underpowered car. Holme was able to bring the car home in 10th, a fantastic effort considering the handicap. "The wet worked in our favour," said Holme. "As the track began to dry out we were losing performance on the other cars. The car in 11th was a lap behind when the rain stopped, another lap and they would've got in front of us," he added.
This result sees Team Viking 10th in the standings and they now have their eyes firmly set on the double-header at Anglesey on Saturday 23 September. The two races consist of a three-hour day race and three-hour night race. "We were setting a great pace, but we need to improve for Anglesey," concluded Holme.
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