• Ian Walpole

Round 4 - Seat Time

Updated: Sep 10

Editors Preface - While we would normally do a results post first, this time we thought we would let the driver break the news.

 

To Pembrey Circuit for Round 4. After a couple of days of lovely sunshine spent at the Country Park, the morning at the track saw dry weather and my first time out with power steering!

The chosen layout was a fast set of sections - with the start line just after the Hatches hairpin we would be sliding Spitfires, Dibeni bend, and a manji on the straight section before tipping into the Esses at full speed.

We got a few sketchy laps in before the weather turned and I mean sketchy! Compared to what I was used to the power steering felt like zero feedback, especially on full power transitions (a little scary when sliding sideways at near 70mph)!


As the rain poured down and the track conditions got worse, I found the steering a little easier to handle in the wet so we dialed in the tyre pressures and suspension and got a few decent runs in. I said to the team let's stick to this setup - I'm happy and the rain ain't going nowhere!


Well, of course, this line of thinking meant that towards the end of practice the rain stopped, swiftly followed by a minor accident which brought practice to an early end.


So, after a bite of food we were off to the scrutineering unit for a qualifying briefing. Instead of being back of the grid and last out again we shot back to the paddock to get out early for qualifying, BUT... the E30 had other ideas and wouldn't even crank! Panic ensued and the whole team were mad at work trying to figure out the fault!



When you replace your £8 battery isolator with a £350 one you would trust it to be a goodun but in this case they had certainly not prevailed! Talking to other drivers and teams they were not surprised at another isolator failure. Interesting.

So we got the car rewired to work with the old isolator and queued up... you guessed it, at the back of the grid!!!

Looking at the plumes of smoke pouring from the other cars I guessed it was dry, and nervously I pulled up to the line thinking I hadn't completed a decent dry lap yet. First lap was a sighting lap so I went gingerly into first clip, yep bone dry and way too slow.


So onto my 1st qualifying lap. I decided on almost full send, hit every clip, felt like I had 1 in the bag and apparently the team and judges were happy with it too!


2nd lap Paul and Simon are thinking he's got 1 in the bag just get the car back in 1 piece. I'm obviously still buzzing from the first lap so - full send this time - hit every clip and was going so much faster by the last corner I had to dial on some serious angle to scrub speed and stay on track!!



I only went and qualified 4th! This gave me a by run for top 32, and so I went directly into my top 16 battle against Joel Conlan in his S1. I led first run and he just didn't have the pace! Then onto the chase and I was close enough to take the win! So Pembrey and here we are in the top 8 again! This battle paired me against Harvey Moore, a BDC pro2 driver in his v8 powered E36, I lead and again pull a decent gap; then its onto the chase. I was close but as I came through the smoke on the last transition he had dialed on too much angle and slowed the car and was on a bad line. Managing to avoid contact, I took another win!


Now top 4, I pulled up to the start grid and asked the marshal - hi Colgate! - who I had to battle... his reply was Arunas! I was like how do I compete with that!? He said "You need to stick it to his door - and I mean I wanna see your rubber all over his door."


Immediately off the line he was pulling away - but I managed to initiate late, get up very close... then he pulled a gap on transition which made it difficult to see!

The gap didn't increase more than a few car lengths, but he was fast - of course, you'd expect that from his 1000hp E92 BMW. Onto the leading run and same as all my other leads it was a good line to chase and he deffo had the speed to keep up and took the win!

Luckily, I'm not quite out yet - I now go to battle Matt Smith in his immaculate E46 M3. My lead was on point again and I even managed to pull a gap! Going into my chase I wasn't letting this one get away - I really stuck it to his door and maybe even traded some paint at points crossing the finish on his bumper i was absolutely buzzing punching the roof with joy!! So after watching the final against Arunas and Haydn we headed to the podium for the results! I at last had my first ever podium result of 3rd Place!!!



Needless to say, we were all absolutely buzzing and headed back to the campsite with friends and family to celebrate!



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