The car had been sat under a tarpaulin for the previous 6 months so Silverstone was something of a test run. A leaky gearbox seal during 2005 had supposedly been fixed but the drips on the floor of the trailer didnít bode well. Anyway it was good to get out on the track and for the first few laps the car seemed to behave itself pretty well. The new suspension was very neutral in the damp corners allowing oversteer or understeer as required and everything seemed to be fine. Until the misfire started Ė first of all just a mild lack of power but quickly developing into a serious misfire that meant coming off the track and ending my session early. A time of 1.31 reflected the conditions and my over cautious approach.
Anyway the good news is that we managed to trace the misfire and the gearbox seal didnít appear to be leaking any more.
The lights go off and I make a great start, only to be swamped by the faster cars that have qualified behind me Ė such as the Keating SD1. Get through Copse without drama but lose time at Becketts as the inside line queues up, then miss a gear down the following straight losing further ground with the cars ahead. Follow the similar Mk1 Golf of Keith Smith through Luffield and try to pass down the start/finish straight, only to miss 5th gear again. Manage to get past the Golf at Becketts but then get stuck behind a Renault 5 and Rover SD1 and the Golf retakes the place exiting Luffield. Miss another gear (5th again) down the following straight but get another chance at the Golf the following lap, this time keeping the place.
I then try everything to get past the Renault, Iíve got the grunt down the straights but he has way better brakes than me so as I go to the inside of every corner he just keeps going while Iím pushing hard on the middle pedal. As I realise Iím not going to get past I try a few different lines to see how the new Ledaís feel and its understeer city. Back at the paddock we realise that in the panic to fix the misfire weíve forgotten to set the suspension and itís actually on full stiffness all round. Doh Ė we wonít do that again.
Next race Ė Snetterton, 2nd April.