Silverstone:13th October 2001
We came to Silverstone after a testing session at Mallory Park where we did a lot of laps trying to get some experience of the new dampers which we tried at Donington Park two weeks ago. It would be first race this year that Julian had some prior knowledge as Silverstone hosted another round earlier in the season.
We aimed to leave Mulbarton at 5am in order to get to the circuit in time - HRS was the first race with signing on and scruitineering happening from 8am with first practise at 9am. We were one of the first cars in the queue for scruitineering.
This is where our day all started to go wrong...
On the second lap (the first at full racing speed) the engine was way down on power and white smoke started pouring out of the back. He limped back to the pits to investigate what was wrong.
Our first thoughts was that the head gasket may have failed, so the engine was left to cool before anything was done. We managed to borrow a suitable head gasket and torque wrench and started to remove the cylinder head. When the head was off, we found that the damage was more than a simple head gasket replacement and there was no chance of making the grid.
In some ways it was nice to watch the race without of having the worry on where Julian was - the feeling when your car does not come round where you expect it to be is not a nice feeling. Cliff Brindley in the other Fulvia had a storming race, challenging a Porsche 911 for position. There were three other Lancias in that race - Tim Burrett and Chris Gawne (his second race) in their Aurelias plus Louise Kennedy who normally races her Fulvia in 70's road sports was given an entry in the invitational class in their Beta 2000 which was finally on the road the previous day.
In 70's roadsports there were lots of Lancias - Jai Sharma and Ian Conway in their Fulvia 1600's, Jason Kennedy and Gordon Russell in their Beta 2 litre Coupes, Graham Hall in his Fulvia 1300 and Neil Cullen in his 2nd race in his Beta Montecarlo.
Jai had an excellent race, was all over the back of Ian Conway in the other Fulvia 1600 until he found a way past and started to close on the other Betas. Gordon Russell had a misfire which eventually cleared and went on to take a class win. Jason recorded fastest lap in class but had to retire on the 7th lap with engine problems - they have had a really unlucky season.
It appeared that Graham Hall and Neil Cullen were going to have an excellent race together, but a problem at the start meant that Neil had to start from the pit lane and play catch-up. Their performances in qualifying and their best laps in the race were very similar.
Well - thats it. The end of the season. Over the winter months we're going to rebuild our engine (we were going to have a strip-down as a matter of course) and look at ways of improving the handling. Thanks for all the support this year, and hope to see you next year.
Silverstone PRACTISE RACE Julian Peirson (Fulvia 1300) 1:32.914 (out lap) engine problem DNS Cliff Brindley (Fulvia 1300) 1:18.137 1:17.972 Graham Hall (Fulvia 1300) 1:25.151 1:23.918 Jai Sharma (Fulvia 1600) 1:18.271 1:17.714 Ian Conway (Fulvia 1600) 1:20.289 1:19.792 Gordon Russell (Beta 2000) 1:16.804 1:16.907 (class D win) Jason Kennedy (Beta 2000) 1:17.540 1:16.632 (DNF) Louise Kennedy (Beta 2000) 1:20.665 1:19.456 Chris Gawne (Aurelia) 1:30.380 1:30.568 Tim Burrett (Aurelia) 1:24.574 1:24.683 Neil Cullen (Montecarlo) 1:25.139 1:23,443 (class D - 4th)
© 2001: Andrew Cliffe www.lanciaracing.co.uk