Bassett Reflects on Snetterton Races. The BARC SE Quaife Cannons Tin Tops visited Snetterton in Norfolk for rounds 13 and 14 and with it we knew that if it was dry we would be at a disadvantage to some of the other front-running cars due to the power difference and straight-line speed.
Chris Whiteman in his Honda Civic Type R didn’t travel so the pressure was on for a decent points haul to try and close the gap he has in the championship.
Qualifying was wet but drying, so we opted for a dry set-up hoping that it would stay damp enough for the Peugeot not to lose out too much on the straights. We certainly left it late in the session, which has been the norm throughout the season, and ended up on pole by nearly two seconds from Fisher in the Honda Civic Type R and Peter Osborne in the Vauxhall Astra VXR.
We brought the car back to the pits for a quick check over before race one only to discover that half of the oil dipstick was missing and somewhere in the bottom of the sump.
Bassett Reflects on Snetterton Races
We were in two minds whether to race at all following this discovery – the missing part could have caused a pretty major engine failure and there wasn’t enough time between qualifying and race one to remove the sump to try and find it.
We decided to give it a go and headed out onto circuit with a little reservation as to if this decision would come back and haunt us.
The race was still damp from qualifying and we made a good start and lead going into Riches and down into the Wilson hairpin only to see Fisher power past on the straight and into the lead. As we broke going into the Brundle and Nelson esses he seemed to outbrake himself and spin down the escape road, which left Osborne close on our tail and pulling alongside on the two long straights before we was able to outbrake him going into the corners.
After three laps and the trading of the lead several times, we were able to pull out an eight second lead which I was able to manage throughout the race without pushing too hard. Three quarters of the race distance completed and the safety car appeared for Ben Forbes stricken Citroen Saxo right on the racing line on the exit of Nelson. Efficient work by the marshalls meant that there would be a one lap dash for the remainder of the race!
As the safety car pulled off and into the pit lane we made another good start but saw the red Astra get his nose in front as we approached Riches. I kept my foot planted and after a bit of sideways action came out in front as myself, Osborne and Fisher, who had used the safety car to his advantage and closed the gap, dashed down to Wilson for the final time. Fisher outbraked Osborne and into second and luckily held each other up for long enough for me to open a gap going on the Bentley straight and the fastest part of the circuit.
Osborne powered past Fisher and up into second as we was able to open a two second lead to cross the line first and take the chequered flag.
We started in pole position again for the second race, but by this time the circuit had almost completely dried. As we headed into the first corner, I held onto the lead and remained in the lead for the first two laps. Osborne then came past on the Bentley straight and into the lead. By this time, I wasn’t able to get past on the bends and Osborne was able to open enough of an advantage on the straight to stay ahead in the corners.
That left us and Fisher to battle it out for second overall and class honours. I missed a gear on the Bentley straight which allowed Fisher to pass going into Brundle. We gave chase for the next two laps and made our move by outbraking the Honda going into the Wilson hairpin. Fisher then went past on Bentley straight like we were standing still before I tried to outbrake him again going into Brundle.
As I broke and shifted down the gears, I hit a damp patch under the bridge (probably the only part of the circuit still damp!) and spun towards the barrier. I was able to rejoin in third overall and second in class, which is how the race finished, so hopes of finishing in the top three of the championship are still alive if we get a decent result for the final two rounds at Brands Hatch next week.
We currently sit in fourth place (in class) behind Whiteman, Fisher and Graham Richardson – all Honda Civic Type R’s – that probably tells the story of what we are up against.
Bassett Reflects on Snetterton Races
As usual, a massive thanks to Tom Motorsport who prepares the Peugeot for the races and Spoox Motorsport for their invaluable help and assistance in the lead up to the races, along with my racing partners – Complete Weed Control, Complete Ice Control, Etesia UK and Fusion Media, for without their help, racing would not be possible.
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*Photos courtesy of BARC South East