2014 UK Time Attack Championship Round 2 – Knockhill
Arriving early on Sunday morning to typically Scottish weather conditions it was clear the Pirelli wets would be the order of the day! Although the rain had stopped falling by the time we headed out onto the track for Warm Up there was no dry line to speak of and still plenty of spray for Olly to contend with. Covering 10 laps in the session Olly did enough on his seventh lap to take the fastest time by over 2.7 seconds with a 53.95 second lap!
Going into Practice later that morning to similar if not slightly deteriorated conditions, we managed to run the car for 16 laps again taking the fastest time of the session with a 53.59 second lap improving on our time from Warm up and still 1.5 seconds clear of the Ford Focus driven by local hero and lap record holder Andrew Gallagher.
Brighter skies and a noticeably drying track greeted us for Qualifying early afternoon although with plenty of damp areas of track remaining and standing water still lurking at the final hairpin it made sense to stick to what had worked so very well to date and arm the car with a new set of Pirelli wets and go out confident we would not get caught out by the conditions. It proved a good call with Olly again setting the fastest time of the session and indeed the day overall with an excellent 51.83 second lap, 1.20 seconds ahead of Marcus Websters Skyline.
The hour or so leading into the days finale had been dry and with the car in good shape we decided to get the slick tyres into the blankets ready for the first dry run of the day. Although the weather appeared to be closing in we made our way down to the pit lane in dry conditions on the slick tyres as did all our competitors. Unfortunately almost as soon as the cars were signalled to leave the holding area to line up in the pit lane the heavens opened again and it was clear everyone was on the wrong rubber! A tentative first lap confirmed this and Olly was brought in for a change back to wets with the clock still ticking at this point. However before we even managed to change the tyres the session was red flagged so all competitors could make the change back to wets for safety. With 10 minutes left the session re started and it was the Ford Focus of Andrew Gallagher which set the early pace with a 55.00 lap in what was now the wettest conditions of the day. Both cars were pushing very hard and with just over 3 minutes left we remained a frustrating 0.026 seconds behind the Focus when the session was again halted for a car stopped on circuit. With temperatures dropping out of the tyres and such a short time remaining to get back out, warm up and put in a flyer it looked like events had possibly conspired again us. In a frantic conclusion to the days event Olly quickly got back up to pace and put in a couple of storming laps to pull the victory out of the bag with a 53.96 second lap eventually taking victory over the Focus with just moments remaining! On top of this we managed to achieve something we have never done before by taking the fastest time in all four sessions throughout the day!
Everyone at RCM is thrilled with what turned out to be a hugely exciting maiden victory for the new car which certainly made the long trip back to HQ much easier to take!!