Race Report: Snetterton 4th April

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Snetterton saw the 1st race meeting of the Nippon Challenge in 2009, now also containing the Subaru Cup in which Karen was competing. The Subaru Cup had four entries which would be driving against themselves and the various other Nippon cars for overall honours.

Karen came back in from qualifying complaining of power problems when exiting the Russell Chicane and trying to power up the main straight. After discussing the problem with her it became apparent that she may have been hanging on to the revs too long and the rev-limiter was cutting in. Changing up at about 6000rpm seemed to solve this problem for the rest of the day.

Image copyright Lance Wittenberg, used with kind permission

When the timesheets were published, we discovered that Karen had qualified in 14th place from a field of 23 cars. Quite prophetic, given her racing number is 14! That put her as the last of the Subaru Cup cars but ahead of the poorly GT500 Subaru of Stuart Ward.

Karen got a brilliant start in Race 1 and got the drop on Martin White and Darren Hughes, but as she pulled alongside Darren she had a little trouble finding 3rd gear. Darren got ahead and Karen had to follow him closely until Sear corner where she got a chance to accelerate past him up the straight and ahead into the Esses. That's how things stayed until Karen suffered another gear problem into Sear corner for the second time. She went for 3rd and got 5th instead, allowing Darren and Miles to shoot past. That's pretty much how things remained for the rest of the race, but later on Karen was driving around Coram corner when she spotted Darren facing the wrong way on the in-field. Thus she finished 3rd in the Subaru Cup, behind Miles Hulford and Martin White. Martin and Miles had a brilliant battle, with Martin taking the win. Karen was 11th Overall in the Nippon Challenge.

Again in Race 2, Karen got a great start and would have definitely overhauled Darren, but her start was totally ruined by an inability to find 3rd gear and then any gear for a while! She was overtaken by just about every other car in the field and had to begin an exciting recovery drive...

First to be passed was Jason Jesse in his MR2 mk1, then the MR2 mk1 of Nick Reed. Half a lap later it was the MR2 mk1 of Gareth Newton and the Subaru Impreza of David Williams. Next up were the squabbling MR2 mk2's of Nick Jones and Dallas Jackson. Later on she passed the ailing Honda Civic of Richard Johnson. She was determined to catch up with the Subaru Cup cars, and was hunting down Darren who's car was fighting him around each corner due to damage from his off in Race 1. She didn't have enough laps though, and finished up just a few tenths of a second behind him. That put her in 4th place for the Subaru Cup and 9th overall in the Nippon Challenge. Congratulations to Martin for another Subaru Cup win, and to Darren for a well deserved 3rd place!

Karen had a really enjoyable day's racing. She had fun chatting with all the racers in the paddock and the Silverstone Tyres crew, and was thrilled to get her podium place in Race 1 for which she received a lovely trophy!

Image copyright Lance Wittenberg, used with kind permission

Karen would like to thank Silverstone Tyres for their sponsorship of the Subaru Cup, and XSpec Motorsport for their hard work in preparing her car for the racing. She's really looking forward to the next event at Pembrey in May, and hopefully by then Richard will have improved the gear shift so she can give the other 'Cup racers a proper run for their money.

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About Karen Phillips

  • Karen races her Impreza WRX in the Classic and Sports Car Club (CSCC) Modern Classics series, with her husband Richard as a 2nd Driver. The races are mini-endurance events involving a driver-swap. Karen has previously raced in the Nippon Challenge, a race series for Japanese and Asian cars. Karen has been racing since 2006, having started in the MR2 Challenge.
  • Please check this site regularly for updates on Karen's progress through the season and developments with her race car.

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