Karen had put some more miles on the engine during the Saturday and had hoped to get in some decent laptimes, but unfortunately the weather had other ideas and poured down most of the day! It was great practice in car control on worn Silverstone tyres and gave Karen a reminder about the circuit layout but was useless for checking laptimes. It did stop raining at 3pm but the track was still very wet, and Karen's times did improve.
Later in the evening while the weqther was dry, Richard took the opportunity to swap onto the dry tyres hoping the weather forecast for dry sunny weather on Sunday would hold true.
Race day began bitterly cold but bright and dry as promised. Karen had an early appointment with the TSL timing crew to check that the transponder was working on her car. The LED light was no longer working, but the guys confirmed all was well and thus Karen was ready to race.
Qualifying had seemingly gone well enough, with some minor issues with boost/fuel cut. Karen had qualified in 13th position and was up against some serious opposition in her SuperGT class. (Karen was forced to make a guest appearance in this class due to not yet having the required Federal tyres to run in the GT300 class). However, even a couple of GT150 cars still qualified ahead of her! Karen's best time was 1:14.460 and she knew she had to aim for a 1:07 to be up with the GT300/SuperGT cars.
As Race 1 unfolded, it seemed Karen was destined to spend her race fighting hard gainst the GT150 car of Jon Winter. #14 was still suffering with overboost problems and they seemed to strike just when an opportunity to pass came along. This was obviously galling for Karen but she did enjoy the close racing with John. Karen's best lap time in Race 1 was 1:11.612 and she finished in 11th position.
Race 2 saw Karen fighting Jon again, and this time she was also fending off the rapid Suzuki Swift of Jason Langan who had spun out earlier in the race. Karen's best lap time improved to 1:10.866 and she finished in 9th position.
Race 3 was a carbon copy of the previous races. Karen's best lap time dropped to 1:11.974 and she finished in 8th position. Once again she enjoyed her races, but knew that intermittent problems meant she wasn't racing cars in the GT300 or SuperGT classes as she should have been. Despite this her performance was strong, overtaking under throttle (when it felt like it!) and also under braking with some faith in her new brake setup.
Work will be required to ensure the fuel/boost issues are sorted in time for Karen's appearances at Shelsley Walsh and Donington Park in May. Once sorted, the rest of the car is certainly up to scratch and we should see an all new Karen taking the fight to Jason Jesse's Celica GT4, James Bridges Nissan 350Z and the hard charging Nissan 200SX's of Adam lockwood and Jason West.
About Karen Phillips
Karen races her Impreza WRX in the Nippon Challenge, a race series for Japanese and Asian cars. Karen has now 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.