Race Report – Castle Combe 17th June


Karen’s sponsors TenguDo Motorsport had kindly loaned her their race car as they were about to investigate the engine problems she’d been having with her own car. The Saturday trip to Castle Combe was less than pleasant due to inclement weather with plenty of wind and rain. However, Race Day Sunday dawned sunny and dry.

Karen was nervous about using the TenguDo Motorsport #29 Impreza WRX RA as it had recently been fitted with all new suspension and there hadn’t been time to test. Although she’d driven the car before, that hadn’t been for a while. The suspension was all new and the amount of grip available from the tyres on the damp circuit was a concern.

Qualifying proved that she needn’t have worried. The TenguDo guys had done a fantastic job of the setup. Karen was enjoying the car and although having to drive through lots of traffic due to a combined session with the MR2’s, she was beginning to bring her times down. Watching from Camp Corner, Richard and the TenguDo Motorsport crew were horrified to see a large under bonnet fire!

Image copyright Marc Lawrence. Used with kind permission.
Karen noticed the power steering was getting stiffer. She drove another half lap before being shown a “Car on fire” sign at Quarry Corner. She duly pulled over and the marshals put out the remnants of the fire and recovered the car to the paddock. Despite this, Karen still qualified 13th out of 24 runners.

The flexible part of a power steering pipe had melted against the turbo and the escaping fluid had ignited. There was no other discernible damage and all that was required was a replacement for the pipe. Unfortunately neither Richard nor TenguDo carried a spare with them. No-one in the paddock had anything suitable, so a call to Martin White TenguDo Team Principal saw him despatched to their workshop in Cwmbran to get a replacement and bring it to ‘Combe. Meanwhile, Karen was forced to watch Race 1 from the track-side.

Image copyright Marc Lawrence. Used with kind permission.
When Martin arrived with spares, it took little time for the repair to be completed and #29 was checked over and fuelled ready to go. The car was taken to scrutineering again for a check and was safe to race again. Due to missing out on Race 1, Karen was forced to start Race 2 from the very back of the grid.

Image copyright Marc Lawrence. Used with kind permission.
Knowing what she was up against, Karen was determined to use the 4WD advantage of the Impreza at the start and gained several places when the lights went out. After that she was busy making her way through the glut of GT150 cars until she was clear. Unfortunately, the rest of the grid made up of her own class of vehicle and higher had already made good their escape and there was no chance of catching them. Having started from 24th Karen finished in 12th place overall and 2nd in her GT300 class. It was a great result from a day that could have ended in tragedy…

Many thanks to the Marshals and officials at Castle Combe for all their hard work. Thanks also to TenguDo Motorsport for supplying Karen with their car, letting her set light to it, and for then repairing it and getting her out for Race 2!

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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