Race Report – Cadwell Park 31st August


Image used with kind permission of InMotionImages

Weather conditions were bright and dry for the qualifying session. There were concerns that the track may still be damp in the shade through the Hall Bends, but Karen found no problems with grip. Karen seemed to be enjoying her session and she qualified 8th overall.

Image used with kind permission of InMotionImages

Race 1 saw Karen not getting the best of starts, but she maintained position and was surprised to see Tony Hunter's Renault Clio spin in front of her. She was having to defend heavily against the MR2 of Dave Hemmingway until his car overheated. Karen finished 8th overall, and 3rd in the GT300 class.

Karen got a much better start in Race 2, overhauling Tony's Clio and Adam Lockwoood's GT300 Nissan 200SX. However, Adam spotted an opportunity within the first few corners as Karen went slightly wide. He was then through and away. His car having an amazing turn of speed. Karen was left fighting Rob Jefferies in his Mk1 MR2 Turbo. She managed to fend him off for the rest of the race and finished 7th overall. Once again she was 3rd in class in GT300.

Once again it seems the comparative heavy weight of the Impreza WRX is denting performance against other class runners in GT300. Karen's car was weighed and is roughly 100kg over the minimum class weight. Plans are underway to reduce this but not much can be done before the end of the season.

Image used with kind permission of InMotionImages

Having watched the videos and heard the soundtrack, Richard suspected that the Blow Off Valve (BOV) was bleeding boost pressure. It’s uncertain how much pressure was lost and thus how much power Karen had been losing. A visual check of the car resulted in the discovery that the tubing from the manifold to the BOV was not connected. This has now been re-connected and secured. Hopefully Karen should be enjoying full power at the next event at Oulton Park!

Reversal of Fortune?


Following the failure at Mallory Park, the car was taken to Powerstation for a diagnosis.Within half an hour, Andy the technician discovered the problem. The mounting for the crank sensor had sheared and the sensor itself had impacted against the back of the crank pulley. This resulted in damage to the sensor and it tore a pick-up off the back of the pulley. All of this meant the ECU was not being sent a meaningful crank position and thus there was no ignition signal sent to the engine.
Andy fitted a replacement sensor and pulley and then re-fitted the cam belt. He also welded some beading on the ends of two aluminium boost pipes to ensure a more secure fit as they were found to have come apart after the first race at Mallory Park.
Having fitted the Front Mount Intercooler (FMIC), there was no functional need for a bonnet scoop on the car. The large scoop was still capturing air and forcing it into the engine bay. This may have a detrimental effect, by stalling air over the top of the engine thanks to air from the scoop hitting air that had passed through the FMIC and radiator.
It’s a commonly held belief that some kind of reverse scoop would help draw air out of the engine bay. This was backed up by conversations with Vaughan Fletchers’ crew following their Impreza having been in wind tunnel tests.
Richard decided it would be better to use one of the original smaller scoops when reversed, rather than the currently used large one which would still be sticking out into the airflow too much.
Minor modifications had to be made to blank off sections of the bonnet using small aluminium plates. The scoop was then fitted in its reversed position securely and everything painted in black.
Having restored the engine to a running condition and made improvements to the air-flow it was hoped that finally the recent problems were behind her and Karen would have no mechanical issues in the following races.

Race Report – Mallory Park 3rd August


Image used with kind permission of Lance Wittenberg

Karen was cautious at the brginning of her qualifying sesion, as she was wearing in a brand new set of PFC01 front brake pads. She soon got in to a rhythm and was enjoying the power and handling improvements. Karen was surprised to see her husband Richard having to stop near a marshal post and have an underbonnet fire extinguished. After that she concentrated on her times and qualified 9th overall.

Race 1 began with Karen getting past the MX5 of Kevin Middleton and chasing the MK1 MR2 Turbo of Rob Jefferies. Karen spent the race chasing Rob whilst Lee Bennet-Neil's Integra was close behind her.

Image used with kind permission of Lance Wittenberg

On the penultimate lap, Karen was wrong footed by rob at the hairpin and Lee pounced to overtake. So instead of hoping for 5th place, Karen was demoted to finish 7th overall and 3rd in the GT300 class.

Race 2 found Karen getting a decent start and overtaking Lee's Integra and then overtaking Rob's MR2 along the Stebbe Straight. Karen was now 5th overall and under pressure from Kevin Middleton's MX5. Kevin used his skill and the agile chassis of the MX5 to overtake Karen around the outside of Gerrards! Karen was patient until the main straight where she used the superior power of her Impreza to overhaul Kevin and re-take 5th position.

Image used with kind permission of Lance Wittenberg

Karen began to pull away from Kevin, but unfortunately later as she was braking into the hairpin the ignition died and she had to coast to a halt. The car wouldn't restart and Karen was forced to retire. It was a bitter disappointment after the race was going so well and Karen was running in the highest position she'd ever achieved in the Nippon Challenge.

Back in the paddock, several efforts were made to start the car, but the source of the problem couldn't be found. It had to be pushed back onto the trailer and the plan was to take it to Powerstation to see if they could diagnose and fix the problem.

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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