Race Report – Oulton Park 28th September

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Image used with kind permission of InMotionImages

Karen arrived at Oulton Park on the day before the Nippon Challenge races for an afternoon of practice. The plan had been to save the semi-slick Silverstone tyres for late in the day and for the races. As Richard removed them it was discovered that one of them had a rather large egg shaped defect in it. Without the Silverstone crew in attendance there was no option but to run in practice and the races using the Federal 595 RSR tyres that had been destined for wet weather.

The weather was most definitely not wet! In fact it was a totally glorious weekend of weather, with a light breeze and warm sunshine. Probably not the best conditions for wet weather tyres. However, the Federals held up excellently and maintained decent pressures and seemed to last very well. However, Richard doubted they had the same ultimate grip as the Silverstones and thus Karen was already running at a disadvantage.

As the practice sessions continued, Karen noticed that a hesitation or "hiccup" as she described it was afflicting the car when accelerating hard in 5th gear. It seemed this may be down to overboost, but there was nothing that could be done about it.

Karen's practice times seemed pretty good and fairly consistent. She finished the afternoon of practice with a best time of 2:08 and consistent laps in 2:09.

Race 1 started well with Karen having qualified in 16th position. She overtook the MX5's of Kevin Middleton and Simon Fleet before the first corner. On lap 2, Simon got on the inside at the hairpin and was away. Karen spent the rest of her race trying to chase down Simon and Rob Jefferies in his MK1 MR2 Turbo. Karen finished 15th Overall and 2nd in the GT300 class.

Race 2 began with Karen getting passed by Kevin's MX5 at Cascades, but she out-dragged him immediately along Lakeside. Kevin got passed her again into the hairpin and Karen had to wait until Hilltop when she could overhaul him again and stay in front at Knickerbrook. Karen was now chasing after Rob's MR2 whilst trying to stay ahead of Simon's MX5. Meanwhile, Andy McLennan was forcing his way through the field in his Suzuki Swift. Karen allowed him past at the hairpin and Simon pounced to follow on Andy's coat-tails! She nearly had him back into Old Hall, but Simon held his nerve and went around the outside. Then Kevin rubbed salt into the wound at Cascades again, before Karen reclaimed the position. Karen finished 14th overall and 2nd in the GT300 class again.

Image used with kind permission of Lance Wittenberg

Karen's overall results looked pretty dismal, but this was due to the number of very quick French Trophy cars that were sharing the grid with the Nippon Challenge. Mostly populated by racing Clios, the cars were powerful, light and very nimble.

It seems that a tweak to the ECU may be required to fix the problems with turbo boost in 5th gear, as well as the fight against weight to help make the car accelerate faster, stop more quickly and be more nimble in the corners.

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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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