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Wood Scott Racing – British GT Championship
Rounds Three and Four – Mondello Park

Mondello Park is a tight, twisty and very technical circuit that needs practice and commitment to extract a fast lap time. The new format for the 2004 British GT Championship isn’t entirely helpful in that regard, but Stuart Scott and Steve Wood were out on track bright and early for the Saturday morning practice session, learning the circuit and getting the feel of the #77 Porsche’s new weapon in the armoury, a state of the art Porsche sequential gearbox.

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“It makes a real difference, “said Stuart, “a world away from the sequential shift we had last year in the Golf.”

The weekend’s action goes at a fast and furious pace and all too soon after the morning’s extended practice session it was time for qualifying.

With two quick-fire 15 minute sessions on the 3.5km circuit to decide the grid for the two races, it was Stuart first to get the car on the grid for the Saturday race.

27 cars out on the circuit and a 15 minute session combined to give precious little opportunity to find a clear lap, but Stuart was pushing hard and tenth slot in class on a circuit not at all well suited to the Porsche was enough to put a smile on his face.

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“I’m under no illusions: I’m still learning this car and I’m happy enough with that, particularly at a circuit which I’ve not raced at before and with the new ‘box.”

For the second session it was Steve’s turn and he too was pleased with his run. #77 would sit in ninth position on the Cup class grid for Sunday’s Race Two

Race 1 – Saturday

Stuart Scott takes up the story:

“I got a good start but a couple of others got a better one and ploughed by me. I was settling down to a comfortable race rhythm and shaping up to have a go at the guys ahead when the Safety Car came out - for the Jensen Motorsport Corvette fire, at the start of the pit straight. I’d been having a good old dice with a gaggle of cars, including the Glenvarigill and DRM 360s, the new Monaro and one of the Elises, but by the time the Safety Car was withdrawn, it was really a case of bringing it to the pit stop safely and in good shape, for Steve to have a crack.”

Stuart pitted at the 22 minute mark for a slick JWR pit stop, and then it was Game On once again.

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With Steve Wood now at the wheel the chase was on, but the Porsche was dogged with a problem that would remain a factor throughout the meeting:

“I had loads of understeer in the slower corners and it was a big handicap. We don’t run with adjustable dampers on the car and so we’re playing around with the rollbars to find the best set-up. It’s not ideal, particularly at a circuit like this which really suits the little Lotuses.

“The other thing about Mondello is that it’s a real tyre circuit and the surface is very abrasive: if you aren’t careful you can waste your rubber in no time at all.”

But there was no shortage of racing action for the #77 car.

“I got punted out of the way by Jonathan Rowlands at one point and had a great scrap with Paul Mace in the ABG Porsche,” said Steve with a broad grin.

All too soon though there was a second safety car after a nasty accident at the quick left hander (the accident ended the race for the Eclipse TVR and the #67 DRM Ferrari). Steve pulled up behind the Noble, Morgan Aero 8 and his team-mate Graeme Langford in the second JWR Cup class car, circulating in close company with the Emotional engineering Vauxhall Monaro.

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“When the Safety Car pulled in there was a fair amount of confusion and one or two of the guys got the jump on me. I had a good tussle with the Monaro though, and a great dice with Graeme. I eventually got past him in the middle part of my stint but he stuck with me. We both got past the Vauxhall into Tarzan and then Graeme managed to sneak by me as well. I got him next time around into Turn One and held it from there to the finish though, a great dice.”

As the flag dropped the WSR car powered home seventh in class, a solid finish on a circuit which was always less likely to suit the 911.

Race 2 – Sunday

A solid run to a points finish was what was required but a lunge from a Ferrari 360 at the first corner left Steve Wood languishing at the back of the field.

“I got punted!” was the blunt reaction, and the sizeable chunk of Ferrari front bodywork missing from the Glenvarigill 360 seemed to adequately identify the culprit.

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With the understeer problem still very much in evidence - and now something awry at the rear of the Porsche as a result of the ‘nerf’ - it would be a steady run for a finish, instead of a charge to the front of the field for Steve and Stuart. “It was soul destroying really, I felt I would be able to get in amongst them and we ended up with a car unable to deliver after the first corner.”

Despite that setback, the boys brought it home, albeit a distant ninth in class.

“That was pretty frustrating really, “ said Stuart afterwards. “On the upside though we brought the car home in both races and in one piece. Track time is vitally important to us in this car and we’ve come away having learnt more about the car and the things we need to do to get the best from it. Snetterton will be a far more Porsche-friendly circuit and I’d expect us to be challenging hard there.”

We’ll be there to see them try.

Rounds 5 and 6 are indeed at Snetterton, on June 5/6.

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