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LMES - Silverstone 1000 Kms – Friday Morning
A Bit Gloomy

The rain started to sprinkle down just as the first one hour session ended this morning – 15 or so minutes late, after a lengthy red flag period.

That was caused by one of the LNT TVRs having a spot of bother. Before we get to that, entry changes include Phil Hindley himself in the Tech 9 Porsche, no Peter Owen in the Chamberlain-Synergy Lola and just two drivers in the GNM Saleen.

There was no sign of Dana Brewer this morning, so Ryan Hooker and Ricky Cole were preparing to drive as a pair. They didn’t get out this morning anyway, the Saleen suffering a misfire.

Peter Owen’s wife booked up a surprise trip to the opera, in Verona – which came as a huge surprise to P. Owen, who was expecting to race the #39 Lola this weekend. Mrs. Owen’s surprise took priority, apparently.

Phil Hindley joins good old boys Peter Cook and Mike Youles in the Tech 9 Porsche. This chassis is an ex-Kevin Buckler (Pierre Ehret) car, which only arrived in the UK “at two o’clock on Thursday morning. We’ve been working on it ever since, got through scrutineering, and we’ll still be working on it all day today” – between sessions.

The TVR trouble midway through the session afflicted the #81 Team LNT TVR, Warren Hughes finding the straight six erupting in flames at the front right corner, after a rod punched through the side of the block.

Lawrence Tomlinson, following close behind in #82 saw it happen:

“We don’t know what caused the breakage but just as I followed Warren into Luffield there was a ball of flame from the front of the car. I thought, should I stop or finish this lap?! (it was his quickest). Warren’s absolutely fine and even though it looks a bit like a barn find at the moment, we’ll be back out later, we have plenty of spare engines this weekend.”

The two LNT T400Rs were lying third (#81) and fourth (#82) at the time, a red flag being thrown as the circuit firefighters dealt quickly with the stricken TVR.

The #37 Paul Belmondo Racing Courage was in trouble after just a handful of laps, attention needed to electrics and rear suspension.

After the long pause, things got underway properly, and at the top of the times at the end was Nic Minassian, in the Creation DBA – 1:37.895. The Frenchman and the Ed. agreed that this weekend’s race is destined for the Creation team – it just is, it’s written in the stars, you’ll see.

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The Pescarolo was four tenths slower in second, with the Audi A8 in third: no, not our typo, the Oreca entry is officially listed on the timesheets as an A8. Hayanari Shimoda was fourth, M. Short fifth.

Rollcentre were in trouble though, the gearbox on the Judd-powered car and an “oil leak” on the Nissan – or maybe a little more terminal than that. Shorty was “devastated” at the misfortunes hitting both cars – but the Judd car was “fantastic. Look at that, an old tosser like me fourth (then fifth) fastest.”

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Sam Hignett was frustrated with the Jota Zytek, which was “jumping around in sixth” with a severe vibration. Either an aero problem, dampers or the splitter – investigations were ongoing. Sam Hignett is a very naughty chap - having admitted to a spicy indiscretion at Le Mans. "Haruki is worse," apparently.

Justin Keen was enjoying the Lister Hybrid, “but we’re not getting heat into the tyres. Dunlop has got some softer rubber for us to try.” He was encouraged that the car seems to be so easy on its tyres. Early days for this new beast.

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The Lister was ninth fastest, behind the fastest two in LMP2, the Kruse Courage, then the 'Caped Crusader' (Bob Berridge) and the RML MG Lola third, Mike Newton being pushed into the gravel late on in the session, aggressor unknown. Next was the #36 Belmondo Courage – and the Binnie Lola, showing real form (in public) at last, Sam Hancock at work here.

The Convers Team entries were 1-2 in GT1, Aston Martin ahead of Ferrari – then a BMS 550 and the Menx 550.

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The Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari was two seconds quicker than anything else in GT2 – the Autorlando 911 next up, then the Noble Group-GruppeM Porsche, the GPC Ferrari, two LNT TVRs, GruppeM, Sebah’s Monza winner, then Simonsen in the James Watt Porsche.

“The team seems pleased, that the car is much nearer the best times, and we’re about eighth or ninth,” said the Dane. “A good start.. The car feels quite good already.”

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With three (no four, including the night one) sessions today, it’s going to be a real thrash for us to keep up… with nearly 50 entries.

 

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