Changeable Weather Conditions Set Up a Dramatic Day of Driving for Jonny Fletcher
With no major issues to report from the previous event, the lead up to Snetterton was as relaxed as it could be. With just spanner checks and a clean required to remove trapped debris after Jonny’s trip into the gravel at Brands hatch.
We also carried out a small service on the car. Changing engine and gearbox oil as well as a set of brake pads, which where unlikely to see us through another event.
The weather forecast was looking promising with no rain predicted. Although, the track was still damp first thing after rain the previous day. With a greasy track, Jonny needed to get as much track time as possible.
Towards the end of the session a dry line was becoming evident with the best times being set during the final moments.
As the day progressed more cars took the track as conditions warmed up. lap times where tumbling and the car was responding well. Track evolution meant we had to stay out and continue building confidence for qualifying.
Jonny was able to set a decent 1.28.207 without ever reaching the limits of the car. Once the session was over we refueled and waited for qualifying.
During the lunch break the heavens opened, changing track conditions drastically. Seemingly making all the morning running completely pointless.
It had been an hour or so since the down pour and as Jonny head out on track everything seemed to be how he left it. Nice and dry. However, the second half of the track was still very wet.
Wet/dry track conditions would make for a very interesting session. Throughout quali, Jonny was right on the pace through the first half of the lap but he was coming unstuck in sector two. With the car struggling for rear grip, Jonny was losing 3 seconds in that sector alone.
While pushing to compensate for lost lap time, Jonny had many hair raising moments, sliding the car around. While fun, this was by no means the fastest way around the track. We ended the session in 6th place.
Before the final, there was more rain. Knowing the difficulties presented by a wet circuit, Jonny wanted to make the most of the available track time.
Jonny nailed the first few corners on the first flying lap. Getting a great exit onto the long Bentley Straight but was almost caught out in the braking zone as the rear of the car stepped out. Thankfully, Jonny was able to catch the slide and continue on his way.
After regaining his composure Jonny was ready to go again but on his next lap, lost the back of the car in turn 2. Narrowly avoiding a collision with a solid bale on the side of the circuit.
It was becoming clear the car wasn’t set up for wet conditions. A quick mental reset was needed before building up the confidence to go again. The back of the car was extremely lively, making it difficult to lower his lap times further.
At times, it felt more like drifting than Time Attack!
Despite his best efforts, Jonny was left disappointed. With so much early promise it was hard to accept the final result. The car clearly has the pace in the dry but work is required to sort out the wet weather setup.
Between now and the next round at Donington on the 15th November we will focus on setting the car up for rain as it’s likely to be cold and wet at this time of year.
Image Credit: Eat My Pixels, Time Attack UK, Rick Sams Photo