Round 6 of the 2021 Time Attack Championship see’s Direnza Driver, Jonny Fletcher, make the short journey over to Donington Park.
Checking over the car following our trip to Wales presented us with no major issues prior to Donnington weekend. We replaced the rear brake discs along with a fresh set of pads after they had cracked during the first session at Anglesey.
The weekend didn’t get off to the best start after a bolt head from the new stabilizer leg on the trailer went through the nearside front tyre while loading the car. A freak accident, but it did cost us some valuable time Monday Morning while Pirelli fitted the spare tyre before warm up.
The plan for this session was to give the new rear brakes a little beading in. While also focussing on getting the car where he wanted it to be. It’s important to feel comfortable with the car early on to be able to push hard later in the day.
Jonny was happy to report all was good, excluding a small issue with the throttle body that was causing Jonny to momentarily lose the throttle pedal. After 8 laps we called it quits on the session and came into the garage to sort the fault.
After checking the wiring and recalibrating the pedal through the ECU, the problem was resolved ready for the practice.
It was now the time to start finding the limits. Unfortunately, the session was red flagged on the second lap due to an incident. Because of this, the session was now only going to be 6/7 minutes long. This did change our plans slightly but we condensed what we needed to achieve down into the remaining time.
Jonny left the track at the end of the session confident. Knowing how much time we had in the bag when while not giving too much away to our competition.
Between practice and qualifying Jonny decided to change the front tyres to a set of part worns that were in better condition. This was to try and extract as much grip as possible from the circuit when it counted.
The plan for qualifying was to set a solid banker before pushing on. Jonny’s first lap was a 1:19.555 which was on par with the morning sessions but well below expectations.
As Jonny started his second flying lap, an oil pressure warning flashed up on the dash, displaying 0 bar oil pressure. Unusually, straight after that it read 10 bar of oil pressure.
Putting it down to a faulty sensor rather than an actual oil pressure issue, Jonny ignored the warning and cracked on with the lap. Everything felt brilliant and the Aim Solo was showing green. Jonny was up by over two seconds throughout the lap.
When he crossed the line, Jonny had managed a 1:17.404 which we knew was somewhere in the top three based on previous lap times. It was also a new PB for Jonny! The oil pressure warning had also come back so Jonny returned to the pits to check over the car.
Thankfully, it did turn out to be a sensor problem but without a spare, the only option was to delete the sensor out of the map and re program the dash. Not the ideal solution but it was the only one we had.
After checking the timing screens, it appeared that Jonny’s lap time had been deleted due to track limits. Although we couldn’t recall going too far over the edge of the track it wasn’t worth arguing over. We accepted the decision and ended the session down in seventh.
After posting an initial lap time of 1:18.265 Jonny went on to set a time of 1:16.782. Eclipsing his earlier personal best by over five tenths.
Jonny returned to the pits to check where that lap time put him. We were pleased to see the lap placed Jonny third in class. Despite traffic on Jonny’s next attempt he managed to knock another two tenths of his fastest lap.
Not only was this time good enough to secure third in class it was also enough for fourth overall! Quite an achievement considering some of the cars in class on the day.
Next up is a trip down to Brands Hatch for a Time Attack Double header. We will be looking to score a solid haul of points and be in the hunt for another podium finish.
Thanks to: Dead Set Photography, Time Attack & Rhys Barratt for the images