Reports > First Line Japanese Race Day, Combe May 30th 2011
Lousy weather but a couple of podiums and some good performances
With a number of regular team drivers giving this meeting a miss it was left to Guy Parr in his Nemesis GT (and at the last minute the WPR team Mini Cooper) and Steve Bracegirdle, Darren Houldcroft and Richard Watkins in Van Diemen RF89s to uphold the team's honour.
It was wet throughout practice and the races so Guy Parr was relieved to have got some wet tyre practice in during pre-race testing on the Thursday prior and put this to good use to record a decent fourth in the GT qualifying.This was despite a piece of the front bodywork flying off and being caught in the cockpit during the session. A one handed return to the pits followed and with enough time to get back on track to record the good time.
Guy's race was rather uneventful with the top 4 runners all holding position to the end. With the GT race taking place close to mid day Guy asked the team to bring their Mini Cooper along to have a run on the Combe saloon Championship round. Practice wasn't going too well with Guy lying 17th until the last lap when he got a clear run for a substantial part of the lap and climbed to 7th and third in Class A. A good race followed and although the final placings were the same as qualifying a well fought tussle with an Audi TT meant that Guy only just missed out on second in Class.
With former Combe Formula Ford regular, Richard Watkins, guesting in Wayne Poole's personal Van Diemen RF89 hope were high for a good showing in Class C for the Formula Ford race. Despite a bit of rustiness Richard looked impressive from the opening laps of qualifying and the times confirmed it. 15th overall and just a fraction behind the Class C leader in second place was a strong showing. Steve and Darren weren't far behind in 5th and 6th in Class respectively.
Richard made a good start closely following the Class leader while Darren made an absolute stormer of a start to be in mid field and 4th in Class C by the time the pack reached Tower. Following David Cobbold throught the exit of Bobbies, Darren saw what he thought was decent traction so got on the throttle hard through the right hand kink onto the straight. Unfortunately it was a case of too much throttle/not enough grip and the car swapped ends down the staight and off backwards into the infield.
Steve had got a bit bogged down at the start and was faced with a tough job to get clear of the tailenders. Meanwhile Richard was running a very strong second in Class until Lap 8 when he went off at Camp, unfortunately damaging Wayne's smart new car quite badly (nose box, l.h. front corner & radiator plus some bodywork). With Richard retiring Steve was able to move up to third by the end and take another podium.