Team A2B Race report round from Dubai Autodrome

Feb 25th race report from Team A2B – UAE Touring Cars Chapionship from Dubai Autodrome.

Ian: Well its back to the UAE Touring Car Championship after a six week break due to the Dubai 24hr race, where a2b and its 4 drivers finished second in class. We will be running two cars this meeting as Spencer has decided the grace us with his presence after his holiday (Ed: lucky for some) and Colin is back out in the Clio. Jason is missing in action has he has a prior engagement in the UK.

Gareth: After the engine decided it had given up its will to live at Yas we have fitted the spare engine to the Clio and we put Spencer’s car through a set-up and corner weight check. There is an ex British Touring car Astra out racing this event so it will be interesting to see how that goes.

Spencer: Well it’s good to be back racing in the UAE Touring Car Championship after missing the Yas Marina event and competing in the Dubai 24hr race. I also have the honour of adding 40kg of success ballast, are the price of success. I must also remember that we need to drive at 100% right from the start as the races are only 10 laps. Qualifying was very close between four drivers, mind you we were all 2 seconds slower than the ex BTCC Astra, so I get to start 5th on the grid. The race should be close, so I just need to get a good start and take it from there.

Spencer Race 1: A good start put me in touch with the leading cars in the class, however, it didn’t take long for the Astra to disappear into the distance though. Zlako was soon dispatched with which left Umair, Rupesh and I fighting over 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the race (which was for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the points as the Astra isn’t a registered entry). We all wanted to finish 2nd overall and so we ended up swapping position almost on every lap. It all came down to the last corner on the last lap. Rupesh and Umair didn’t want to give an inch, which left a nice little Civic sized gap which I promptly filled. You could have thrown the preverbal blanket over the three of use and I didn’t know where I had finished until passing Ian who was showing three fingers at me. Guess I was third then, another podium. The racing was close, but hats off to Umair and Rupesh because the racing was fair with no dangerous manoeuvres.

Race 2: In the joy of finishing third we found out that an exhaust joint had completely cracked. So while the mechanics took the old exhaust off, Gareth went down to the workshop to liberate the exhaust off Jason’s car. Well he didn’t need it did he ! LOL

So after getting so many good starts recently, the car decided to bog down on the start. This left me way behind Umair and Rupesh, with the Astra a dot in the distance. It took a few laps for me to finally get past Zlako in black Honda. Once this was achieved it was time to try and chase down Umair and Rupesh. As Shakespeare once said “Alas poor race, for I ran out of time”. OK maybe he didn’t exactly say that but if they raced cars at the time he was alive he may have said it. So 4th overall and no place on the podium.

Hats off to Martin and his Astra for his two wins at a track he had never seen before. Right I’m off to kick the cat out of the garage….

Colin: Although it was Willies’ turn to drive, commitments meant that I get to drive again. The guys at a2b have fitted the spare engine in the car after one of the valves decided it want to get up close and personal with one of the pistons at Yas.

Qualifying: 20 minutes is what we got, so after warming the tyres for 4 laps it was time to try and reduce my laps times a little each lap. Well I guess I must have been trying a little to hard at times as I managed to spin the car a few times. Luckily I kept the car out of the barriers and the polystyrene marked boards (Ed: you had better teach that trick to Willie) so no damage was done. I should just about be able to see the starting lights on the grid, but when the row in front go I go.

Colin Race 1: I knew realistically that I would be driving all on my own during the race and that I just needed to keep my eyes on the mirrors towards the end of the race as the Seats would probably lap me. The race was fairly uneventful, no spins or close calls, in no way was it boring as one slip and it is race over. Three of the four SEATS pass safely but a certain black and orange Seat seemed to want the piece of tarmac that I was driving on, a little more room would have been appreciated. Other than that more experience was gained.

Race 2: Almost a repeat of race 1, except this time I kept ahead of Marios in his Honda. Oh the same Seat repeated his earlier trick, so he is consistent at least. One real positive note was that both I and the car saw both chequered flags today. I just wonder if I can finish ahead of one other class 2 by the end of the season?

Gareth: Although we had a couple of niggles with Spencers’ car we managed to get both car across the finish line in both races, including a podium in race 1. So although it wasn’t our best race of the season it wasn’t the worst. We will be back in two weeks time for the next race day where hopefully we have 3 cars out and more podiums.

Ian: Great news for Colin in him seeing the chequered flag in both races, which is slightly tempered by the fact that Spencer on managed one podium. The team are going to discuss where Spencer feels the car is losing out and we will see if we can make some set-up changes to improve the pace of the car. So until March 11th, it is good bye from me and it is good bye from him.

Report submitted by Ian Rodgers

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