The ST-XR Challenge and our Tyres On The Drive sponsored XR-2 sped off the start line last Saturday at Oulton Park. Greg Speight took two second places and posted the fastest lap in each race, only missing out on a season-debut win by 0.001 of a second (and sustaining a few knocks along the way)!
With the car looking as fresh as the weather conditions, thanks to its brand new TOTD decals, all that remained was to sign on, take the car through scrutineering and, importantly, check the tyre pressures before qualifying!
First up, Greg needed to put in a competitive time to qualify up front and start the first race in a good position. Greg summed up his first qualifying race of the season: “The fifteen-minute qualifying session was about feeling my way back into the car and ensuring the set up was working. I started to build my lap times and the last three were the fastest, I was pleased to qualify second, but I knew there was more to come.”
Some minor adjustments were made to the suspension along with a refuel, a tyre pressure check and re-torque after qualifying. The team was also paid a short visit from one of our very own Tyres On The Drive vans, which arrived at the post-qualifying scene to change some of Greg’s worn road tyres. The technician tried to get in on the action by unknowingly attempting to join Greg in the holding area ready to race! (Not part of the plan).
With everyone biting their nails for the beginning of the first race, Greg lost a place and slipped to third after a less than ideal start. That wasn’t the case for too long though, as he gained on the second-place driver coming out of Druids, a fast right-hander, which allowed him the momentum to carry on past the approaching Lodge, the final corner on the circuit.
Greg remained close to the leader for the remainder of the race but without a clear way past and an eager driver behind in third keen to capitalise on any mistakes, Greg’s endeavour to take the lead was tense! The final lap approached and it was time for Greg to make a last-ditch attempt for first place. Greg and our TOTD XR2 ended up alongside the race leader as he went across the line. Most of Greg’s supporters thought he’d done it, right at the last minute, but he lost out on first place by a gnat’s whisker of just 0.001 of a second! Unbelievable Greg! Despite missing out on the win, Greg achieved the fastest lap in the race overall, so not at bad first race of the season.
The start of Greg’s second race didn’t go much better than the first and he was yet again in third place, behind his same two rivals from the previous race! Time to find a way past was running out as the fifteen-minute race was nearly up, but Greg refused to “tyre”. The two cars in front were fighting for the lead position which led to a touch and slowed them both down. Greg spied his opportunity and had the run on both along a short straight and hugged the inside line approaching Island Bend, a tight right hairpin. The lead had changed hands by this point and Greg was pulling up inside the leader. However, they saw Greg’s approach and turned in early, but having already committed, Greg could not avoid contact and locked up in his effort to!
All three drivers exited the corner, but Greg unfortunately gave away a bigger lead, remaining in third position and with a slightly damaged car. Regardless, Greg quickly succeeded in getting back up to second and eventually stayed there after swapping places a few times. Greg finished in second once again and also achieved the second fastest lap of the day overall. Luckily the damage to the car was superficial, but the bumpers and bodywork now need some love: “I got two good results but there’s a slight feeling of what could have been, knowing the pace I had, and also some disappointment with the contact and damage. The fastest laps in each race meant bonus points which was some consolation.”
So where are we in the points table after the first meeting? Each driver has a “joker” to play which doubles the points won for the nominated race. However, the joker must be played before the start of the meeting and so before qualifying takes place. Greg played his in the first race (where he was 0.001 seconds off victory!!). This has left Greg in 1st place overall.
Next up is a triple header at Croft on the 4th and 5th of May. This is a circuit Greg has not raced at before, so Greg will be doing his research before he gets out on track, studying it with a keen eye!
To find out more and book your tickets to support Greg, click here. Or if you want to find out more about the Challenge and support Greg at another meeting, click here. Share this post, show your support for Greg and let us know what you think of the Tyres On The Drive car, the design or even the Challenge. We’d love to hear from you.