SUNDAY 4 SEPTEMBER 2011
BALANCE OF PERFORMANCE CORRECTED AT ROCKINGHAM
With the Northern European Motor Sport vaction now behind them, Allan Simonsen was looking forward to getting back to racing.

The break had been good for all allowing time to recharge ones batteries and not do battle with airline security for a month.

Allan had departed the last BGT round at Spa, comfortable that it would be the last time he would be pedalling the trusty Ferrari 430 Scuderia, after Hector Lester committed to a new 2011 spec vehicle.
But as the days went past it was clear that getting your hands on something more competitive was not so easy and as the final days approached before Rockingham, the Rosso Verde Team elected to sit out the event, rather than suffer the embarassment of running well down the field.

That was however the plan up until the 'Balance of Performance' was distributed allowing the 430 to completely remove the air restrictor. With that consession, it was full steam ahead to Rockingham.

Unfortunately, the short time frame meant that the official Ferrari GT3 tuner, Kessell, would not have sufficient time to recalibrate the ECU, meaning the team would have to wing it with what they have got. Yet despite the lack of remapping everyone was upbeat about the BoP change and felt it was a opportunity that could not be missed.

As the first practice session got underway, the team was full of hope, but it did not translate as expected, with the car not getting near the top of the speed trap. It now looked like it was along weekend ahead. Despite the initial disappointment the car was 6th fastest going on to being the quickest when using a qualfying setup!

Hector went out for the first part of qualifying an put in a very repsectable 12th place out of the 22 car field, now comprised of mostly new generation cars.

Allan was next and jumped to the front of the queue – traffic would be a big drama in Q if he encountered any – putting in a strong lap on new tyres to claim 6th grid position.

The next morning, in the warm-up, it was raining – just what Allan was looking for – and it showed, setting the fastest time, a full scond ahead of the rest.

Race 1: The rain had now stopped but the skies looked ominous. Hector was in the car and was asked if he was game enough to risk running on slicks. He was. If that was to play out in his favour, the remainder of the field being on wets, then a win could be on the cards.

As Hector trundled around on the warm-up lap he could see that it was the right call for tyres, at that moment, with a mostly drying track.

Virtually every other team made the same call, on the grid, except the SLS and Aston Martin.

The race got away well but by lap 3, darker clouds appeared, then rain.

Most came in for wets, but the team left Hector out in the hope it would swing back our way. It didn't. Such is the gamble one takes in typical English weather! A quick pit and swap to wets left us now 2 laps behind the leaders.

Twenty three minutes down and it was time for Allan to get onboard, returning to the track and circulating 2 seconds better than the rest of the field. By race end, he'd unlapped himself from P15 and into P6. It wasn't a win but the variable nature of the weather and other drivers made it tactical fun.

Race 2: With the track now almost dry it was a slick tyre start. Allan moved from P6 to P4. But with the dry track came the return of the next generation cars. Two cars passed him before a crackle over the radio informed him that he was due for a drive through penalty for cutting a corner.

Usually one gets a warning, not an immediate penalty, but as he pitted to serve the misdemeanor, so did three other cars. In fact seven cars would fall foul to the overly harsh new track marshall at Turn 9.

Thirty seven minutes down and Allan swapped with Hector, who utilsed the relatively unused slicks from R1 to bring the car home in a well earnt P8.

A fitting ending for the old Italian warhorse, who has performed so well over the last three seasons, but now destined for a softer life of club racing or an enthusiast collection.

Next weekend: Silverstone LMS 4 and then onto Australia for the 500km V8 Supercar enduro at Phillip Island.