David Paveley has sent us news :3gears-rh
The Silverstone Autosport GpB Mazda RX7 made a return to International rallying on Saturday’s Boucles de Spa event in Belgium recording a 2nd fastest overall stage time on stage 3 of the event.
The UK crew of David Paveley and Andy Bull faced an uphill struggle when no all-weather or snow tyres could be made available for the snow and ice covered stages in east Belgium.
Instead the crew gambled on a set of single venue Dunlop A2’s which made driving the car on the slippery sections very entertaining for the spectators and kept Dave and Andy busy in the car.
“We really struggled on the first 2 stages, as did our team mate Francois Chatriot in the sister car. We did push when there was grip and lead Francois by over 40 places in the overall results, so we knew we were doing the best we could with what tyres we had available to the team”, commented Dave. “On stage 3 we saw our chance as there was little snow, so I pushed as hard as I dared - we knew it was going well when half way through the stage we caught a Porsche 911 that had pushed us on the previous snowy stage. At the end we were 2.9 seconds short of recording a stage win, which was frustrating having followed the Porsche for most of the last quarter of the stage, but rewarding for the team as they have worked so hard to get the car to the level it is at now”.
The crew had indeed beaten on stage 3 not only the fastest drivers in Belgium, including multiple Belgian Champions, but also previous World Champions and current WRC stars.
The tyre situation was to worsen and on stage 9 the tyres completely ran out of grip and on a straight section of road the car aquaplaned through a fence and into a field damaging the headlamps. The organisers would not let the crew continue without forward facing lights sending the car into retirement.
“It was a shame to end the rally in this way, but in retrospect we proved that the car and team are now ready to run at the front, and a rally win is now in reach. We can now go back to testing and complete our set up work with a lot of data to draw upon, from what was the ultimate test for a young team and a very unusual car”, said Dave.
The team are now considering taking in events in Portugal and Holland in the exciting GpB Mazda Rx7. Team and car owner Steve Hopewell said, “I think the entire team did a fantastic job to get the car to where it is now, considering we had no data on the car, and after the first event we had a very long job list. The feedback from Dave and Andy is very positive and it doesn’t look like we have much to do to prepare the car for the next event, so hopefully we can spend a day testing to fine tune the suspension, and then I am sure good results will come later in the year. On behalf of myself, Dave and Andy, I would like to thank The Silverstone Autosport lads Dwayne Aisalabee, Colin Treeby and Pete Beer who have quite literally turned a museum piece back into a competitive rally car.”