Rfeda – National Spanish Hillclimb Championship – Round 3

Event Report

Rfeda – National Spanish Hillclimb Championship – Round 3

Rampa Falperra 2014 – 10/11th May – Braga, Portugal

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A logistical nightmare this last weekend organising getting the car across spain and up through Portugal to the top end from Malaga, a good 10 hour drive. Neil my Chief and British half of the support crew flew into Malaga on Thursday the 8th to prepare the car at the other half and Spanish arm of the support crews facilities, Dani Ortiz thankfully a guy who is not only a very experienced and capable motorsport mechanic but is also multi lingual, English, Portugese and Italian are all part of his repertoire!

Rampa (Rise to) Falperra is a very famous round of the International Hillclimb calendar as well as the national portugese round, Spanish national championship and European championship round, hence 152 vehicles of various formulas, GT’s, Touring cars, WRC’s, one make challenge vehicles, Historics, Classics, you name it it has it. (Check out the images on google for the event) for those with motorsport in their blood this is the event to go and see, in the words of one of the major competition tyre suppliers in the UK, it will blow your mind. In the region of 200,000 spectators were expected over the weekend period.

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A vast Variety of cars from Formulas to historics

As is the norm with these events the local authorities contribute greatly towards the organisation, planning, security of the vehicles and promotion. Braga’s team of organisers had undoubtedly put in a serious amount of effort which certainly paid off, scrutineering and the following vehicle display was in the centre of the city bringing what is a very busy place (The size of say Leeds) to a virtual standstill. The cars were displayed around a ornate central plaza and fountains etc, and hey as is usual as it seems the Ginetta was positioned centre stage!

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The event started proper early on Saturday morning, as there were so many vehicles, each run, 4 of on Saturday, takes 2 and a half hours cars running at 30 second intervals and that’s without any delays through crashes and oil spillages etc. 9.00am kick off, we seeded 11 in the touring car category after all the formulas (single seater stuff) and CM classes, weren’t off until around 11.00am so plenty of time to prepare. Sure enough delays right from the start, there was low cloud reducing vision still at 9.00am so the clerk of the course, Race director and FIA chap in support decided, rightly, to delay proceedings until Marshalls could physically see from one station to the next. 10.00am kick off so lunchtime for us before any actual practise runs. There can be long delays between runs to be honest. It would be nearly 9.30 in the evening before we got to pack up and return to hotels for showers and dinner, a long day having been up since 7 am.

I’d done my usual, recce’d the climb early Friday morning, me having flown into Porto in northern Portugal late Thursday evening, hired a car and driven the half hour ride to Braga. Up at 6 am and out up the hill whilst there was no traffic around. I had been told that the road was very smooth and extremely fast and that in many places we would be flat out in top. That being the case we were hopeful that we wouldn’t suffer the suspension problems we had on the previous event, this soon proved to be the case.

The recce certainly paid off as my first run up the hill was a good one, 2 mins 32 seconds and 3rd fastest amongst the GT’s and touring cars etc in my championship, not bad, quite a few behind the Mosler and another seriously powerful car a WRC Mitsubishi EVO and ahead of the GT3 porsches etc by 3 seconds and another contender in a Seat Cordoba WRC. The Ginetta performed superb, pulled well and I believe impressed the throngs of spectators judging by the vast amount of hand signals and clapping on the trip back to service returning back down the hill climb. What we are finding is that as a break from the norm and as an impressive looking car everybody seems to love what they see and to many petrol heads love what they hear.

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Fly the British Flag is what I say, again I do believe that the Ginetta was one of the most photographed and video’d cars of the event.

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Happy with first practise and knowing that there was and always is room for improvement the weekend had promise of a podium on a national championship round for the first time. Second practise great a couple of seconds quicker and holding 3rd place, 2nd GT to the mosler in 1st place and still behind the Mitsubishi, 2 seconds ahead of the Porsche and 2009 champion Maldonado. The next two runs were the important ones the two that would decide positions and points for the day so all to do next. The first run a great run, again a bit quicker and held position in third, 2 seconds still ahead of the Porsche in fourth but one more run before the end of the day. A good run but not any quicker at all, hit the wall as they say obviously, but the Porsche pipped me by 1 second but thankfully on aggregate I held my third place by 1 second, phew a close call. 2 mins 30.7 seconds was my best time of the day, the Mitsubishi 2 mins 27 but the Mosler 2 mins 17 seconds, a massive distance ahead of us all, it does help having some 700 BHP!!

Earlier I said that this hillclimb achieves the highest overall average speeds of the championship calendar and probably more than most throughout Europe my best average over the weekend was 125.5 KM/hr and a time of 2 min 29.2 secs achieved on Sunday. The fastest was an Italian Simone Faggiole with a time of 1 min 50.386 seconds and speed of 169km/hr  in a Norma M20FC Unbelievable and a new Hill record by 5 seconds over the previous year set by the same guy. I was flat in top on a couple of occasions hitting the rev limiter and looking for a 7th gear!

Sunday the following day is always a new day, new weather conditions, road temperatures, humidity issues and morning dew always affect speeds and as such you forget your times of the previous day and start all over from scratch. Two runs on Sunday, the first the practise and the second the official timed and scoring run. Practise good and again 3rd quickest and a comfortable gap to the Porsche behind me, no chance of beating either the Mosler or the Mitsubishi

The next and final run of the event was again important but I was confident of a repeat result of Saturday. On passing the time clock after the finish line i’d seen that I’d broken the 2 min 30 second mark with a 2 min 29.2 so was happy and confident.

 The Porsche came in behind me and somehow he’d pulled a faster time, his best of the weekend and just piped me into fourth place but overall on aggregate we were classed 3rd and 2nd GT.

Bring on the new suspension, hopefully for the event at the back end of June.

 

 

 

Next event Subida Al Fito 17/18th May . www.subidaalfito.com

 

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