Subida Ubrique 2014

Event Report

Rfeda – National Spanish Hillclimb Championship – Round 2

Subida Ubrique 2014 – 26/27th April – Andalusia

Arrival to Spain on Thursday 24th early morning to collect the hire car and race car and van etc to drive via Ronda to Ubrique some 100 miles or so from Malaga. The Subida Ubrique is a big event in the calendar as it is the first round of the international Hillclimb championship, the first round of the FIA hillclimb cup, the first round of the European hillclimb championship, and the second round of the Spanish national Championship.

 As you can well imagine there was some serious competition, I was very hopeful and expectant of a good result as this was to be the 5th time I was to enter the event and as such knew the climb well. What I didn’t expect was how poorly the road surface had become over the winter period, there was more repairs in the tarmac where it had cracked and was falling away at the sides than a patchwork quilt. The bumps and undulations in the road turned out to be a nightmare for the Ginetta.

Parc Ferme – Plaza Del Toro Ubrique



We had managed a 11th position the previous year in the old car and a second overall in the Andalusian championship so as mentioned above I was hopeful of a good result again this time round, I expected to better my time with the Ginetta as it has much more torque, grunt as some say. My time last year was 2mins 35 seconds over the 4.54 kilometre run, which climbs at a fair rate, some 800 metres from start to finish. What I wasn’t aware of was that, as in the last round to attempt to slow the faster cars, a chicane had been placed on the long run out after the start up to the turn onto the mountain road, normally “flat in top” would be the order of the day along this section, and as such overall times would be reduced so no gauge could be made of what the winning times were likely to be.

The record up the Hill held Villarino in a V8 Norma was 2 mins 12 seconds, an overall average speed of 124 kilometres per hour. Check out youtube and you will see how unbelievable this time is.

We were in category 3 which is the main championship category for GT’s and Touring cars and the usual contenders were there along with a number of new faces from the other championships in various cars, mostly WRC’s or Porsches, so much to do.

 Saturday the event commenced with two practice runs, followed by an official timed run, the first of three that count towards the championship standings. The day started well with a 3rd fastest time, surprisingly to me to be honest as I didn’t think my run was that good after experiencing a great deal of unsettled driving over the bumpy road, in fact in two places my car took off over two of the bumps, not truly expected on a hillclimb event. The car was all over the place at high speed and expecially under braking so I was having to break much earlier than expected as I was afraid of throwing the car off the road. My time 2 mins 42 seconds, not great to be honest but 3rd place, i’d settle for that. There were about 5 cars behind me within 1 second, so all extremely close, certainly no room for error.

I had the opportunity to Recce the run on the Thursday afternoon after arriving in town in the hire car, I probably drove up and down the hill that day about thirty times to refresh my memory of the route, what I really didn’t get a feel of was how bad the surface was, road going suspension rides it much better than competition suspension. Obviously also recce speeds are nothing like the speed in competition. Mind you i did get myself up at 6.30 am the following day to again recce the route whilst there were no cars on the road, helpful when you want to use all the road to test!

Normally and naturally times improve each time you run up the hill so i was hoping to bring this down by possibly 2 or 3 seconds next time but i only made up 1 second in second practise, again suffering the same issues as the first run even after adjusting the settings to the shock absorbers and removing the rear anti roll bar to try and give me some more compliance and movement to deal with the poor road surface. Not a good time as it turned out at the end as all the close ones behind me leapfrogged ahead pushing me back down the order into 8th place. No worries the official scoring run was to follow and I would have an opportunity to pull out all the stops. I had tried pretty hard on the second run to be honest and sat scratching my head in the service area after as to where i could gain time but couldn’t think where as I knew that to push any more there was a good chance i would be on the ragged edge as one might say. The suspension on the car was proving to be no good on such a rough road, the suspension on the Ginetta is developed more for smooth circuits rather than what is effectively a short rally stage. All the other cars, the 4 Porsche GT3’s the Mosler even and the half dozen WRC’s were all running long travel rally specification shock absorbers and none of them were experiencing my problems, lack of grip under braking on many bends and the car being thrown all over the road. We now know what is needed in future a change in suspension for certain events. The next event, Rampa Falperra in Portugal in two weeks time is, i am reliably informed, as smooth as a circuit so we shouldn’t experience a problem.

So the final run on Saturday, virtually the same time as my second practice run 2 mins 41.9 secs and worse dropped to 9th position and 5th in class, I just couldn’t go any quicker without risking serious damage, go off on these events and its a long way down and total destruction of the car as a couple experienced over the weekend. 2 seconds separating 4th to myself in 9th place, very close but very disappointing.

Sunday was a new day, and morning dew and the road in the shade should produce a different result hopefully, it may just play into our hands as on the Sunday there was an early start, 10.00am one practice run followed by two timed runs so every chance to pull the scoring back where we need it to be. The first run was good and we were quickish again from the off, 5th place and just like Saturday a similar time of 2 mins  42.33 secs .

It was becoming obvious that the low 2 min 40’s were going to be as quick as we could be, safely as the next two runs, the official scoring rounds were 2 min 41.182 and 2 min 41.028 again both putting me in 9th position and 5th in the GT class to the winner, the Mosler and the 3 Porsche GT3’s.

So overall not my best result for quite sometime but this year truly is a development year for the car, we have made many changes since it was built. The power is good, the paddle change is fantastic and the new gear ratios are just right, except maybe not for the next event which I understand is very fast with many flat out high speed sections. A full suspension review is urgently needed.


The End of the Climb – Benaocaz Village Stunning views


Next event Rampa Falperra 10/11th May

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