Tony Gilham
Team Hard

Howard Goes HARD. At Silverstone

Howard Goes HARD. At Silverstone

Oct 17, 2012
Silverstone Blog by Howard ‘the lunger’ Fuller 2012.

I’m delighted to be back in BTCC in the Honda civic with Team HARD and ready to show the grid I deserve to be here.

Two very good practice sessions put us 12th and 10th and just looking at sector times and speed traps we knew that a top 10 this weekend was in the bag! Silverstone is a circuit I really enjoy racing at, and have always gone well here.

Q1.

A good start to qualifying, scrubbed all the tyres I’ll be using over the weekend and ready to punch in 3 quick laps. Feeling very confident that I’ll brake the Top 10 barrier.

But as I was lining up for a quick lap I felt the car vibrating and pulling to the left. Thinking it was just the new tyres getting up to temperature with possible pick up on the tyres I continued with my lap. Was getting worse. I called the issue in on the radio and was instructed to do at least one lap! Despite the problem it looked like it was going to be a quick first run but got help up at the last corner! Lost valuable time and only put us P16. I can into the pit the following lap. Game over. A drive shaft problem took us out of qualifying only 0.7 from pole. The whole team, me and my family where gutted.

There was still plenty of positives to take away and was more than ready for Race 1!

R1.

A disappointing qualifying meant us starting way down in P16 but was very keen to push my way through the field in quick secession! Good start off the line and moving up a few places going into turn 1, a little contact on the way but nothing we couldn’t handle!
Straight away it was apparent that a good result was on the cards with a good few laps but an incident at turn 1 almost put us out the race! ES racing’s Chris James sent his car down the inside out of nowhere and seriously crippled the car. Just managing to continue but losing many places as a result.

The red mist descended. All or nothing, needed a good result or it meant starting right at the back for Race2! I drove as hard as I could, picking well established drivers one by one into the braking zones. But one driver Gordon Shedden wasn’t going to be so easy. Defending very hard but a great exit out the last corner got me ever so closer to the tail of the fast Honda Racing car. A late but clear move on the inside of turn 1 seemed done but he didn’t think so. Turned in and wiped me out! Yet more action at Silverstone! All my hard work back up to 10 lost. But yet again managed to save it. A very side ways Green and Pink civic facing the pit wall was a scary moment but the jump on the throttle saved us. Losing 3 places in the process but again I drove to the flag just getting P11.

R2.

After an interesting first race myself and the team where fired up and a good starting position meant a possible top 6 was on the cards. But we ran out of luck yet again. More drive shaft problems meant I rolled to my starting grid with no power. The check under the bonnet and the nodding heads of the mechanics meant it was game over. Pushed of the grid back into the garage. Gutted.

We missed the start of the race but the boys worked flat out and managed to get me out for the final 5 laps! This was a great chance to test the car out after its repairs and bed some new discs and pads for the final race of the day!

R3.

Race 3 from last. A place I haven’t been for awhile, all geared up and ready for do or die race on the mixed grid. The car felt great on the laps I did previous. A good start and first lap. Was able to pick my line going onto the long straight out dragging and overtaking into the tricky right hander. Luck was with me as drivers in front feel off the track. Each lap we gained places but with a few yellow flags out at key overtaking opportunities meant progress was slow. Pushing super hard I got throw the mid pack and hunting down the MG of Andy Neate and the Redstone boys in the Fords. Needed to bring down a 9second gap and pass in 3 laps. Full beam on. Flashing down the straights doing everything to distract them. Closer and closer every lap and it came down to the final few corners. A good exit onto the straight meant I was able to do a very late lunge but was squeezed onto the grass, losing momentum. A drag to the finish line and with only 0.109 of a second between us got us P12!

A disqualifying of a driver in front put us P11. Result!

In summary a very exciting BTCC weekend, with lots of positives to take away. Very unlucky at times but managed to get good results regardless. Big thanks to Team HARD and Tony Gilham for giving me this rare opportunity and looking forward to more action in 2013!



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Tony Gilham

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