Despite starting in the 6th row due to an encouraging qualifying round, CTR’s recent opening race at this season’s final race at Brands Hatch ended in a spectacular crash due to severe weather conditions.
The appallingly wet conditions meant the team had to alter the outfit’s suspension and braking settings, as well as fitting wet weather tyres. The team went to the grid knowing that a good start would be essential in order to minimise the spray from other competitors’ tyres impending the drivers vision. At the end of the first lap, CTR was really making progress and was up to 10th place and really flying, picking up places and setting the 7th fastest lap. By the end of lap 7, the CTR sidecar was up to an impressive 6th place but then disaster struck as CTR headed downhill into the Graham Hill bend; the sidecar aquaplaned and spun, the momentum sending it over onto its roof. The passenger was thrown clear, but Craig the driver was trapped inside the bodywork. Luckily, when the marshals righted the overturned LCR Suzuki back onto its wheels, Craig emerged with just a sore shoulder.
Back in the paddock, the damage was assessed, and the chassis given a thorough inspection. Once the undertray was straightened and the rear section of the bodywork was patched up, the outfit was given a clean bill of health and was deemed safe to compete in the day’s second race. After the initial frustration of crashing out, CTR were more upbeat after studying the time sheets. In addition to setting the 7th fastest lap, they had been 3rd quickest through the first speed trap, fastest through the second, and 4th through the third. The afternoon’s weather was improving and the track drying out, but the sky still looked formidable and overcast, which meant a dilemma for the team; choice of tyres would be crucial in the race due to the unpredictable forecast. It was decided to start with intermediate tyres, and take wet weather ones to the pit lane in case of heavy rain.
Due to crashing out in the first race, CTR had to start from 19th place on the grid, so as soon as the race started, they began to pick their way through the field, and had reached 11th place by lap 5. They then had to battle with the number 70 outfit, but by then, their tyres had gone past their best, and despite a last corner dive to overtake, it was not to be, and the CTR sidecar came in at a disappointing 12th place.
CTR Principal and driver, Craig Chaplow, said ” the list of people, who we must thank for this season, is huge, but to all our sponsors, core team members, guests and passengers, I offer a special thanks. It is my ambition to be back on the grid next year fitter, stronger and gunning for a top 5 in next year’s British F1 Sidecar Championship”.