Pro-R Time Attack, Close, but No Cigar at Brands Hatch

Despite a sterling effort from the team and some simply stunning driving from wheelman Ben Shimmin, the Pro-R backed STI hatch left last weekends round of Time Attack - held at the iconic Brands Hatch circuit - empty handed.

The Cross Roads team, the technical talent behind the car, had been working all through the night for two days straight before the event to prepare an all-new engine for this round. This, and the ceaseless efforts of TDRacing saw the car delivered to the circuit in the nick of time, with just a few hours to spare before the lights went out for the first practise session. Although this gave Shimmin the luxury of an all-new power plant, it did rob him of any chance of testingand meant that he would have to take things relatively easy in early sessions to ensure that the engine could run-in properly.

Despite the orders from team boss Jon Mathers to do just that, Shimmin was clearly quick from the off, recording a second-fastest time in the first practise session - a lap time just 0.47 seconds slower than front man Marc Kemp in his rapid Evo 3. The weather was incredibly changeable throughout all of the Club sessions, making it hard for every driver to pick an optimum time in each 20 minute window to find the perfect lap.  With the track going from wet to dry to deluged in both the qualifying and final sessions, it was very much a case of trying to hook up that one dry, traffic free lap amongst a sea of similarly quick cars.

Qualifying saw a creditable 4th place overall, despite recording a third fastest second sector time and saw Shimmin making the best of the prevailing conditions. Just 1.22 seconds split the 5 front cars in this session, showing just how close the cars run at this level of competition.

Looking quick from the first lap, the final was to prove similarly close. It was the weather that was to prove to be the teams undoing this time with some of the other quick cars choosing to lay down their banzai laps down in the first few minutes. Then, as the heavens opened once again, it was impossible for almost any of the cars to replicate their earlier form, with all suffering from a distinct lack of grip and a track that quickly resembled a lake! Despite this, Shimmin drove carefully and thoughtfully to hang on to his 4th in class spot, missing out on the podium by a margin of just 0.2 of a second!

Speaking after the race, Shimmin was philosophical about it all. The team really couldnt have done any more for me this weekend, he said. They have all been fantastic and everyone has gone above and beyond the call of duty. I really appreciate it. Its frustrating to be so close to the podium after all that effort, but theres a lot of luck in this sport, and those that went quick early in the session were rewarded. Im sure if we had seen a dry track later in the run, we could have fought back.. but it is what it is. Were all still very happy with the result.

As usual, the Subaru Pro-R roadshow was very much in evidence with the new BRZ being debuted for the first to an appreciative public, the Pro-R/Pioneer audio car scooping top honours in the EMMA Audio Sound Off Competition and two Pro-R equipped 340bhp STIs acting as VIP Taxis for high-speed passenger thrill laps between races. The team may not have won any trophies this time, but theyand the BRZdoubtless won the hearts of many race-goers!


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