Popping corks for our Prolific North nominations!
We’re thrilled to announce that First Internet has been shortlisted for not one, but two awards at Prolific North 2020!
20th August, 2020
We are excited to announce that this year First Internet is providing sponsorship for an XR2 race team for the 2020 Hyperdrive Motor Oils ST-XR Challenge season. The previous champion winner, Greg Speight, was previously sponsored by Tyres On The Drive and was looking for new sponsors for the new season and First Internet stepped up!
Before the season kicked off the car was liveried up in First Internet’s branding and boy does it look good! 😍
The first race of the season was of course delayed due to a certain global pandemic, but that gave the team even more time to prep the car.
Last season ended quite dramatically for the team, with a collision into the barrier in the final race, seeing an end to their championship dreams. The catastrophic end to last season meant the car was in need of more than just some TLC during the off season. Many hours were spent ensuring the car was ready for the first race of the season at Oulton and some pre-season testing proved that the car was back to its best.
There were also new regulations for this season in the Class A XR2s to consider – introduced to improve the power output of the engine in an attempt to bring them closer to the much more powerful Class D Fiesta ST 150s.
“The weather was wet and windy with no sign of it drying up. The first few laps were taken at a steady pace whilst warming up the tyres and finding some grip, it was towards the end of the session where I started to push. Unfortunately, with the circuit being incredibly slippery the last two laps of qualifying were disallowed due to having to miss out a chicane as the car was not responding to braking or turning of the steering wheel! The wheels simply locked up and skidded no matter how gently I applied to brake. Qualifying 8th overall and 2nd in class was disappointing but I knew there was more to come from both myself and the car.
The conditions were still wet but the rain had actually stopped for 20 minutes or so before the race. The million-dollar question now was the rain going to stay away? I decided to go with a fairly conservative set up which was more wet than dry! As the lights went out for the race I got away well and with the heavier Fiesta STs around me I was up to fourth exiting the first corner. The leading XR2 had some difficulties at the first corner and re-joined further down the pack so I was now leading my class. The additional power of the STs meant I had to defend my position as they threatened to come past but the agility of the XR2 saw a slight gap open up after a few more corners. The third placed car then made a mistake in front of me half way around the circuit which let me past and I was up to third after the first lap. At this point the two leading STs were a fair distance in front, I maintained the gap to the drivers behind as the weather slowly worsened to heavy rain towards the end of the race. Finishing 3rd overall and 1st in class was a good result.
Weather conditions were again changeable as the second race approached and a decision was made to go with a more aggressive set up to take advantage of the drying conditions. Another good start saw me pull alongside second place going into the first comer, however this was short lived as the other car had the inside line and moved in front. For the next few corners I was bumper to bumper but the better powered ST slowly pulled away and I was left in third for the remainder of the race. There were several cars chasing hard behind which meant I had to keep pushing to avoid being caught and overtaken. The rain started again for the last few laps but not heavy enough to cause any problems.
So two podium finishes and two class wins was not to be sniffed at after a disappointing qualifying. The next challenge is now to try and get the First Internet XR 2 closer and compete with the leading STs.”
The race was streamed live on Facebook, if you want to see for yourself, click here.
The First Internet XR2 will be racing next at Angelsey Circuit on the 22nd and 23rd August – see ya there 😉.
If you want to find out more about the Hyperdrive Motor Oils ST-XR Challenge, visit their site.
3rd August, 2020