Nurburgring: Full story,

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Under a now official banner of Wizerd Racing two cars were entered for the start of the FFR season. Beside the long time entrant Ed Waalewijn in his by now trusted van Diemen RF88 no 46, Joost Pluim continued his racing career, after a 29 year sabbatical, in a Wizerd Racing prepared and Apex sponsored van Diemen RF88 with no. 49. The technique was entrusted to our able engineer Tiny Lane, who also looked after our honorary member Alan Williamson. The location of the venue was the Nurburgring. When the calendar was presented it was questioned whether it was wise to have this event in the beginning of April. The sceptics were proven right as the Nurburgring gave us a piece of winter in what is supposed to be spring.

First qualifying

Saturday morning before our first qualification we had to brush the snow from our equipment that was not under the awning or the tent which had been kindly leant to us by Pewag. We could have used a few of their excellent snow chains as well given the weather conditions. The snow melted quickly to make place for fog. The practice was delayed by this so nobody could claim the title of “Nebelmeister”, which thus stays with it rightful owner Bernd Rosemeyer. After the fog cleared as sudden as it had appeared, we could start the season. For Joost these were not the ideal conditions to get familiar with a track he only knew from his computer. He however coped well under the circumstances and with only one excursion that gave no damage he gave a solid performance with a 2:53.2, which was good for 6th. Ed used his circuit knowledge to put in a fourth time with 2:50.3. Both driver didn't take any chances as it was clear that the second qualifying would probably be dryer and thus the decider. The fastest man on the track was Dieter Haeckel followed by Matthew Dean and Jaap Blijleven.

Second qualifying

The second practice was dryer than anybody expected. Most two-litres went out on rain tyres which were of no use. Both Wizerd Racing drivers went out with a wet set-up. The track had dried out and there were only patches of wet track. Given the conditions it was good to try to set a good time as early as possible as the dry spell could be over any minute in the overclouded Eiffel mountains. After four laps it started to drizzle and any hope of bettering your time was gone. It turned out that Joost had taken the number one spot in the team much to Ed's chagrin: he complained of traffic. Joost had managed a fourth place with a 2:23.6. Ed was fifth with 2:24.5. Pole for the 1600 class was for Dieter Haeckel (2:19.9), Matthew Dean 2nd (2:20.9) and Jaap Blijleven 3rd (2:21.0). The rest of the field was Nils Leuber (6 – 2:25.3), Roel Mulder (7 – 2:25.7), Alan Williamson (8 – 2:29.4), Rebecca Dean (9 – 2:29.7), newcomer Olaf Schulte (10 – 2:29.7), Roberto Kraft (11 – 2:34.2), Lober/Leuber (12 – 2:36.5) and last another newcomer Oliver Hartmann (13 – 2:38.4).

Gold Pokal

Joost was also entered for the Gold Pokal. The Gold Pokal is race in a race, for relatively little money, in which you can enter as an FFR driver in the HRA field or vice versa. The race would be held late Saturday afternoon. This would enable him to get some more track time to familiarize himself with the track before the FFR races. Unfortunately he didn't get past the first corner as he was caught out by the field braking earlier than he expected. He launched himself over another car and both ended up with very second hand cars in the gravel trap. Unfortunately the camera on his car malfunctioned so we can not show the actual incident. The aftermath is however recorded for posterity. Luckily all parts that were destroyed we had taken with us as spares so the car could be re-built for the main event – the FFR races. The first race would be held on Sunday at 12:30 so this left us the evening and the following morning to prepare the car again.