Monday, August 11, 2008

Round 5 Seattle

This season has been rough for our RS-R Scion team. At almost every event, we have had trouble with the RS-R Scion tC. This time at Seattle, we had lost the one and only clutch we had. During Thursday’s practice, everything went smooth. The track layout was not set for Formula D so we were just practicing what was though to be the layout. I felt pretty confident for the weekend. At this point, there were no problems with the car.
During the morning practice on Friday, I had a rough time adjusting to the new layout since the track had tightened up a little bit. As soon as I drove through the proper line, I felt confident once again. I saw a bright weekend ahead of us. The Toyo Proxes R1Rs felt great too! They would have my tc stick to the ground while maintaining a high degree of angle and smoke too.
Then came the unimaginable. I felt something weird as I shifted through the gears on the straight. The clutch pedal felt like a sponge. It would go down but had a hard time coming back up. I told my team to take a look at it as there might be a leak or something in the line. It kept getting worse run after run. At one point, I came back into the pit with the clutch pedal on the floor while the clutch was still engaged. Even if I depressed the clutch, it was not disengaging. We had come to conclusion that the clutch master cylinder had gone. Thankfully, the Scion Racing truck had a tC on display. Steve was generous as he had let us swap the master cylinders. My team swapped out the master cylinder and we called it a night. Hopefully, this had solved the problem. Practice for that day was over so I had to wait until Saturday to test out the car.
It did not take me long to find out that car was not fixed during practice on Saturday. This time, it was worse. After bleeding the clutch line, I would only have one chance to depress the clutch and get the car running. But If I do that, I wouldn’t have a clutch to initiate the drift into the bank. I was in trouble. Not only was this hard to do, but also dangerous. If I go straight toward the bank entry right next to the wall and try kicking the clutch, but find myself missing a clutch, I would be in the wall. My team had considered retiring from the event if we came to conclusion that this was too much of a risk. But I don’t like giving up no matter what. If there is a slight chance of running, I will take that risk even if it is a dangerous risk. I somehow convinced them that this could be done.
For qualify, I had them push the car a little so I can slam the car into gear (thank you g-force dog rings!) Once the car was in gear, I would shift up without the clutch. As I approached the bank, I said a little prayer and then BAM! I kicked the clutch. I felt the car drift and I was full throttle once again drifting high bank. I scored a 91.33 and qualified 16th. “Not bad” I thought to myself considering the condition we were in. The only problem was, if I didn’t have a clutch, I would not have a side-brake either. This was bad for tandem. I ended up losing to Samuel Hubinette.