Round Three: Slip sliding away09 June 2012
Following the problems experienced at Brands, team factotum KP has aquired and fitted a new Mechatronic unit to the car. Ths is the electo-hydraulic device that arranges the physical change of gears each time a shift paddle is pulled. During yesterday’s half pace wet run all seemed fine with the new installation, but with Saturday’s Quallifying session about to run on a dry track, the increased stress on the drivetrain will reveal the success or otherwise of the move.
In fact as Qually gets under way the gears change beautifully and for a couple of laps all’s well. Unfortunately on the third tour there is an unmistakeable and unwelcome flare of engine revs, signalling that the DSG clutches are slipping. The problem is at its worst through left hand corners and, as a counter-clockwise circuit; these are something that Rockingham has plenty of. At least the ‘box is no longer dropping out of the selected gear, as it had at Brands.
And then, without warning, a spin!
Oil, silently leaking past a ruptured gearbox seal, has found its way on to the rear tyre and as the car brakes for one of the haipins the consequences are inevitable. Luckily, I “lose it” at relatively low speed. Better here than on Rockingham’s signature “flat in fifth” banked turn one.
Debriefing with the KP, we conclude that the oil leak and the clutch slip are almost certainly related. Cure one and we will surely fix the other.
Under the circumstances 21st on the Grid, out of another bumper entry of 29 is not too bad.