Monoposto Rds 9 & 10 - Silverstone GP - 14/15th August
The Leastone team visited Silverstone’s Grand Prix circuit for rounds 9 and 10 of the Monoposto championship, rounds which saw a whopping 51 car entry. Karl O’Brien looked to build on his strong debut at Oulton Park last month, while Morgan McCourt was hoping to continue his run of top 10 finishes in the MonoMoto 1000 class.
A solid days testing had the team on good footing entering qualifying around the 5.89km Northamptonshire track, and Karl logged a lap good enough for 4th in class (11th overall), with Morgan lining up 10th in class (34th overall) for Race 1.
The 51 car field made for an impressive sight as the green flag was shown on the old pit straight and Karl immediately settled into 4th place. The high speed nature of the track highlighted the straight line deficit to the more powerful machinery, so he began to focus on consistent lap times, gradually chipping away at his qualifying time. Morgan was buried in the cut and thrust of the mid field and was making steady progress in the early laps, pulling himself up to 8th in class and 27th overall.
This remained the running order for the early phase of the race, until lap 5 when it all when wrong for the Leastone drivers. Karl lost drive early in the lap, with what turned out to be a snapped chain and later on the same lap, Morgan ended up with heavy damage following a collision with a fellow competitor.
Unfortunately, due to the force of the impact in Saturday’s shunt, Morgan was unable to take his grid slot for Sundays race. Karl pretty much had a mirror performance in the opening laps to that of his Saturday race, holding firm in the top 5, when all of a sudden, he began to lose pace.
By the midpoint of the race, it was clear his Leastone 1000 was lacking power as he began to slip down the order and the team could tell from trackside that all was not well with his exhaust system. As the problem got progressively worse, the teenager made the decision to park the car on the penultimate lap, so as to prevent any potentially terminal damage to the power unit. Upon the cars return to the paddock, it was discovered that an exhaust manifold had cracked.
‘A frustrating weekend from a results perspective, but again we showed good consistent pace against the Jedis. Hopefully these are just ‘early’ season teething issues stemming from lack of running but either way, to race this car around the Silverstone Grand Prix layout was phenomenal! I think they refer to this as a character building weekend so we will look to the next round’ commented Karl post-race.
The Monoposto circus next visits another historical venue, when they travel to Donington Park on September 18/19th for a triple header that will round out the 2021 season.