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This was the 10th and final VLN race of the 2004 season. This time, Team
Schwedenkreuz's goal was simply to finish no matter what was thrown at them. The drivers for the event were Johan Nimmersjö, Jonathan Petterson and Joachim Qvarnström.



The practice day on Friday took place on a very cold and damp track. The
greasy surface resulted in many cars crashing, which brought out the red
flags twice. This meant the team only had 1 hour's track time to set the car
up for Saturday's race.

Saturday morning started off typically cold, and the track was, as expected,
wet. Hoping that it would dry quickly, it was decided that slicks would be
used for qualifying. After a half-hour wait, it was clear that the circuit
was not going to get any drier, so Joachim ventured out first for his
official timed lap, and returned almost terrified of how slippery it was.
Next out was Johan, who returned similarly suprised about the lack of grip.
With no real time to change to a wets, Jonathan was last out. He had the
same experience, and since each driver had completed the one required lap,
the decision was taken to give it a rest in order to save the car from wear
and not risk a crash. The best qualifying lap time was 10:53.386 resulting
in a starting position of 69th overall. Not that great, but the 4 hour race
would give plenty of time to improve that situation!


At the start of the race, Joachim set off for the 1st stint and on his 3rd
lap he set the record time for our car at 9:33. He was quick and consistent
for the rest of his hour, and handed the wheel over to Johan, complaining of
bad understeer. However, the team was now up into 4th place in class and
Johan continued with a very strong pace despite lapping many slower cars
throughout his drive. He had taken the team up into 3rd in class just as he
handed over to Jonathan. Johan concurred with Joachim's points about
understeer.



However, there was no time to change the setup, so Jonathan set
off next for his stint. On his 5th lap while overtaking slower cars in one
of the final corners, Galgenkopf, the clutch decided that enough was enough.
Jonathan had to change gear without use of the clutch but still managed to
get back to the pits without losing too much time. The mechanics immediately
diagnosed the problem as clutch failure but the gearbox still appeared to be
fine.

Joachim's many years of rally experience, has driven without a clutch on
several occasions, so he was bump-started out of the pits in 2nd gear and
off he went. Unfortunately, he came straight back into the pits after one
short lap. The gear lever was vibrating erratically when the power was on,
and it was clear that there was no way it would last the final hour of
punishment. Therefore the team elected to stay in the pits until just before
the end of the race, and then do the final lap in order to try to finish.
After 45 minutes the race car was bump started again in the hope that the
car would last the 25km lap, plus the few km more to reach Parc Fermé.

After what seemed like an eternity, he came into view down the pit straight,
driving very slowly, but he cruised across the line to take the chequered
flag, and managed to drive all the way around the GP track into Parc Fermé.
The car had finished!

As it came to a halt in Parc Fermé, the car gave out a sigh of relief. We
had finished 5th in class; not too bad considering the last lap took 1hour
and 18 minutes.

It is unclear whether we were in 3rd or 2nd place when the clutch decided to
give up, but the car leading at that time didn't finish and another close
competitor was also confined to the pits for quite a while with mechanical
problems, so without clutch and gearbox problems we might have been in a
winning position.

It is evident that the car is now fast and the driving crew is up to the
task. We are already fighting at the top against teams with much bigger
budgets and cars based on motorsport bodyshells, where our car is based on a road car. For next year we will have a new car based on a motorsport shell
and many other improvements - then we will back fighting regularly for victory!

 

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Johan,

It's a pity that you guys missed a possible win opportunity. Nevertheless, I salute your determination and courage throughout the learning year. I wish the best of luck next year with more experience under the belt and a cracking new car.

Cheers, :cheers:

Ufuk
 

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Fantastic story and race Johan!

Please keep us updated on the new car, what will you be doing with the mini beast?

all the best
adam
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Dirim said:
Johan,

It's a pity that you guys missed a possible win opportunity. Nevertheless, I salute your determination and courage throughout the learning year. I wish the best of luck next year with more experience under the belt and a cracking new car.

Cheers, :cheers:

Ufuk
Thanks a lot! :cheers:

/Johan
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Adam said:
Fantastic story and race Johan!

Please keep us updated on the new car, what will you be doing with the mini beast?

all the best
adam
Thanks Adam!

The mini beast might be a 2nd race or spare car.

Cheers,
/Johan
 
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