RAW Motorsports Ben Stone and Rob Wheldon had to overcome a number of problems at Silverstone, before finishing both Praga Cup races on the podium.
Saturday’s qualifying session gave them third on the grid on aggregate times, but the team faced a race against to make the start.
“We had a bolt break inside the rear wishbone, I finished the session but knew it didn’t feel right,” said Wheldon. “It was very loose at the rear,” Stone added.
With some swift work from the RAW crew, Wheldon was able to take up his place for the opening race and was into third place when Ben Collins ran wide at Becketts. A lap later at the same spot Stefano Leaney hesitated and Wheldon shot down the inside and was second onto the Wellington Straight.
With leader Scott Mittell then pulling off, Wheldon was the new leader, but was unable to shake-off second man Gordie Mutch.
It was becoming increasingly obvious that Wheldon had a problem though and he was finally forced to surrender his lead after 12 laps, dropping to fourth by the time he headed pitwards to hand to Stone.
“About five laps into the race we broke a front wishbone, so handling was difficult and braking on one wheel was horrific,” he explained. Stone persevered and despite having to serve a penalty for a pitstop infringement, he was suddenly back into contention as their rivals hit problems too.
Into the final laps and fourth became third and a surprising but well-deserved podium. “The handling just got worse, then stabilised, so it was so unpredictable,” said Stone.
Despite the wet conditions, the RAW duo combined to take pole position for Sunday’s race. “It was quite slippery, but the car felt well balanced in the wet,” Stone explained.
It was still damp for the start of the race and more rain expected, so it was wet tyres all round.
Stone made a perfect start and was 0.975 secs clear after the opening lap, before a couple of exchanges with Charles Hall over the next couple of laps, allowed third placed Shane Kelly to close.
By the end of the lap three Stone had been forced to give best to his more experienced rivals and was down to third, coming under increasing pressure from Jimmy Broadbent.
“I knew they would get passed, but we were lucky how things went,” said Stone.
But both of the lead pair were off at Luffield on the 16th lap and Stone was back into the lead, with just 0.365 secs in hand over Broadbent.
Kelly then caught up again and retook the lead on lap 21, only to run wide at Brooklands and hand it back again.
Stone finally had to surrender and pitted from second, with Wheldon rejoining fifth. They had been one of the first to stop and once the rest had been in too, Wheldon was settled in second again, 5.725 secs down on leader Mutch.
In the closing laps Leaney had started to close but Wheldon had enough in hand to claim second place and their second podium of the weekend, to put them back into the Praga Cup title race.
“We went the wrong way with the set up, so it was frustrating, the rest was fine,” Wheldon concluded.