Mallory Park 18th April 2010



The qualifying session was taken at a steady pace as the brakes had to be bedded in and the car 'shaken down' to a certain extent as there had been no time to test after changes to the bushes and geometry. After several slow laps some faster paced laps were attempted and it was discovered that the tyre pressures were a little to high causing understeer through the Esses. Darren’s qualifying position for race 1, 8th overall and 2nd in Class. Adrian Howells in another Subaru Cup car had a fantastic qualifying session to put him third overall on the grid for the first race which meant some serious work was required for the race to get on the pace.

Race 1

After adjustment to the tyre pressures it was down to race 1. There were several two wheel drive cars in front which were the target for the start. This came to fruition from the start and 5th position. However, the lighter Swift of Andy McLennan, and the Nissan of Steve Burke, with slightly more grunt and much better brakes got past into the Esses. The pace was hot and the group of McLennan, Burke, Turner & Hughes stayed together until the back markers came into play. The much slower paced MR2's made it difficult to pass on such a short circuit which was not helped by the fact there were groups of three or four involved in their own battles. After negotiating the traffic there was no chance to get back on the tail of the cars in front and with an 8 second gap to the man behind, tyre preservation was the sensible option. The result was pleasing for Darren though, with a 6th place and lap times on par with Adrian Howells which looked good for the second race. Result in race 1 6th overall, 2nd in class.

Race 2

Although 6th for race two, the Mazda RX7 of Maxim Taylor had suffered waste gate problems and did not take the grid for the second race. This gave Darren a good sighting for the first corner. Once again a good start catapulted Darren past the two wheel drive cars and on to the tail of Adrian Howells in the other Subaru Cup car. After some dicing for second place with Adrian a slight mistake on the exit of Gerrards allowed, once again the Nissan of Steve Burke and the Suzuki Swift of Andy McLennan through on lap5. Again back markers started to make their presence felt although this time for some laps it worked in Darren’s favour allowing him to catch the Swift. However on lap 11 an MR2 jumped out of Darren's way at the sight of a blue flag, into the hairpin and spun. With nowhere to go Darren t-boned the MR2 and spun into the wall on the inside of the circuit. With relatively minor front end damage Darren continued without loosing a place. Result a 5th position overall and 2nd in the Subaru Cup once again.

Overall a good weekend for Darren who is finally getting to grips with his new steed. It had the pace and is a well sorted car. With some suspension ride height and geometry work to do with the added front end damage it will be a busy few weeks until Snetterton.

Many thanks to Paul at Arden Bridge Subaru for some last minute suspension bush replacements being fitted and for his effort thus far for the help provided and also to Opie Oils for the provision of fluids for the car.

About Darren Hughes

  • Darren has previously helped prepare racing cars for his friend Karen for the MR2 Challenge and Nippon Challenge series. This will be his forth season in racing having successfully completed three years with excellent results in 2010 and narrowly missing out on the title. In 2012 Darren was forced to take a break from racing due to budget constraints but this year he will be competing again in the same race series, sponsored by Arden Bridge Subaru and will be looking to take the top step of the podium regularly.
  • Please check this site regularly for updates on Darren's preparations and his progress throughout the season.

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