The penultimate race meeting took us to Donington Park near Castle Donington in Leicestershire. There are two track configurations here and this year we were on the National track, a layout I was yet to experience. With a track length of 2 miles and fast and flowing corners, this promised to be a great weekend of close racing.
An exceptional qualifying session highlighted by outstanding teamwork between Beau and ourselves. We took the lead for the first half of the session, with Beau strategically following to benefit from the slipstream before swapping positions for the second half. Beau maintained the fastest lap until the very last lap, where we managed to edge ahead by a mere 0.057 seconds. Notably, Jon Pethick clocked a lap time between ours and Beau's, resulting in the top three qualifiers being separated by just 0.057 seconds. This promised an exciting and closely contested race ahead!
We got off to an excellent start as we approached the initial corner, Redgate, securing the lead. By the time we reached the second lap, we had successfully created a gap of nearly 2 seconds ahead of Pimley, second place in the championship and chasing. As for the rest of this first race, there's not much more to recount. Throughout the remaining 10 laps, Pimley made two failed attempts to overtake us but we maintained our lead throughout the entire race. However, we encountered a setback with two 5-second penalties for exceeding track limits. As a result of this cumulative 10-second penalty, we were relegated to fifth place in the race. It's worth acknowledging the great performance of team mate, Beau Parry, who secured his first victory of the season. Congratulations, Beau!
In our second race of the day, a previous accident in an earlier race, involving team mate Liz Walton, thankfully left all drivers unharmed. However, our race duration was now reduced to just 10 minutes. This presented us with an exciting challenge: to claim the top spot from fifth place in just 7 laps, a charging style of racing we thoroughly enjoy.
Another great launch off the starting line saw us overtake two cars and to climb to third place by the time we reached the exit of Redgate. Unfortunately, we lost one position through the Craner Curves, slipping back to fourth during this first lap. As we entered Redgate on the second lap, we dived up the inside of third place to take the position trailing behind teammate Beau in second. A good run through Old Hairpin saw us momentarily alongside him, although we were squeezed to the edge of the track and had to back off, biding our time for the next opportunity. A close moment coming out of Coppice onto the Dunlop Straight brought fourth place driver into the mix who decided to push me along in order to close the gap to the front two cars rather than battle with me resulting in lost time. Just one corner later, at the Fogarty Esses, a mistake by the first-place driver, Pimley, led him running wide onto the grass, allowing both Beau and me to surge into the first and second positions, respectively. These positions held for another two laps until Beau made an error while approaching the first corner, providing us with the chance to claim first place. Three laps later, as we crossed the finish line, the checkered flag was raised, securing us the win and maximum race points.
All in all a fantastic day of racing with action all through the field. Time to enjoy a 3 week break before the final showdown at Silverstone Circuit on October 7th. As it stands, we hold the lead in the championship with a 23-point advantage.