Progress made for Ashleigh Morris at Rockingham

Ashleigh Morris has enjoyed a successful weekend in the Scottish BMW Championship at Rockingham. Learning a new circuit was never going to be easy, but Morris showed good speed throughout the weekend to come away two solid results as well as superb lap time improvements across the sessions. After qualifying in 11th, Ashleigh finished race one in 12th after running inside the top-10 during the early stages. Further headway was made in race two where Morris finished in 10th whilst turning her best lap of the weekend as she enjoyed a number of close battles with her rivals.

After making the most of the Friday test session leading up to the weekend, Ashleigh was set for qualifying on Saturday morning aiming to make further improvements. From the outset, Morris set a good pace as she continued to learn the challenging circuit while fighting for a top-10 starting position. With each and every lap, Ashleigh gained more time with her best lap of the session coming on her final circuit, a sign of improvements to come with Rockingham being notoriously tough on tyres. Almost getting within three seconds of the pole position time, Ashleigh qualified in 11th ahead of the two races to come across the weekend.

Race one began later in the day with Ashleigh making a solid start, completing the first lap in 12th after negotiating the tricky run down into the first corner. On lap three, Morris moved up to 11th and set about lapping quickly as she soon moved inside the top-10 while gaining confidence as she continued to progress through the field. Unfortunately, a spin on lap five halted Ashleigh’s progress as she hit some oil laid down by a fellow driver. Nonetheless, Morris battled hard in the closing stages to finish the opening race in 12th, with a number of positives to take from her debut race at Rockingham.

Starting race two from the sixth row of the grid courtesy of her finish earlier in the day, Ashleigh made a good start and moved in 11th by the end of lap one. Making some good moves on the following lap saw Morris rise to ninth, a position which she was able to successfully defend for a short period after. Despite being shuffled back to 11th on lap five and then 12th after Stephen Goldie made his way past, Ashleigh set her fastest lap of the weekend as she set to gain back the lost time. Making up a position in the closing stage, Morris finished race two in 11th in tough conditions at Rockingham to complete a weekend which she made superb improvements during the course of the weekend. Ashleigh enjoyed further good news after the checkered flag as a penalty for a fellow driver promoted her into the top-10.

Ashleigh should be extremely satisfied with her progress at Rockingham, in some tough of the toughest racing conditions all year. Competing away from Knockhill for the first time this season, Morris would’ve taking in lots of information which she will be able to apply for the remaining rounds of the Scottish BMW Championship. The next round of the series will take place at the start of July where Ashleigh will be aim to continue her progress and secure some more strong results.

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Taelor Shand excels in Scottish Mini Cooper Cup at Rockingham

Scottish Mini Cooper Cup driver Taelor Shand has experienced her best weekend of the season at Rockingham. Taelor took full advantage of the series one meeting away from Knockhill by showing excellent speed all weekend, culminating in a sixth-place result in race two. Hot conditions throughout the meeting made the racing even tougher, nonetheless Shand built on her solid 12th place qualifying effort by finishing in ninth in race one, before a crazy last lap saw her finish sixth on the road in the second and final race of the weekend, before she was promoted post-race into the top-5.

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Away from the regular venue of Knockhill, Taelor enjoyed her best weekend of the season. Photo Credit – Lottie Rodger

The weekend started off promisingly with Taelor showing great speed in testing leading up to the weekend which would be a sign of things to come. In qualifying, Shand was quick from the outset and immediately jumped inside the top-10 with her first lap of the session. Even with the high tyre wear at Rockingham, Taelor managed to improve her lap time midway through the session which ended up being good enough for a 12th place starting spot, the best of her season to date. Being within a second of the third place driver, Shand knew there would be opportunities to move forward during the races with the field so close.

Starting from the sixth row of the grid, Shand didn’t make the best start at the beginning of race one and fell to 13th position at the end of the opening lap as the safety car was deployed. When the race resumed, Taelor immediately picked up two positions to move into 11th, before moving inside the top-10 by the end of lap five. Despite her best efforts to close up to the pack of the drivers ahead of her, Shand just run out of time and crossed the line in 10th, setting her fastest lap of the race on the final lap. Following a post-race stewards decision which led to the exclusion of a driver ahead of her, Taelor was delighted to move up to ninth and was full of confidence ahead of race two.

Aiming to move forward at the start of race two, Taelor made a much better start and enjoyed a positive first lap which saw her move up to seventh by the end of lap one. A number of close battles during the middle portion of the race saw Shand move back to ninth by the end of lap, however still within touching distance of the drivers ahead due to the competitive nature of the championship. Taelor was then able to capitalise on a final lap incident ahead which saw her move up to finish in sixth, a fantastic result which was fully deserved after her impressive pace throughout the course of the weekend. Following the conclusion of the race, Shand was promoted to fifth to secure her best result of the Scottish Mini Cooper Cup season.

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Taelor will hope her progress from Rockingham will translate into the remaining Knockhill rounds, pictured here. Photo Credit – CMC Images

Taelor will be thrilled with the pace she has shown over the course of the weekend with two strong top-10 results to show for it. It has been a season of highs and lows for the Scottish Mini Cooper Cup driver, but this meeting has proved that Shand has the speed to contend for potential podiums as the season progresses. With the next round of the championship taking place at Knockhill in just two weeks’ time, Taelor will be keen to ensure she maintains this momentum in search of even better results.

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Superb showing for Katie Milner at Silverstone

Team One Call driver Katie Milner has enjoyed another positive round of the Ginetta GT5 Challenge, this time at the historic Silverstone GP circuit. Milner relished the challenge of learning the circuit and continued to improve throughout the weekend, underlining her sustained development in the Ginetta G40. After qualifying in 17th, Katie finished the opening race in 10th, followed by a hard-fought 11th place result in race two. The final race of the weekend was shortened to only three laps, nonetheless, Milner showed her talents by coming through from the sixth row of the grid to finish eighth on the road, a result which turned into sixth once penalties were applied.

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Katie Milner enjoyed a successful weekend at Silverstone in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge. Photo via Team One Call Racing

Katie was ready to tackle qualifying on Saturday morning after a test session leading up to the weekend in order to familiarise herself with this historic circuit. With almost 50 Ginetta G40’s on track, getting a clear lap would be a challenge especially with the speed differential of some GRDC+ runners in comparison to their GT5 Challenge counterparts. Katie set a number of consistent lap times during the 20 minute session to set the 17th fastest lap, less than a second away from the top-10. Despite the series visiting the longest circuit on the calendar, the top-20 drivers were covered by just over three seconds which shows the close and competitive nature of the Ginetta GT5 Challenge.

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Katie got to grips with the historic Silverstone GP circuit during qualifying in her Ginetta G40. Photo Credit – Marc Waller

Lining up on the eighth row of the grid for race one, Katie made a fantastic start utilising the wide track layout to make up a number to places to end the opening lap in 12th position. On lap two, Milner passed the Richardson Racing car of Alex Toth-Jones before capitalising on Ollie Wilkinson dropping down the field shortly after. Now inside the top-10, Katie was looking to gain further places and moved into ninth on lap five as she anticipated two more laps would remain in the race. Unfortunately, a red flag was displayed which brought an early end to the race, with the result counted back a lap which meant Katie finished in tenth position.

Starting from tenth position in race two courtesy of her finish from the previous day, Milner continued her record of impressive starts gaining two positions on the opening lap. Despite losing a position to Richard Evans on lap two, Katie was holding her own in a strong pack of drivers who were all hunting down a podium place. Milner was shuffled back to 11th on lap four, but she was determined to battle hard and learn all she could ahead of the final race of the weekend. Finishing in 11th was a little unlucky for Katie as she just missed out on the reverse grid for the final race, nevertheless, it was another good points haul at a circuit which Milner had not competed at before.

Due to the races being rescheduled after a dispute after the finishing order of race one, the third race at Silverstone was set to be a shortened one with Katie starting from the sixth row of the grid. Gaining positions on the opening lap for the third race in a row, Milner was up inside the top-10 after the first lap and was in contention with the leading group. Despite remaining in tenth by the end of lap two, it was a frantic lap which saw positions change hands a number of times. On the third and final lap, Katie pulled off a fantastic opportunistic move to cross the line in eighth position. Subsequently, Milner was promoted to sixth after penalties for drivers ahead which rounded-off an extremely positive weekend for the Team One Call driver at Silverstone.

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Katie enjoyed a fantastic result in the shortened race three where she finished in sixth position. Photo Credit – Marc Waller

Once again Katie showed her skills by learning another new circuit and improving significantly between qualifying and the final race of the weekend. With over 40 cars on the circuit during the meeting, Milner could improve her track management and develop her racecraft as she made her way through the field. The Ginetta GT5 Challenge now takes a short break before making a trip overseas to the Zandvoort circuit, a new track which will test the drivers to the maximum.

You can keep up to date with Katie’s progress using the social media links below:

Website – http://www.katiemilner.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/katiemilnerracing
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/katiemilner_

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Double victory for Jess Hawkins at Silverstone

Jess Hawkins has continued her superb start to the Mini Challenge season with another pair of victories, this time at Silverstone. After her two impressive wins at Snetterton, Hawkins was looking for a perfect weekend this time around and was only denied by a red flag in race three. Taking pole position for the opening race, Jess converted this into a victory before leading lights-to-flag in race two. The reverse grid draw put the Excelr8 Motorsport driver in fifth for race three and she had charged through to third before the red flag was displayed on lap nine, nevertheless a hattrick of podiums extends Hawkins lead atop the championship table.

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Jess Hawkins claimed two victories in the latest Mini Challenge meeting at Silverstone. Photo Credit – Dave Young Photography

After a positive test session on Friday prior to the weekend, Jess was hunting her second successive pole position as qualifying got underway on Saturday morning. Working with teammate Matt Hammond to utilise the significant slipstream effect on the Silverstone National circuit, Jess immediately went to second behind Hammond in the opening stages of the session. Both drivers continued to improve their time during the session with Jess finding a crucial two tenths on her final two laps to take pole position in the MINI Challenge for the second time in a row.

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Jess worked with Matt Hammond in qualifying as the pair locked out the front row of the grid. Photo Credit – Dave Young Photography

Starting from pole position, Jess was looking for a positive start and she held the lead after the opening lap. Under significant pressure from the chasing pack, Hawkins was overtaken by Sam Weller on lap three, but stayed in touch with her more experience competitor. By the end of lap five, Jess had re-taken the lead and was starting to pull away from the chasing pack as they battled over the remaining podium places. Steadily building a gap to the drivers behind, Jess was in control of race one and took her third victory in four races to extend her lead atop the Mini Challenge Cooper Class standings.

Once again starting from pole position after her victory the previous day, Hawkins was looking for a repeat performance to set up a possible perfect weekend. Jess made another great start and led the way from Martin Poole who had also enjoyed a superb start. Slowing edging away from the pack, Hawkins took advantage of her rivals squabbling behind her to pull out a gap of almost three seconds to third, with Poole still in contention for the lead. With a series of impressive lap times, Jess pulled away from her rival behind as Poole was demoted to third as Hawkins’ teammate Matt Hammond moved into runner-up spot. In the closing stages, Jess was able to maintain the gap to Hammond behind in order to take her second victory of the weekend, leading every lap of race two in what was a dominant performance.

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Jess led Martin Poole in the second race of the weekend as she took another victory. Photo Credit – Dave Young Photography

The reverse grid draw for the final race of the weekend put Jess on the third row of the grid in fifth, with a realistic possibility of completing the treble. Hawkins made a great start and gained a position on the opening lap with the top-four drivers breaking away from the rest of the field. Following teammate Hammond, Jess was able to pass Poole for third on lap four before setting the fastest lap of the race shortly after. The Excelr8 Motorsport drivers then began their pursuit of leader Sam Weller and cut the gap to just over a second by the end of lap seven as the safety car was deployed. Unfortunately, the red flag was displayed shortly after which took away the chance of a memorable treble with Hawkins finishing in third.

Jess once again showed incredible one lap speed, in addition to her impressive racecraft to extend her lead in the Mini Challenge Cooper Pro Class. Two victories, followed by a third place in race three matched her superb showing in the opening meeting at Snetterton with both tracks favouring the chasing drivers with a large slipstream effect. The next meeting of the Mini Challenge will take place at Rockingham where Hawkins will hope to continue her fantastic start to the season and add to her tally of four victories from the opening six races.

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Christie Doran back on track with solid Snetterton weekend

Christie Doran returned to action in the VAG Trophy at Snetterton this weekend for the second round of the championship. After an incident at Rockingham left her without a race finish in the previous meeting, Christie was determined to bounce back and she did just that by collecting a pair of fourth place finishes in the Slidesports prepared VW Golf. After qualifying in third, Doran spent the majority of the races battling with series veteran Barrie Culley, before finishing both races in fourth position.

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Christie Doran competed in the latest round of the VAG Trophy, collecting two fourth place finishes at Snetterton. Photo Credit – Marc Waller

After the team did a fantastic job to repair the car following the Rockingham weekend, Christie was able to take part in the Friday test session prior to the weekend. Speaking of the hard work the team put in leading up to the weekend, Christie commented “It was touch and go. The team did an amazing job to get the car in terrific shape in such a short space of time. Just about everything that could be broken was broken so they had a massive job and I am so grateful to them. They were confident it would be quick and they were right. I was a little tentative to start off with, but I built things up over the test day”. Doran knew the task at hand this weekend would be challenging with a strong six car entry list for Class B of the VAG Trophy, the largest and most competitive field in recent times. With just a 15 minute qualifying session after of her, Christie was aware that setting a number of consistent lap times would be the best plan to securing a strong starting position. Throughout the session, the Slidesports driver slowly improved and set the third fastest time in class, a solid start to the weekend with two races to come later in the day.

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Christie finished qualifying in third position, making good improvements on her lap times during the session. Photo Credit – Marc Waller

Starting from third on the grid, Christie was aiming for another fantastic start, but dropped behind Barrie Culley on the initial getaway. However, Doran fought back and passed her rival at the end of the opening lap as she attempted to chase down the lead group ahead. Christie was unable to get away from Culley with the pair enjoying a close battle, as the experienced driver found a way back through by the end of lap two. The next series of laps saw a fantastic battle between the two drivers with Doran and Culley finding out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Despite Christie losing a little time on the penultimate lap, she was able to secure a fourth place finish in the opening race at Snetterton. Doran was full of confidence after the first race and spoke of her delight of being involved in such a close battle by saying “It was a brilliant race. There was never more than a couple of seconds between us. There was one move when I caught him just going on to the long Bentley straight and we were side by side all the way through the Nelson chicane and the Bombhole and we never touched at all.I was locking up the back wheels under braking so we made a few set-up changes for race two. I could feel my confidence getting better and my little Golf was just amazing.”

Lining up fourth in Class B following her result earlier in the day, Christie was aiming for the podium places after just missing out in the opening race. Doran made a strong start by moving into third position after the first lap, even picking off a couple of Class A cars in the process. Edging away from rival Culley behind, Christie drove her fastest lap of the race as she got into a rhythm midway through this final race of the weekend. Unfortunately, Doran couldn’t quite hold on to the final podium spot as Culley took over third on the final lap with Christie ending the weekend with a pair of fourth place finishes. Nonetheless, Doran was still upbeat following the race by stating “It was another good race but I was gutted not to get the podium place. That would have been a great reward for the team. However, there are positives. I got the crash out of my system, I proved there was no hangover from that and I was really pushing. I also got points on the board. Now we have a short break but we will back fighting at Brands Hatch.”

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Christie enjoyed a number of good battles with Barrie Culley during the two races, almost securing a podium result. Photo Credit – Marc Waller

Christie is backed by Advance Construction Scotland, Complete Cleaning Scotland, Tunnock’s, Apex Tubulars, Macdonald Inchyra Hotel and Spa, The Sign Shop, Stove Doctor, The Scottish Sun and Draper Tools.

You can keep up to date with Christie’s racing progress using the social media links below:

Website – http://www.christiedoranracing.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/ChristieDoranRacing
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/RacingCD

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Caitlin Wood steps up to Blancpain Endurance Series with Reiter Engineering

The Blancpain GT Series has provided some of the most thrilling racing in recent times, with the 2017 season seeing a record number of entries from some of the most prestigious brands in motorsport. One driver aiming to climb the GT ladder while competing in the championship, is talented young Aussie Caitlin Wood. Speaking of her debut season in the series, where she drives alongside teammate Marko Helistekangas, Caitlin gives a brief overview saying, “I am driving in the Blancpain Sprint Series with Reiter Engineering in the Reiter Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX. As this is our first year in GT3 and Blancpain, we have really just approached this season as a learning year to gain as much experience as possible. There is so much experience and knowledge within this field of drivers so I am just trying to soak it all in as much as I can. We would really like to continue to achieve podiums in the Silver Class category and keep working on improving and moving forward at each round”. Caitlin and Marko achieved a superb podium result in the Silver Cup at the opening round at the Misano, a great effort on their GT3 debut in such a competitive series. Since then, it has been announced that Caitlin and Marko are switching over to the Endurance Cup for Paul Ricard and Catalunya, where they will be joined by motorsport veteran Tomas Enge.

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Caitlin Wood is competing with Reiter Engineering in the 2017 Blancpain GT Series. Photo Credit – Joel Kernasenko

Caitlin started her car racing career in Australia where she competed in multiple national Formula Ford Championships against some of the best drivers in the country, learning her racecraft and developing the skills she needs to compete at the highest level. In 2016, Caitlin made a huge step by moving to Europe to compete in the European GT4 Series for Reiter Engineering in their KTW X-BOW GT4, where she achieved multiple top-10 results, with a best finish of 7th. Speaking of the challenge faced by moving to Europe, Caitlin commented, “It has been the most amazing experience but also one of the hardest things I have had to do at the same time. I love living so close to the workshop and being apart of the team but I do also miss home, my friends and family but it has been pretty good so far with none of my stints in Europe being no longer than 5 months. I think one of the hardest parts is the language barrier as I am based in a little country town in Germany so obviously not many people speak English, I have been trying to learn German but I must say I am not picking it up very quickly haha. But if I want to be a professional driver these are the things I need to experience and go through, so I am extremely grateful to have this opportunity with Reiter Engineering”.

As part of Caitlin’s move to Europe, she was able to join the Reiter Young Stars program which is a driver development initiative put forward by Reiter Engineering to take drivers in a similar position to Caitlin with aspirations of GT racing to achieve their dreams by being part of a professional and successful outfit competing in both GT3 and GT4 series. Caitlin has already taken so much from this fantastic set up and speaks of her delight in the experience so far, commenting “Being a part of the Reiter Young Stars (RYS) program has been fundamental in my growth and development as a driver. Before 2016, and competing in RYS I had no previous experience in closed cockpit/GT cars so to be able to work with Reiter to get me up to speed in the KTM X-BOW GT4 was a really great experience. The RYS program teaches young drivers all of the fundamentals associated with GT racing focusing on all aspects of driving e.g. driver changes, technical knowledge and of course on-track speed and ability”. The Reiter Young Stars program also strives for diversity within motorsport and Caitlin has been able to learn from fellow female driver Naomi Schiff for example, with former German F4 racer Marylin Niederhauser also becoming part of the package for 2017.

As part of the Reiter Young Stars program, Caitlin was given the chance to compete in the 24 hours of Dubai, a race which has grown in stature in recent years with classes ranging from GT3 to Touring Cars. Caitlin competed in an all-female line-up with Anna Rathe, Naomi Schiff and Marylin Niederhauser, driving a KTM X-BOW GT4. Although the overall result wasn’t what she hoped for, Caitlin was thankful for the experience and pleased with her overall performance, stating “Competing at the Dubai 24hrs in the all female driver line up was something very special, even though we didn’t come out with the results we were aiming for I feel we still showed a lot of potential during the weekend – I set the 2nd quickest fastest time in the GT4 category during the race and we were moving forward in class before Marylin’s incident. It was a great experience working with the other ladies who were just as motivated and passionate as I was to do well, so hopefully we can come back at another round in the future and show what we are truly capable of”. Caitlin drove the opening stint of the race and showed fantastic pace, moving forward in a highly competitive class of GT4 cars before an incident took the team out of contention for a podium finish.

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Caitlin was given the chance to drive in the prestigious 24 hours of Dubai this year, in an all-female line-up. Photo Credit – Joel Kernasenko

Last season was also the first where Caitlin drove with a teammate, after competing in mainly single seaters during her junior racing career. The adjustment to sharing a car with another driver can be a challenging one, but Caitlin enjoys the challenge and can see a number of positives for both drivers in the team, commenting “I feel like it changes your mindset more than your driving style, as you are not the only one driving anymore and both drivers usually need to make compromises and work together for the driver pairing to work e.g. seat position, belts, mirrors etc. I guess you also have the added stress of bringing the car back in one piece for your teammate and not wanting to let them down so I feel like it really brings out your sportsmanship. I do enjoy driving with teammates and sharing a car as I am always trying to learn and absorb new information or experiences off everyone around me”.

Making the step up to GT3 for this season was always going to be a challenge for Caitlin as she became one of the youngest drivers in the Blancpain GT series, however the transition has been smooth with Wood showing strong pace in the opening meetings, reflected by a class podium on debut in Misano. Speaking of the differences between the two classes, Caitlin added “There is obviously a speed difference between the KTM X-BOW GT4 and the Lamborghini Gallardo but I feel driving the KTM X-BOW GT4 last year prepared me as much as possible for GT3. The biggest thing I have had to adapt to when progressing to GT3 was just the driving style and making sure that I am driving aggressive but also smooth at the same time as tyre degradation and pick up play a big role”.

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Caitlin claimed a podium finish in the Silver Cup on debut in the Blancpain GT Series, alongside teammate Marko Helistekangas. Photo Credit – Joel Kernasenko

With her GT career still in its infancy, Caitlin is open minded about the future and is grateful for the opportunities she has received over the last two seasons, now competing in one of the top GT series across the world. Commenting on her future plans and goals, Caitlin said “My ultimate dream/goal is to win the 24H of Le Mans, and essentially to become a professional endurance driver so essentially yes my long term goal is WEC but there are so many different paths and possibilities within the motorsport world so I am pretty open minded for future drives as I want to gain experience in as many different categories/cars as possible. I am enjoying driving in The Blancpain GT Series so much, it is quite surreal; I never thought 2 years ago that I would be in this position so I am extremely grateful to Hans Reiter and everyone who has helped me along the way. I would love to continue working with Reiter in GT3 in the future but we will just have to see what happens, hopefully we can get some competitive results in Blancpain this year”. There is no doubt Caitlin has the ability and determination to succeed in the ruthless world of motorsport, with progression in the Blancpain GT Series being her main goal for the remainder of 2017. Caitlin’s next race for Reiter Engineering will be at Paul Ricard where she will make her debut in the Endurance aspect of the Blancpain GT Series.

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Dominant debut weekend in Mini Challenge for Jess Hawkins

Jess Hawkins has enjoyed a spectacular return to racing with a truly dominant weekend in the MINI Challenge at Snetterton. Competing for just the second time in the last two seasons, Jess instantly found her groove with the Mini Cooper by taking pole position for the opening race of the weekend. Hawkins then went on to take two victories from the first two races, before collecting a further podium result in the final race of the weekend where she started in the midfield after a reverse grid.

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Jess Hawkins claimed two victories on her debut in the Mini Challenge. Photo Credit – Ian Cutting Photography

Jess had shown good speed in the test sessions leading up to the opening weekend, but she would only know her pace in comparison to her competitors in qualifying. After some earlier rain, the track was dry for the 15 minute session with Hawkins immediately going to the top of the charts after the opening laps. As the session progressed, Jess continued to improve her times and extend her lead atop the times, utilising the slipstream to her advantage with two lengthy straights on the Snetterton 200 circuit. Despite a late challenge from her competitors, Hawkins set another new fastest lap time as the checkered flag was out to claim her first pole position on her Mini Challenge debut.

Race one took place later in the afternoon with Jess making a fantastic start from pole position to lead the opening lap. However, with the slipstream offering around one second a lap to the drivers behind, Hawkins was unable to make her escape and was being reeled in by a pack of drivers eager to take top spot. With some excellent defensive driving, Jess fended off several laps of pressure before rival Hammond leaked oil on the track to break up the chasing pack. This left Jess to defend from Newman which she was able to do, slowly extending her lead in the closing stages. With a flawless lights-to-flag victory, Hawkins took her first ever victory in the Mini Challenge, showing her talent by taking the honours on her debut race.

Starting from pole position in race two courtesy of her win the previous day, Jess was hoping to claim her second victory in as many races, but this time on a damp track. Hawkins once again made a good start and built a sizeable gap after the opening lap while her rivals squabbled over the remaining podium sports. Jess may have thought she was in luck when Weller, Poole and Newman came together behind her on lap two, however this resulted in a safety car which eroded a large lead which had resulted from the incident. Nevertheless, Hawkins got a perfect restart and was managing the race superbly out front, with Sam Weller closing in behind her. On the final lap, Weller made a move for the lead but Jess was able to hold on, claiming her second victory by less than one tenth of a second in a thrilling Mini Challenge race.

Going for a clean sweep of the weekend was set to be a challenge, with a reverse grid draw meaning Jess would start the third race from fifth place on the grid. Making a clean start, Hawkins held her position after lap one before moving up into fourth by the end of lap two. Continuing to apply the pressure, Jess showed her speed by moving up into a podium position on the third lap. After fending off Richard Newman, Hawkins made gains on the leaders before closing up to top pair by the end of lap six. Despite her best efforts, Jess was unable to make any further progress but another podium finish was a fantastic end to the best weekend of her car racing career.

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Jess enjoyed good battles following a reverse grid in race three, here she is defending from Richard Newman. Photo Credit – Ian Cutting Photography

Despite her lack of competitive racing experience in recent times, Jess showed no race rustiness as she displayed great defensive skills in the opening two races, before proving she can overtake successfully by fighting through to third in race three. A superb haul of points means Jess sits atop the championship standings after the first meeting and will be looking forward to the next round which takes place at Silverstone.

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