Katie Milner enjoyed a successful weekend competing at Knockhill in the penultimate round of the Ginetta GT5 Challenge where she secured a pair of top-10 finishes. Racing as part of the TOCA package for the second time this season, a bumper crowd was in attendance to watch the Team One Call driver as she was tested by a variety of conditions during the course of the weekend. After qualifying in 10th, Katie finished the opening race in sixth after some smart driving in a race which started dry and ended in wet conditions. More progress was made in race two as Milner finished in ninth, showing excellent pace in the closing stages as she battled hard with her rivals.
Katie arrived at Knockhill feeling positive ahead of the weekend with her experiences from the Junior Saloon Car Championship proving useful with many of the drivers having never previously raced at the Scottish circuit. Friday’s test sessions saw mixed conditions throughout the day with Milner gaining valuable track time while setting competitive lap times as the Team One Call driver placed inside the top-10 for both sessions. Qualifying also proved to be a wet session with some of the toughest conditions Katie had faced all year. Despite a couple of red flags during the session, Milner set a series of competitive lap times and qualified 10th, less than a second from pole position.
The opening race of the weekend took place in dry conditions with Katie starting from the fifth row of the grid. Making a great start, Milner moved into ninth after the opening lap as the safety car was deployed for an incident just behind Katie. As the racing resumed, Milner closed in on Carlito Miracco and made the move for eighth position at the final hairpin on lap five. A good series of laps following the pass was rewarded on lap nine with Zapolski dropping down the order as heavy rain returned to Knockhill. This made conditions extremely tricky but Milner coped admirably and moved ahead of Ollie Wilkinson on lap 13 after applying the pressure on her fellow Ginetta rookie. As the rain continued to fall, Katie continued to drive smartly in order to consolidate her sixth position in the closing stages, a position which she held to the flag in order to collect valuable championship points.
Lining up in sixth position for race two courtesy of her race one result, Katie avoided any first corner incident and ended the opening lap in eighth position before an early safety car was once again deployed. Milner defended well from Max Bird at the restart, before the former Ginetta Junior rookie cup winner took the position at the end of lap six. An incident involving the race leaders, which led to a second safety car, greatly benefited Katie who was able to move inside the top-7 by the halfway stage. A recovering Lewis Brown was able to move pass Milner on the restart, with Carlito Miracco also finding a way through on lap 17 to demote Katie to eighth. Nonetheless, the Team One Call driver defended superb from Seb Perez before significantly picking up the pace to set her two best laps of the race in the closing stages, less than half a second away from the quickest lap of the race. This burst of speed allowed Katie to maintain her ninth position to the flag, ensuring a positive end to a solid weekend of racing at Knockhill.
Knockhill was arguably Katie’s most impressive meeting of the season as she showed excellent speed in a variety of conditions at a track which is unlike many others on the calendar. Her ability to come out on top of a number of close battles will give her good confidence going forward, with Milner’s driving in race one a particular highlight. For a rookie in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge, Katie has progressed well during the year and made a smooth transition into rear-wheel drive circuit racing, coming close to her first podium result. Just one round remains in the season with Katie aiming high as the championship heads to Donington Park for the season finale, a circuit at which she has enjoyed success in the past.
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