Christie Doran has signed off the 2017 season with a superb podium finish in the VAG Trophy finale at Oulton Park. In a weekend which featured the largest Class B grid in recent years, Doran steadily improved throughout the meeting after a lengthy build up to the final event. Qualifying in sixth, Christie held this position during the opening race before finding an extra turn of speed in race two to end the season with a podium result in third.
After almost two months away from the track, Christie was eager to end the season on the high at Oulton Park. A positive test session on Friday ensured Doran’s preparations for a hectic race day on Saturday begun in the best possible way as she targeted a return to the podium. Looking ahead to the meeting, Christie commented “We wanted to end the season on a high and we have done that. It looked like being a tough weekend. Testing had gone well but I just struggled to hook everything up and get a really good lap time, but I still felt confident in qualifying”. Qualifying saw the strongest lineup of Class B drivers take to the circuit, with red flag interrupting the early part of the session. As qualifying progressed, Christie fought her way through traffic to set her fastest time on the final lap of the session to qualify sixth in Class B.
Lining up sixth for the opening race, Doran was aiming to move forward in what was set to be a 20-minute race on the International layout of Oulton Park. The opening laps saw Christie involved in a close battle with Scott Fletcher as her rival took over sixth as the pair ran nose-to-tail. On lap four the safety car was brought out with Christie passing Barrie Culley to re-take sixth position. A lengthy clean up meant only one green flag lap remained as the safety car came in. This led to a frantic dash to the flag with a number of position changes throughout the lap culminating in a sixth place finish for Doran. Looking back on the opening race, Christie was frustrated but remained positive saying “Unfortunately, I was down the hill and couldn’t really see the lights. I got a poor start. I made up one place and was looking to overtake going down to Hislops but an A-Class was going really slowly and I had to bail out. Then we had a lot of laps behind the safety car and just one lap racing at the end. I couldn’t do anything. It was a bit frustrating, but I had to settle for sixth”.
Race two was set to be another close affair with a number of cars out of position on the start. This led to chaos on the opening lap as one-third of the field was involved in an accident which Christie was able to avoid. After a red flag period, the race got underway with Christie moving into second position at the end of the first lap. Doran’s resistance was broken shortly after as Simon Tomlinson took over the runner-up position with Christie slotting in behind her rival. This proved to be a wise move as Christie set her fastest lap of the weekend and remained in touch should Tomlinson make a mistake. As the race progressed, Doran held third position to claim a well-deserved podium result in the final race of the VAG Trophy season. Speaking of the chaotic second race, Doran said “I was determined to end the season on a high. I made a great start but there were a lot of cars damaged on the run down to Cascades. The race was red-flagged and we had to do it again. I had another great start was up to second in class by the first corner. Simon Tomlinson was a guest driver for the round, and was right with me at Lodge. It made more sense to let him go rather than risk anything fighting him so I let him past and then concentrated on building the gap to Scott Fletcher. Nothing was stopping me getting a podium but I was also happy to finish 11th overall”.
Christie’s season has ended on a high after a great performance in the second race of the weekend where she showed the best speed all weekend. This secured Christie third place in the Class B VAG Trophy standings, with attention turning to the 2018 season where Doran is still assessing her options in what is set to be an exciting year. Reflecting on the season, Christie said “It has been a long hard season. We started so well at Rockingham but then the crash affected my confidence. Slidesports have given me a great car and I was delighted to get the results for them. My engineer, Oli Larsen-Wright, has been great on the car. He has been so laidback all year – just what I have needed. Team boss Mark Jenkins has worked hard with me and I was delighted to pay him back with that result. Now the focus turns to next year. I am not sure what we will do. My sponsors have been great in helping me race this year and we need to talk to them about next year. The VAG Trophy is a tough series and I have finished in the top three for the past two seasons”.
You can keep up to date with Christie’s racing progress using the social media links below: