Lydia Walmsley has made a positive start to her first full season of car racing after an impressive showing in the Junior Saloon Car Championship opener at Silverstone. After competing in the final two rounds of last season, Lydia is aiming for further progress in one of the top junior series in the country. Qualifying inside the top-10, Walmsley finished a brilliant fourth in the first race before collecting a solid seventh place result in race two, underlying her pace ahead of the coming rounds.
The Junior Saloon Car Championship weekend began on Friday with a number of teams utilising a test session on the run up to the weekend. Saturday morning brought the first official free practice session with Lydia joining a healthy grid of cars out onto the track. It was an encouraging start as Walmsley immediately showed her pace, jumping up inside the top-3 early on. At the end of the 15 minute session, Lydia placed seventh and was just half a second away from the quickest driver, these were positive signs heading into qualifying.
Qualifying took place later in the afternoon with Lydia aiming to start inside the top-10 for the first time in her Junior Saloon Car Championship career. With 19 drivers on track, space was set to be a premium but with the slipstream taking some effect at Silverstone, qualifying was set to be close throughout the field. Lydia begun the session well and was sitting in 10th place at the halfway mark. A good improvement late in the session lifted Walmsley up the order with the talented young driver setting the eighth fastest time, less than a second away from pole position.
The opening race at Silverstone took place on Sunday morning with Lydia starting from the fourth row of the grid. A great start saw Walmsley up into sixth following the first lap and she held that position while closing in on the lead pack during the opening half of the race, with just 1.3 seconds covering the top-6 after a track limits penalty for leader Dyrdal. On lap eight Lydia made the move for fourth but she was under pressure from the hard charging Mutch who was recovering from a lap one mistake. After nine laps of hard racing the red flag was brought out for an incident with Walmsley in fourth, a fantastic result to start the season.
Due to her excellent consistency in qualifying the previous day, Lydia lined up sixth for race two courtesy of her second fastest lap set in qualifying. Walmsley made a great start and rose into the top-5 after the opening lap as a safety car was brought out for the car of Charlotte Birch. As the racing resumed, Lydia held on to fifth place and maintained her position past the halfway mark despite coming under pressure from George Smith. On lap seven Walmsley dropped to seventh, however with the margins so close throughout the field, there was still time to regain the positions. After a great battle with Smith and Sam Kirkpatrick, Lydia finished in seventh to round off an excellent weekend in the Junior Saloon Car Championship.
Lydia should feel extremely satisfied with her progress at Silverstone after taking the fight to championship favourites and collecting her best car racing finishes to date. Consistent finishes will be crucial to a successful campaign and with two top-7 results, Walmsley has a great championship base after just one round of the season. Lydia will aiming to further improve during the course of the season and should believe her maiden podium result is just around the corner.