The Junior Saloon Car Championship moved to Lydia’s home race at Snetterton for the fourth round of the series where the young driver experienced a mixed bag of results. After showing strong pace over practice and qualifying, Walmsley translated this into a positive sixth place result in the opening race of the weekend. A podium result could’ve been on the cards in race two but contact forced Lydia to pit with damage, inflicting her second retirement of the season.
After a couple of short test sessions the previous day, Lydia took to the track for the first Junior Saloon Car Championship practice session on Saturday morning. With traffic not an issue due to the long lap times, Walmsley could get a good feel of the car ahead of qualifying later in the day. During the 15 minute session, Lydia was able to complete six laps with her quickest time good enough for fourth fastest overall, a very encouraging start to the weekend.
Qualifying took place later in the afternoon with Lydia aiming for her best result of the season to date at her home track. Making a strong start to the session, Walmsley was up in third at the halfway point of the 20 minute session and was looking good for her best performance of the season to date. With some late improvements from the drivers around her, Lydia set the sixth fastest time to line up on the third row of the grid, a good position ready to pounce during the races to come.
Race one took place later that day and was quickly red flagged on the initial start following a mechanical problem for Charlotte Birch. On the second start, Lydia good a superb getaway and moved into fourth place as she kept in touch with the lead group. After being passed by Ethan Hammerton on lap three, Walmsley held her position inside the top-5 and resisted the challenge from Sam Kirkpatrick. However, on lap five the second year driver found his way through and pushed Lydia into sixth, a position which she held to the finish to collect valuable championship points. Lydia drove a particularly smart race to finish in sixth, which would also be the position she would be set to start in race two.
Starting from the third row of the grid, Lydia was looking for another good start in hope of a podium finish at her home circuit. Once again, Walmsley gained positions on the opening lap to move up into fifth position. With lots of action taking place between the leaders, Lydia held fifth position on lap two and could sense an opportunity to move forward. Unfortunately, she sustained damage the following lap which forced her to pit and retire the car, a disappointing end to the weekend in which Walmsley showed good promise and ability to run with the lead pack. Despite the retirement, Lydia should be pleased with her performances which saw her compete with more experienced drivers in their second full year, learning with each passing weekend.
Lydia’s weekend at Snetterton once again proved she has the pace to contend for podiums and even victories, slowly narrowing the margin to the drivers ahead. A smart drive in race one where Walmsley used her racecraft to ensure a good finish, shouldn’t be overshadowed by the retirement in race two when running inside the top-5. Lydia’s one target for improvement over the first three meetings could’ve been her starts, however by gaining places on the opening laps in both races at Snetterton shows the young driver is ready to make the next step. The Junior Saloon Car Championship now takes a short break before returning early next month at Knockhill, the circuit which Lydia made her debut at last season.