The expert guidance of Jade Developments this season for Shanel Drewe has finally been rewarded with her first pole position and race 1 win this weekend at Donington Circuit, followed by a second place finish in race two.
Racing in the Michelin Clio Championship Road class, this weekend they supported the British Truck Racing Championship and it was the weekend where Shanel has firmly established herself as a genuine front runner.
With a tally of 4 second places and two third places before this weekend, and race leading performances, it is easy to forget this is only Shanel’s ninth ever race weekend, and that she has no previous karting or motor racing experience.
On Saturday, in a very competitive qualification session, Shanel only missed out taking pole position in both races by 0.1seconds, but took pole position for race 2 with a very convincing and consistent set of qualification laps.
A delay to the start of race 1 presented a typical British summer time opportunity for the weather to take a turn, and the dry sunny conditions quickly made way for torrential rain and poor visibility.
This was a big test for Drewe as she has never tested, let alone raced in the wet before. At the start, Drewe lost second to Thomas and entered turn one in third place but was purposely testing the grip and response levels all the time. Then, in a fantastic and brave move; Drewe overtook both second place Thomas and first place team mate Harrison by driving round the outside of the them through the difficult and downhill Craner Curves, and by the time Drewe crossed the start/finish line at the end of lap one, she was 2 seconds clear of the chasing pack.
In a master class of car control, Drewe continued to find pace and grip where the others couldn’t and eventually finished an incredible 17 seconds ahead of second place team mate Harrison.
Such was Drewes pace, all of her top five laps were faster than the second place drivers best lap time, and her average speed over the entire race distance was less than 2mph difference to the faster Race Class running on full race wets, and was as close as 0.7 secs a lap to them.
In the second race a possible minor slipping clutch slip meant Drewe could not convert her pole into a race lead, but again a very strong drive kept the first place team Mate Harrison in check who could not afford to let up for a moment, and Drewe secured a strong second place finish as the two Jade Development cars charged off in a race of their own.
Shanel’s summary at the mid-point of the season is that “I am keeping my feet firmly on the ground. My only target this year has been to consolidate and develop my race craft and pace. Despite my success so far, I know I have so much more yet to learn and develop so I will continue on my plan, but being in contention of the championship and receiving increased support from my main Partner Dansoft Aviation Services is an exciting prospect”.
With three race meetings left, the clear favourites for the Championship are either of the Jade development team drivers of both Drewe and Harrison, and we look set for an exciting lead-in to the conclusion of the season.