Brands Hatch hosted the latest round of the VAG Trophy where Slidesports driver Christie Doran was in action. Following on from her first podium of the season on the Grand Prix layout two weeks out, Doran was hopeful of a successful meeting as the championship moved to the Indy layout. Despite missing out on the elusive podium, Christie rallied to a fourth-place result in race one, followed by a further top-5 finish in race two. Summing up her weekend, Christie said “Overall, we scored solid points and stayed third in the Class B championship but I wanted more. We have another race in two weeks. It has been a hectic schedule but we will be right in the fight at Thruxton”.
Christie’s weekend began positively with a promising test session on Friday ahead of qualifying and two races to take place the following day. Unlike two weeks ago, dry conditions led to a comparably uneventful qualifying session where Doran was able to consistently improve her lap times and gain in confidence. The result of this was a time which put her fourth fastest on the Class B grid, a good place to make progress from on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit. Nonetheless, Christie knew there was more room for improvement, commenting “We were at Brands just two weeks ago and my trip into the gravel at Paddock Hill was playing on my mind a little. That affected my qualifying so we had to settle for fourth in class”.
Lining up fourth on the grid, Christie made a good start and held her position on the opening lap, just on the tail of Barrie Culley. Doran’s challenge was soon halted by a safety car period on lap five after an incident between a number of Class A runners. When the racing resumed, Christie aimed to move forward and immediately set her fastest lap of the race as she hunted down a podium result. A series of fast lap times weren’t quite enough to seal a spot on the podium as Christie claimed back-to-back fourth place finishes.
Looking to end the meeting on a high, Christie made a great start in race two and was quickly into a podium position with the leaders in sight. However, Doran was forced to take evasive action after an incident ahead which dropped her down to fifth by the end of the first lap. Looking to make up for lost time, Christie began to close in on the driver ahead of her in the opening exchanges of the race, hopeful a safety car may work in her favour. As the race evolved, Christie encountered traffic which halted her progress forward and despite setting her best lap on the final lap of the race, Doran settled for fifth position in race two at Brands Hatch. Speaking of her added confidence in race two, Christie said “We spent the time between the races going through the video and breaking it all down then building it up again. It did the trick. I got a flying start and was up to third in class and right with the front two. My confidence was back but then there was contact up in front, a car spun and I had a choice – hit it or go in the gravel. That is just the way my luck has been going. It was damage limitation from there. It was a shame because the Deutsche Fest was a good meeting. The grid walk was really popular and the SlideSports Golf got so much attention. It was great to see so many kids and they loved the fact that we let them sit in the car and get their photos taken. It must have been popular because some of the team said I had a new band of supporters shouting me on by the start/finish line”.
Despite not achieving the results she was hoping for, Christie can still take positives from her second visit to Brands Hatch this season. Completing both races successfully ensured Doran gained maximum track time at a challenging circuit, while continuing to learn the dynamics of the car ahead of the remaining rounds of the season. The fifth round of the championship takes place at the high-speed Thruxton circuit, a new track for Christie to learn but one she is relishing following her success at Castle Combe in previous years. Taking an overview of the season so far, Doran comments “The season has not gone the way we planned but we will get through it and these experiences will make the good days even better. SlideSports are doing a great job with the car and boss Mark Jenkins has faith in what I am doing. The annoying thing is the pace is there, we just have not had the breaks”.
You can keep up to date with Christie’s racing progress using the social media links below: