Fergus Walkinshaw salvaged an eighth place class finish during a tough weekend in the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup, the 20 year old facing plenty of troubles during his first race meeting around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit.
Walkinshaw headed into the meeting in confident mood, joining Century Motorsport for the penultimate rounds of the year. After slashing two seconds between Friday and Saturday, Walkinshaw secured the sixth fastest time in qualifying in his self-built Ginetta G55.
Unfortunately the Oxford Brookes automotive engineering student wasn't able to take full advantage of it in the race. Losing some places early on, Walkinshaw tried to fight back, but contact with a G50 runner left him with damaged bodywork rubbing his tyre. After pitting to remove the offending pieces, Fergus returned to track at the back of the pack under the safety car. Climbing back up the field, Walkinshaw got up to thirteenth, but then had to retire with a puncture three laps from the end.
The result left him fifteenth on the grid for race two. A good getaway saw him take two places on the opening lap, but a slight mistake on lap three daw him drop back down those places again. The Oxfordshire racer then started climbing through the field, getting into eleventh overall and eighth in class at the end.
Walkinshaw's hopes were high heading into the final round and a strong start saw him move up to tenth before a short safety car period. At the restart, Walkinshaw got up to ninth and turned his attentions to the battle for sixth when he experienced brake issues at Clearways, running wide and into the gravel trap, prematurely ending his race.
Walkinshaw said: “It's obviously been a bit of a challenging weekend for my first outing on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. I was satisfied with eighth in class in race two but the rest of the weekend was more than disappointing as I was determined to finish all three races.
“We had a positive test and I was pleased to improve my lap time by over two seconds in qualifying. It gave me a good confidence boost going into race one but I didn't get a great start and contact with Jake Hill was really unfortunate. The resulting damage ruined the front aero, so I did well to recover three places before the puncture but with only three laps left it wasn't worth changing it.
“Race two was much better. I enjoyed battling through the field to take five places but I had to be sensible as Saturday's issue meant I had to carry the tyres into the final race. I was confident I could get a good result and I was running seventh in class when I had the brake issue and just ran wide.
“There was a bit of a gap to Patrick Watts in eighth but with nearly half the race to run I was aiming for at least a top six class result. It was a shame but now I've just got to put it all behind me and concentrate on the final series rounds at my home circuit, Silverstone, in two weeks time.”