So the next meeting in the 2011 Ginetta GT Supercup had arrived, and off we went to Rockingham knowing we needed to try to extend our lead at the top of the points table. After a strong weekend at Knockhill, we headed there full of optimism.
The first practice session on Friday went really well, and being fastest in the G50 class straightaway was a brilliant confidence boost given that a few of my competitors had been testing there beforehand. In the following two sessions, we dropped down the timesheets as the tyres we were running on were by then very worn – and in the final session, we even got right down to the canvas – but we remained confident that with new rubber on, we would be able to find some pace again.
We did just that in qualifying, going quickest despite only completing a handful of laps. That made it my seventh G50 pole position out of eight attempts this year, whilst also earning me an extra point.
We had our first race of the weekend later that day, and although it was a tough one with a hard battle for the lead, in the end I came out on top – and the fact that my closest championship rival finished down the field was an extra bonus.
The second race was on Sunday and included a mandatory pit-stop – the first time pit-stops had taken place on the TOCA package since 2003. It was a new test for the drivers and teams; the stop had to be no shorter than 92 seconds, and you had to change at least two tyres.
I got off to a great start, but unfortunately found myself stuck behind some G55s battling hard, thereby slowing both themselves and me down and preventing me from establishing a decent class lead. I was eventually able to pass one of the G55s coming onto the pit straight, and that gave me the breathing space I needed to stretch my lead.
With six minutes remaining, my pit board was shown to come in. The Plans Motorsport guys did a mega job in the stop, and by the time I rejoined the track, we had extended our advantage. I then held that to the end, and even set the fifth-quickest lap time overall!
My championship lead now sits at 44 points – 80 on dropped scores – and with Brands Hatch coming up this weekend, I'm aiming for another good one!
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And hope to see lots of you at Brands Hatch!