Fergus Walkinshaw endured a challenging weekend at his home circuit Knockhill during the latest rounds of the Ginetta GT Supercup, though still came away with a season's best finish in his self-built Ginetta G55.
Walkinshaw joined the series last time out at Snetterton, just hours after completing the build of his car and after recording two eighth-place class finishes on his championship debut, was hopeful of strong results on his return to Knockhill for the first time in three years.
His pace was immediately evident in qualifying where in wet conditions Walkinshaw set a superb third fastest time, just 0.192 seconds off pole. A gear selection problem at the start of Round Eighteen saw him drop some places on the opening lap of the race, but he was back challenging for fifth on lap two, however contact with Lee Pattison immediately ended his race.
Walkinshaw and the FML team faced a hefty repair job, with the front of the car effectively written off, but they worked tirelessly through the night and got the car back on track for Sunday's first race with just 30 minutes to spare. Starting at the back of the grid, an impressive drive through the field saw him up to eleventh by the end of the opening lap, before he worked his way through into eighth place overall and fifth in class at the end, despite suffering from clutch failure in the closing stages.
Another magnificent effort by his mechanics saw the clutch and gearbox replaced before the day's final race, but when Walkinshaw fired the engine up to go out onto the grid, the carbon intake split, ending his race and shattering his dreams of challenging for a home podium finish.
Walkinshaw commented: “It's been a bit of a challenging weekend to say the least but my sincere thanks go to my lead race engineer Ryan Connolly and team FML for their outstanding efforts.
“It was such a shame we couldn't get the car back out for the final race as I'm confident I could have repaid them with a podium. In fact, I think I was in with a chance of strong finishes in all three rounds this weekend, so I'm naturally disappointed.
“Although the gearbox problem started yesterday I could have driven around the issue if I hadn't been knocked out. The fifth place class finish salvaged something from the race weekend, but I was certainly on for an outright top five result before I suffered clutch failure.
“I'm really starting to get the feel of the car. I'm about there with the set-up but that's something I'll continue to tweak. I've proved my pace, it's just a case of getting race results and there's not much I could have done to change those results this weekend. So now I'm just looking ahead to a more successful round at Rockingham.”