Having had a bit more of a consistent weekend at Rockingham on a track I didn’t think would suit us I was really looking forward to Silverstone where I was sure the circuit would suit the package we had put together. The Strata21 team had done a great job of preparing the car for the meeting so we could hit the ground running in qualifying.
We had to hit the ground qualifying as due to my team mate dropping out we didn’t have the budget to test. Luckily (for me) it rained all day meaning no one gained any advantage going into qualifying on the Saturday morning.
Having tested a few weeks ago on a track day we had a base set up which didn’t seem to help too much as the track was so slippery after the rain of the previous day. However my first flying lap was good enough for P1 and after a few aborted laps banged in another on my last lap to go p1 for both qualification races with 2 championship points to boot! A great start to the weekend, might miss practice more often ;)
With my championship rivals starting pretty low on the grid I knew that I needed to capitalise on their underperformance to make some gains into the championship leader. I had a great start and really pushed over the first lap to break the tow which worked nicely. This gave me a nice cushion to relax and control the gap to 2nd. Brad Bailey just managed to get into the slipstream and started to pressure me but anything he tried I covered until he span at Brooklands trying to pass, I was then pleased to see him (Championship wise!) in the gravel after spinning off trying to recover. An amazing start to the weekend! It was great to stand on the top step of the podium!
Race 2 was much of the same. My rivals were in an even worse position than the Saturday so again after a great first lap I pulled and maintained a nice gap to control the race to take my 2nd win of the weekend and the championship lead! I was over the moon!!!, Coming into the round over 35 points behind and after the 2nd race gaining the championship lead was a great feeling, and starting pole for the final race of the day only motivated me to convert it into 3 wins!
But then… CRASH! We were called to the Ginetta truck to be informed that a rival team that finished 2nd and 3rd 4.5 seconds behind had put in an appeal against me checking my tire pressures in parc ferme. Even though we hadn’t broken the rules stated in the sporting regulations clerks are permitted to make decisions based on interpretations of those rules. I am just going to say I disagree with the interpretation with the evidence given, was extremely disappointed and leave it at that…
So… back to where we started. 4th in the championship 40points off the lead! Mega! And starting at the back for the final race of the day which was shown live on Motors TV, loosing coverage for my sponsors Nationwide Driver Supply…
By the time the final race came about, some 7hours after the first race of the day I had not accepted the fact, however I had accepted the circumstances and focused on the job I had to do! To not loose anymore points in the championship I had to complete a first lap similar to starting at the back in Formula Kart Stars Karting… basically make as many places as possible as to not lose too much time to the front guys!
I got as good start as I had done all weekend picking up 2 positions from the grid but from then on I was on a charge through the field! I was 4 wheels over each kerb diving up the inside of people, took advantage of some spinners across the track as others were cautious. By the end of the first lap I had made it from 23rd to 7th! Just the start I needed! With the leaders still insight I kept my head down caught and passed up 3 places in 2 more laps to 4th with a gap of only 4 seconds to the leader. We had been down on pace the in the 2 races as I didn’t have a tow so I wasn’t too confident on catching the leading group, however we lapped over a second quicker consistently to reel them in! Going onto the last lap I could just pick up a tow however I wasn’t ever close enough to make a proper move and a slightly keen look hindered my chance for a proper look going into the final complex. 4th was great damage limitation from the situation we were in. Can’t thank the team enough for giving me a great car and believing in me to fire me up for a fantastic result!
I really do hope a certain team and drivers were getting worried as I was trailblazing up to the back of their cars! It shows whatever happens we are still competitive and never fail to give up! Just like this championship! We still gained 10 points on 2nd and 3rd place over the weekend which was great and having never been off pole at Snetterton I am looking forward to it! Massive thanks to Steve, Jack, Patrick, my Dad, Nationwide Driver Supply & Podium PR for all their support and advise over the weekend! Roll on Snetterton!
As well as racing I managed to make it up to Silverstone again the following weekend for the Blancpain Endurance Series. I was lucky enough to be treated to Aston Martin Hospitality, grid walks, car and garage tours with the works Bilstein V12 Vantage which claimed pole and won the 3 hour race! It was a fantastic day that I enjoyed and was introduced to some great people which I hope can support me in my future!
For now its massive preparation for Snetterton, my frustration is being taken out at the gym, in the pool, on the running machine and tonight up the infamous Box Hill in Surrey (Climb of the Olympic Road race) which is part of my 30mile cycle sprint!
Keep up to date with my career by visiting www.davidpittard.co.uk or follow me on twitter @David_Pittard
Goodbye for now!