Ollie Pidgley was pleased to have ended his maiden MINI Challenge – JCW weekend with an eleventh place finish as he hopes to build on his Oulton Park performance next round.
Consistent rain and poor conditions hampered the whole weekend, with the second MINI race (and the remaining supports) forced to be cancelled after the British GT Championship event had been abandoned.
Pidgley, who steps across from the Renault UK Clio Cup after two sub-par seasons, will be hoping to make a return to form, with his testing pace proving promising for the 20-year-old.
“To be fair I think we did well”, said Downton-based Pidgley, “On Friday in testing we had a few mechanical issues, so we only got eight laps all day and six of those were in the wet. In qualifying I was P5 or P6 for the majority of the session, which was great, but we had power steering issues all weekend and it packed up near the end of qualifying – so instead of P4 or P5 I ended up 10th fastest.”
After a break on Easter Sunday, the drivers returned to sodden conditions for Monday’s races. The slippery surface caught the Excelr8 Motorsport driver out in race one, but recovered to take a deserved eleventh place finish by the time the flag fell.
“Even though it was a bit disappointing from the laps we’d done earlier, we came into the weekend looking for the top 10 so we achieved our target. In race one the rain was really heavy and although I dropped a couple of places I did climb back into 11th in the end, so I’m pretty happy with that.”
“On the last lap I was doing the same times as the leaders which was great, it just took me a bit longer to get down to that sort of pace”, added Pidgley, “I’m definitely happy with the job I did and the great job the team did too, they resolved the steering issues in the end so it’s just a shame race two didn’t happen. I’m really looking forward to Rockingham now, one of my favourite tracks.”