Cold and changeable conditions for the Renault UK Clio Cup at Donington Park saw Matrix Motorsport driver Michael Epps attempt to build on his third place within the drivers standings.
A few tenths off the fastest time in Thursday practice, Mike was to be buoyed by his times believing he could have the pace to mix it at the front in both qualifying on the Saturday and the two races on the Sunday.
With rain before qualifying, most cars began to lap the Donington circuit with wet tyres as the circuit started to dry out. The decision to switch to slicks had to be timed to perfection. However, Matrix and Epps got it wrong by a couple of laps and were immediately on the back foot.
Disappointingly, Mike’s fastest time was disallowed after being penalised for track limits and with not enough time to set another flyer, he was to line up seventeenth for race one and fourteenth in race two on account of his second fastest lap.
Aghast at the decision to penalise his fastest lap. Mike commented, “It’s a shame about the lap being dropped for track limits, it wasn’t even decided by a camera system.
“A marshal decided I had done it and wrote it down, yet on my onboard video I can’t find one time I went off the track to gain an advantage, but what’s done is done.”
Race one was full of adventure as he joined Team Pyro man Max Coates as they attempted to get up the field from lowly grid positions.
Mike finished seventh, a place behind Coates, a good achievement considering where he had started. Plus on the way to the ten championship points, Mike wowed the spectators at the circuit and viewers watching live on ITV4 as he channelled his inner Gabriele Tarquini and pitched his Clio onto two wheels through the final chicane.
With good speed in the car confirmed, race two was expected to end up the same way as the first if he managed to stay out of trouble. With a great few opening laps, it did start well as he climbed to sixth from fourteenth.
However, contact with other drivers during the race saw his Clio drop pace and then ultimately finish down in ninth.
“I’m not sure what it was but there was definitely some rubbing and banging in the early laps and the car just felt a bit off afterwards.” Spoke Mike after race two.
“Perhaps something a little bent, it was just missing something and as soon as you have to defend a position that’s pretty much it for going forward.”
This weekend saw Mike drop from third to seventh in the Renault UK Clio Cup drivers standings, but there is no reason to be disheartened by this due to the fact it’s still pretty early in the season and there is a long way to go.
Mike remains confident for the rest of the season, “If I have a good run at Thruxton we’ll be back at the forefront of the fight, if not then I guess it gets a little harder and we’ll have to really make a difference at Oulton Park and Croft.
“That’s how a close championship like this works though; it’ll no doubt go to the final rounds with this many people in contention for it. The boys at Matrix have made a great effort so far, with a few things learned for sure, and as long as that continues I think we can be in a strong place for the rest of the season.”