BIRD SWOOPS TO CONQUER SPA Dominating on his first ever visit to the greatest drivers' favourite circuit, Sam had started from third on the grid. By Eau Rouge, he was in the lead, only to lose it again to pole-sitter Stephen Jelley, behind...
BIRD SWOOPS TO CONQUER SPA
Dominating on his first ever visit to the greatest drivers' favourite circuit, Sam had started from third on the grid. By Eau Rouge, he was in the lead, only to lose it again to pole-sitter Stephen Jelley, behind whom he sat for two laps before getting a good tow to pass him on lap 3. After that, the MSA Race Elite driver pushed hard to pull out a 3.5 second advantage from the rest of the field, leading all the way to the chequered flag.
"Sam did a fantastic job" said team boss Trevor Carlin after the race, adding "he had a perfect start and demonstrated great racecraft to get the lead from Jelley. It was a very mature performance for a rookie".
"I would like to dedicate this win to a friend and neighbour, Val, who died recently" Sam added.
In race two, BP Ultimate driver Bird again started from third on the grid. However, persistent rain from the night before, right up to the start of the race, forced a rolling start behind the safety car. After two laps, the race order was therefore the same as the qualifying positions, and once the safety car went in, the rain was teeming down on a despondant crowd. "It was like having two sheets of tracing paper in front of my visor" said a wry Sam "at one point, I was moving all over the track just to try and get a view of where the drivers ahead of me where on the track. There was no point trying to push for an overtaking manoeuvre which could have gone sadly wrong, so I decided to settle for third place, my second podium of the weekend and a good points haul". A crashed car on lap four brought out the safety car again, which stayed out right to the chequered flag, meaning the race was something of a procession.
Bird now has a total of 8 podiums to his credit, including two wins in the series, and holds 2nd place in the championship with 138 points.
Sam's next race is the Zandvoort Masters at Zolder, next weekend, August 4/5.
The races from Spa will be shown on Channel 4 next Sunday morning, 8am, followed by a number of screenings on Motors TV.