IRISH ACE FILDES MAINTAINS CHAMPIONSHIP TOP SIX AT CROFT Jonathan Fildes departed North Yorkshire this evening delighted to maintain his place among the top six in the Blaupunkt SEAT Cupra Championship standings following perhaps his toughest ...
IRISH ACE FILDES MAINTAINS CHAMPIONSHIP TOP SIX AT CROFT
Jonathan Fildes departed North Yorkshire this evening delighted to maintain his place among the top six in the Blaupunkt SEAT Cupra Championship standings following perhaps his toughest weekend of the season at a red-hot Croft.
The 31-year-old Irishman, who is backed by Applied Signs & Display, Asgard Taverns, Atari Expo and AM Speedsport, headed into the seventh and eighth rounds of the year aiming to secure at least one podium result at the 2.1-mile venue.
Having requested a change to the set-up on the rear of his Total Control Racing-run SEAT in time for the second of today's races, after finishing ninth in the opening encounter, Jonathan quickly realised he had made a bad call. Nonetheless, he guided his car home to a top six finish in round eight thanks to absolutely sublime car control.
"The car was far too loose at the back during the second race, my arms were sore because of all of the opposite lock I was having to apply just to try and keep it on the track", explained the Co.Meath sensation.
"It was my fault the car was like it though. You never have to change a TCR car but after the first race I thought it would be better to have the back end a little bit more loose. I soon realised I had made a bad decision and should have listened to the team but it was the most fun I have ever had in a racing car!"
Jonathan added: "Even though I was struggling, I could hold my own with the cars around me. Had other drivers started pushing me than I would have let them through as I didn't want to mess up anybody else's race. It never came to that though and thankfully we managed to finish where we started the race so I can't complain too much."
Having set the fifth fastest time during Friday's test session, just three 10ths of a second adrift of series leader Mat Jackson, Jonathan was reasonably confident of qualifying within the top five for both races. As it turned out, fifth position on the grid was achieved for round seven while he set the sixth fastest time in round eight qualifying.
At the start of round seven, Jonathan was fairly slow off the line and slipped to seventh place before dropping back to ninth position by lap four. It was evident his car was struggling for pace but it wasn't until after the race the reason became clear, a broken intercooler starving the engine and causing a noticeable reduction in power.
Having defended very well in order to keep hold of ninth position in race one, Jonathan went into the second of the weekend's events hoping for an improved performance but rather than pursue the leaders he had to focus solely on keeping his car on the track in a bid to salvage a good haul of points as the SEAT slid around at every corner.
As the race passed mid-distance the car became much more of a handful and during the closing stages Jonathan was sideways through the Sunny In, Sunny Out combination of corners on almost every lap. Somehow though, due to supreme car control, he managed to bring his SEAT home for a very well-deserved sixth place finish.
The seventh and eighth rounds of the Blaupunkt SEAT Cupra Championship will be replayed in full on Motors TV this Tuesday morning, 18th July, starting at 07.00. Motors TV is available at channel 413 of the Sky Digital platform and via cable operator NTL on channel 173.
Rounds nine and 10 of the season, meanwhile, will take place two weeks from now, 29th/30th July, at Donington Park National Circuit in Leicestershire.