UP-BEAT EPTON CAN'T WAIT FOR NEXT TASTE OF PORSCHE CARRERA Team Parker Racing's David Epton had a tough Porsche Carrera Cup GB baptism during his championship debut at Donington Park National Circuit over the weekend, 14th/15th July, but the ...
UP-BEAT EPTON CAN'T WAIT FOR NEXT TASTE OF PORSCHE CARRERA
Team Parker Racing's David Epton had a tough Porsche Carrera Cup GB baptism during his championship debut at Donington Park National Circuit over the weekend, 14th/15th July, but the Preston 26-year-old remains up-beat and is now looking forward to the next meeting of the season where he aims to be a consistent top eight finisher.
With just two short 45-minute sessions of testing under his belt following his maiden run in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB car on Thursday, David nonetheless headed into qualifying on Saturday relatively confident and produced the 11th fastest time on his debut, a tantalising two 10ths of a second outside the top eight.
At the beginning of the first race of the weekend, which took place on Saturday afternoon, Colin Willmott was able to edge ahead of David. However, a mechanical problem for Team Parker Racing team-mate Michael Caine elevated series debutant Epton into 11th position.
As the race started to settle down, so too did David and he began to produce better and better laps times which placed him within striking distance of Willmott. Looking visibly quicker than his rival, the former single-seater star prepared to make a move on lap nine at McLeans but as David looked up the inside, Willmott turned in and both tangled.
Locking-up his brakes to avoid further contact, David spun round on the exit of the corner and his car ended up beached in the gravel -- not that he would have been able to continue anyway due to the left rear tyre being detached from the wheel rim.
Under the sporting regulations of Porsche Carrera Cup GB, the grid for the second race on any given weekend is determined by the finishing order of race one and so David would find himself on the back row of the grid for round 12 alongside team-mate Caine as they were both non-finishers in the first encounter.
Again, David's pace improved as the laps counted down in the second race but this time a spin at the Old Hairpin on the 11th tour -- which resulted in a hefty impact with the tyre barrier for the rear of his car -- ended his weekend all too early. The incident was a bitter disappointment as he had been pressuring Pete Osborne for 10th position at the time.
This weekend was always going to offer a steep learning curve for the Honeywell Aerospace, Universal Weather & Aviation Inc and Imperial Jet-backed ace but he knows with a little more testing time in the car, the results will undoubtedly follow.
"It's really annoying to have failed to finish both races but with more time in the car I'm certain we can qualify regularly inside the top eight and be competitive in the lower end of the top 10", reflected David, "Even with our problems I'm quite happy with how the transition from Formula Renault to Porsche has gone.
"We didn't have a great deal of testing but I was still pretty happy with my qualifying time as I know I didn't get the most of out the tyres or the car and still ended up within three 10ths of a second of the top eight. I think it's realistic to say without a couple of small errors we could have been just six or seven 10ths of a second off pole position."
The Hampshire-bred racer added: "In the second race I had planned to bide my time as the pace I ran at the start was comparable to the sort of times the leaders were doing at that stage. It's unfortunate the way the weekend turned out but that's racing!
"Every time I get in the car I gain more confidence, which is obvious, and there are a lot of positives to take away with us regarding our first weekend in Porsche. We just need a bit more time in the car to help us complete this season strongly and then hopefully be back for a stronger push next year when I want to be winning races again."
Rounds 13 and 14 of the 2007 Porsche Carrera Cup GB will take place at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk two weeks from now on 28th/29th July. Pre-event testing will take place on Friday, 27th July, and there is also a possibility David may try to embark on an additional test prior to the meeting in order to gain more valuable experience.