EXPERIENCE OF THRUXTON VITAL FOR BLANCKLEY Durham driver Simon Blanckley experienced both highs and lows during his first ever visit to Thruxton - a track renowned for challenging even the most seasoned of drivers - the venue for round 7, 8 and...
EXPERIENCE OF THRUXTON VITAL FOR BLANCKLEY
Durham driver Simon Blanckley experienced both highs and lows during his first ever visit to Thruxton - a track renowned for challenging even the most seasoned of drivers - the venue for round 7, 8 and 9 of the 2007 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship which took place on Sunday.
In round 7, despite being 21st on the grid, Blanckley had made up six places by lap 10 out of 16 in his AWD Chase De Vere-sponsored sibsport Honda Integra. Then, as he was pushing to improve his position, the 39-year old clipped too much of the curb at Church corner - acknowledged as the fastest corner in the country - and went wide onto the grass, damaging his car's front bumper. The problems this created aerodynamically caused Blanckley to spin on the following lap, but he regained his composure and made it to the finish in 18th.
The second race of the day was the most positive for sibsport. Starting 18th, Blanckley again made up ground over the first few laps as he got into a rhythm. Various accidents were occurring ahead, one of which caused the safety car to be deployed on lap 9 which bunched up the field. Seeking to make the most of this opportunity, he closed in on Turkish driver Erkut Kizlirmak. Blanckley executed his committed overtaking move on lap 11 through Church corner and following a problem for Gareth Howell ahead of him, Blanckley moved up to 11th position. He then narrowed the gap rapidly to David Pinkney's Alfa Romeo ahead of him, but just couldn't get close enough to claim his second championship point for 10th place. Had the race been a few laps longer, the team were confident he could have scored the final point in round 8.
Round 9 was the most disappointing for Blanckley, as he slightly overshot his grid placing whilst lining up for the start. Although he realised his mistake and let several cars through to try and avoid a penalty, he was given a pit lane drive-through order which effectively ended his challenge. Realistic to the fact that experience is vital at Thruxton - particularly this year as the championship returns to the Hampshire track for the last event of the season in October - Blanckley pushed on and set consistent lap times, at a track where regularity is key. He finished 16th.
Simon Blanckley - Owner/driver
"Overall I'm disappointed. Race two was a good result but Thruxton is quite a tough circuit to learn if you have never raced here before, as you have to be on the limit all the time, and there's a fine line between being on the limit and being over it. More. "We hardly made any setup changes throughout the weekend which was great and we finished all three races, so with the experience we gained hopefully we can be more competitive on our next visit here."
Graham Hathaway - Team Manager
"Disappointing day really in terms of results, but consistency improved throughout the weekend and we gained a lot of data. It's a demanding track which can see even the most experienced of driver's struggle, so Simon did well. I think he has proven how good he is - he's reliable and pushes when he needs too, and he is gaining confidence in every race."