GREAT WEEKEND FOR WALKER IN PORTUGAL James Walker's performance in the World Series by Renault last weekend has set the Jersey racer up for a fantastic season finale in Spain in just a few days' time. James was on the pace from the moment he...
GREAT WEEKEND FOR WALKER IN PORTUGAL
James Walker's performance in the World Series by Renault last weekend has set the Jersey racer up for a fantastic season finale in Spain in just a few days' time.
James was on the pace from the moment he arrived at the Estoril track, running in the top 10 of the 30 cars during the extra day of testing on Thursday. He achieved this even without using new tyres as they would be saved for Friday morning's practice session, used to replicate the conditions he would face in qualifying on Saturday.
When Saturday came James qualified sixth in his group which is by far his best qualifying performance of the year, proving that all his hard work is paying off. He started race one in 11th place and came through at the end of lap one in 10th, after avoiding Ben Hanley's barrel-rolling car along the pit straight! He was up to seventh when the time came for pit stops and held that position through to the end of the race, taking a well-deserved result in race one.
The reverse grid rule meant that James would start race two from fourth place on the grid. He got away well at the lights but was pushed wide into the first corner as everyone jostled for position and lost a few places. He fought his way back up to seventh and put in lap after lap of consistently fast times. As in race one the car's race set up was working like a dream and James was able to push hard throughout. James got past Alvaro Parente just a few laps before the end when the Portuguese driver ran wide as he was challenged by another car but soon after, whilst running in sixth, James' rear wheels locked up as he braked for the chicane which spun him around and knocked him right down the field with little time remaining for a fight back. James pitted for new tyres and went out to do some quick laps to finish his competitive showing. "Pace-wise this has been our most competitive weekend," said James. "I'm obviously not happy with the result of race two but I'm very happy with our performance and I think this has set us up for a good finale in Barcelona next weekend."
The Barcelona event takes place in a few days' time (27/28 October). James tested at the Circuit de Catalunya earlier this year and enjoyed the challenges of the Spanish track.
"It's a physically and technically challenging circuit," he said. "I liked it a lot when I tested there and from a physical perspective it will be a great test of our strength as it takes place just a few days after Estoril which was a tough track. I'm loving my racing more than ever and I really want to go out to Spain and get the kind of result that will set us up for all the work we need to do over the winter to prepare for 2008."