WALKER'S LE MANS RESULTS HARD TO SWALLOW James Walker returns from Le Mans tonight in third place in the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship after a difficult weekend in France. Lady Luck wasn't on James' side this weekend, but the Jersey racer ...
WALKER'S LE MANS RESULTS HARD TO SWALLOW
James Walker returns from Le Mans tonight in third place in the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship after a difficult weekend in France. Lady Luck wasn't on James' side this weekend, but the Jersey racer nevertheless scored four points and is looking forward to the next race already.
James started the weekend in second place in the championship but things got off to a bad start before he had even turned a wheel. At dinner on Wednesday night, James got some food well and truly lodged in his throat. After an uncomfortable night in hospital he had an endoscopy and biopsy, which left him with a very sore throat and neck.
After having to sit out the first practice session on Friday morning as he was still recuperating, James took to the track in the afternoon and was seventh fastest overall. On Saturday morning he was still feeling weak but managed to qualify for the Superpole session by coming third in his group. A determined performance in Superpole put James right back up there with the second fastest time of the session.
James started in seventh place for the first, reverse grid, race, and had to cut across the chicane to avoid the first corner mayhem. This dropped him back down to 13th but he battled on and, with nothing to lose, took a dive up the inside of Edoardo Mortara. Unfortunately the Italian turned in on him and that was the end of race one for James.
Race two started brilliantly as James blasted away into the lead. Everything was going to plan until a sticky wheel gun caused him to lose a lot of time in his pit-stop. He emerged in fifth place after everyone had been in for their stops and would have finished there if he hadn't had a late race spin. The effects of his earlier throat injury finally catching up with a rather wiped out racing driver. The spin dropped James to ninth but he still takes a few points away from Le Mans and, considering he was close to not being able to race, it was a good result.
Bertrand Baguette won both races this weekend so he now leads the Championship. Marcos Martinez is in second, with James very close behind in third place.
"I need to close the gap again now," said James. "I've done it before though and I'll do it again. Considering how much pain I was in at the start of the weekend I'm glad to salvage a few points. It's a massive shame how race two turned out as I was on for a win but these things happen. We'll try again next time and I'll be very careful when I choose what to have for dinner!"
James' next race is only two weeks away as the World Series by Renault rolls into the Portiamo Circuit in the Algarve on 1-2 August.