PENALTY ROBS JOTA SPORT OF MAIDEN WIN Jota Sport left Donington with high hopes after a strong weekend which culminated in race victory for Phil Quaife, who was unfortunate to be handed a post-race penalty. The weekend got off to a positive ...
PENALTY ROBS JOTA SPORT OF MAIDEN WIN
Jota Sport left Donington with high hopes after a strong weekend which culminated in race victory for Phil Quaife, who was unfortunate to be handed a post-race penalty.
The weekend got off to a positive start with a fourth and a sixth place in race one, but in a chaotic race two both drivers proved their racing prowess with Quaife finishing first on the road, followed by a surging Hancock in fifth position with the top six covered by only three seconds.
Starting from fifth on the grid, Hancock made a good start into fourth past Charles Bateman then pulled away with the top three. But as he pushed harder, overheating tyres soon saw Hancock start to lose grip and despite looking after them, they still started to blister by the end whilst he held off MacLeod who was fighting for his fourth place. A difficult start from seventh on the grid saw team-mate Quaife quickly passed by Nigel Rice, but he soon fought back delivering the Red Line Racing driver a dose of his own medicine and with everyone else staying out of trouble, he sat tight from there to finish sixth behind MacLeod.
As rain started to fall just before the beginning of race two, most of the drivers opted to stay on slick tyres in the hope that it would be but a passing shower. Quaife got a stunning getaway passing three cars on the first lap to sit in second behind Bridgman. In constantly changing conditions, he continued to harry the leader until, 12 minutes from the end, he lunged down the inside going into the chicane. As the track started to dry, Quaife managed to absorb all the pressure that Bridgman could exert on him and crossed the line to take his maiden win - only for the Clerk of the Course to impose a two-second post-race penalty for overtaking under a yellow flag, dropping the 22-year old to third.
Team-mate Hancock also made a good start fighting for third in the early stages, only to have a coming-together with Michael Caine which dropped both drivers down the order. In the latter stages of the race, Hancock managed to claw his way back into contention, all the while defending from Tim Harvey and finished fifth, a mere 2.5 seconds from the race winner.
Team Principal Sam Hignett: "I am disappointed with the penalty as there was no fluke with Phil's win at all - he totally deserved it by controlling the race and driving brilliantly. Sam should also have been right up there - he had an attempt to pass Caine, got boxed in and pushed out, but he definitely did the right thing. Both drivers did a brilliant job and to get the team of the weekend award was a great positive. Despite the ultimate result, we seem to have turned a corner now. Driver and team morale has obviously been given a boost so we're really looking forward to Thruxton."
Phil Quaife: "Race one wasn't too good for me as I had a lot of wheel spin off the line and Nigel Rice passed me on the first corner. The second race was so great, though, and it's a real blow to receive a penalty, but I respect the Clerk of the Course's decision. In the heat of the moment it was really difficult to see because the rain was so heavy, but that's racing. The team did a fantastic job today, the car was faultless in both races and consistent all the way through, so a big thank you to the guys. I'm just looking forward to Thruxton now!"
Sam Hancock: "The first race was difficult as I did my best to look after the tyres but they still started to blister towards the end. Then in race two I started quite well but I had a full-on battle with Caine who was defending very hard. In the end we collided and unfortunately dropped down the field and I had to hold off Tim Harvey to the end. Despite Phil's penalty, I am immensely proud of the work the team have done and it's clear the boys are the moral victors today."