We came into Brands Hatch weekend on the high of the first win at Snetterton, but our expectations were low. Brands Indy is a circuit more suited to the less powerful better handling cars. So we would have been happy with a podium.
After testing on Friday afternoon it was clear we were not on race winning pace, the 968s certainly had an edge and in qualifying the Ferrari 355s were also quicker than us. We qualified 5th overall the only rival that was behind us was Steve Atkinson. So the expectation was that we’d have an exciting race with Steve and if we’re lucky aim for a podium.
The start was excellent (see the video) we launched from 5th on the grid into a solid 2nd at Paddock Hill bend and edged back to 3rd at Druids. The race settled into a rhythm were we tried lots of different lines and gears in an attempt to keep up with the 2 drivers ahead (James Hilliard in the Feathers 968 and Nigel Jenkins in his 355). They were just about in sight while we were racing with the stragglers from the GT4 grid ahead.
Not long into the race we went past a crawling James Hilliard who retired with a broken hub. As we got close to the pit stops Steve Atkinson was closing in from behind and the fight was on. We held off Steve (shame the video wasn’t pointing rearwards!) until the pit stop phase of the race. Coming in to the stop with a very narrow 2nd place. Steve stayed out much longer whilst we went about putting in some fast laps to ensure Steve didn’t beat us out the pits. We suspect Steve made an error in his stop as we didn’t see him again.
A couple laps after stopping a we pass a slow moving Nigel Jenkins, with a failed wheel bearing. Now in the lead and the pit board showing 8 seconds to 2nd. With around 30 minutes to go there was still very much a race on. I felt very paranoid about lifting off in case I lost the lead so doing the only thing I could was to just push as hard as possible and try to make every lap faster than the last setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 39 and finishing 1st overall for the second time in a row with a lead of 12 second the strategy paid off.
It wasn’t all without drama though as the car suffered fuel starvation coming out of the final corner of the race but finding enough in the tank to get us across the line. Colin Chapman would have been pleased with the amount of fuel we put in, just enough!
Again it was pretty cool to win with so many people there to support us, and by the sounds of it they recruited a few extra Hollyman Racing fans from the paddock hill grandstand.