Jessica Hawkins tough Mini festival weekend

Jessica fought hard to try and be at the front (Photo by Marc Waller)Jessica Hawkins headed to the annual Brands Hatch Mini Festival last weekend for the latest rounds of the Cooper class of the Mini challenge.

After wins in the previous three meetings, she was hoping for further success to strengthen her championship lead. But she would be hampered this time by a three place grid drop in qualifying, given to her for an overtaking move at Rockingham which stewards had judged as unfair. Hawkins didn’t agree but there was nothing she could do but accept the grid penalty.

She then set out to qualify as high as she could to counter the grid drop. The Brands Indy circuit always provides close times as the same was true here. Her time of 57,565 was fourth fastest but just a fraction off pole. This left her in seventh but Hawkins has already proved her ability to fight through the field in the season’s reverse grid races.

She got a great start as the first race of the weekend got underway quickly moving up to fourth. The third place car proved harder to pass though. Hawkins has to also think of her championship chances and a fourth place finish is better than no finish so she was careful not to make any rash moves. This left her to finish in a strong fourth for some important championship points.

She’d now be in a much better position to fight in race two. The second and third races were on Sunday with one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

As the lights got underway for race two, Hawkins again made a good start and continued her third place battle. Again, thinking of the championship, she didn’t make any rash moves but saw her chance on lap eleven and went through into a podium spot. She was all set to then challenge the top two spots when she was hit going into Druids. The car was nearly spun and Hawkins fought to keep control. She managed it but there was damage as the steering now wasn’t straight. The collision had dropped her down to seventh.
Things didn’t look good with not much of the race left but somehow Hawkins not only fought back with her damaged car but got all the way back up to fourth by the flag. This put her second on the grid for the reverse grid race and hopefully with a real chance for a race win.

She got a good start as the lights went out for the final time but amazingly on the first lap a rival once again hit her car. She again kept control but dropped down to fifth place. Hawkins really wasn’t in the mood to be pushed off the podium once again and she pushed hard, taking fourth by lap eight. Unfortunately, on lap twelve she was again knocked down to fifth. This seemed to make her even more determined and she rapidly fought up to third by lap thirteen. The next lap she was shuffled down to fourth but on the final lap she took third once again as she crossed the line, keeping up her record of being on the podium at every single meeting this year.

Hawkins wasn’t hugely happy though, like most quick drivers she only wants wins;

Fighting her way back to the front (Photo by Marc Waller) Another podium (Photo by Marc Waller)

 

 

 

“Not the weekend I was hoping for, although we did know it would be a tough weekend carrying a grid penalty from Rockingham. the team worked as hard as ever and we made the best out of a bad situation. But taking the positives, I finished in the points in all three races and scored another podium. Although my results this weekend feel bad compared to the rest of my season for lots of others drivers this would have been a good weekend! Hoping I can continue in the championship for the next round.”

Hawkins next race should be the Oulton Park Mini festival on the 19th August but she’s not currently sure if her budget will allow it.

It would be a tragedy if someone driving as well as Hawkins has so far this season, was unable to complete her championship challenge. Everyone is hoping she can find the backing she deserves and can continue her championship fight in 2017.By Marc Waller