Charlotte Birch has ups and downs at Donington but ends on a high

Charlotte prepares to head on track (Photo by Marc Waller)Charlotte proved to anyone left with any doubt this weekend that she has the racer within her! Surprising some of her other competitors battling them for position this weekend, she has catapulted herself onto their radar.

She has become so confident and comfortable with her car and driving to the limits that now all she has to do is move up the grid. As she approaches the end of her first season she is excited for the final round at Brands Hatch, She has had a very challenging season with two DNF’s through no fault of her own she has learnt how cruel motorsport can be, but also how brilliant it can be after which drives her forward preparing for each race. Being a complete rookie this year she has concentrated on familiarising herself with the tracks and learning her craft –she has certainly jumped in at the deep end!

Donington began with testing on Friday and Charlotte seemed immediately at home, her times close to the front running cars. It was a positive start to the weekend and things were looking good for the weekend. Unfortunately, in Saturday practice she was suddenly off the pace. When the car returned to the paddock it was found to have a failure in the front suspension. This was fixed in time for qualifying but again things didn’t go according to plan and she lined up seventeenth. Charlotte immediately started watching her on board video, trying to work out what was wrong. She was determined to move up in the races on Sunday.

As race one got underway, Charlotte made a great start moving up the grid into the first corner at Redgate where the whole pack made it through with no problems. Battling hard with the pack she went into the old hairpin where she was a little overeager and unsettled the car which resulted into a spin – she managed to get re-started but the pack had left her behind by about 15 seconds!

This left Charlotte with a lot of work to do, trying to catch the pack she knew unless a safety car was to come out she had little chance of catching them. Finishing the race in 17th she was disappointed with the spin out but happy with her start off the grid and she had put in some consistent laps during the race which would have moved her up the field without the spin. Now it was onto race two and hopefully a positive end to her weekend.

Focus (Photo by Marc Waller) Close racing at the start (Photo by Marc Waller) On track (Photo by Marc Waller) Looking to pass in race two (Photo by Marc Waller)

 

 

 

Once again, she made an awesome start passing three cars before the first bend. Charlotte got well into the gaggle of cars exiting the corner, battling and holding her position through the next flurry of bends as the field headed through the Craner curves. She had already made a good gap from the cars she had passed on the start and was fighting to get further up the field. She managed to pass another car further round the lap, getting her into the mid-field traffic and settling into the race she started to gain on the car in front for a good few laps. But as the race was reaching it’s closing stages, further up the pack disaster struck with an incident involving multiple cars. The race was red flagged due to one of the cars flipping on to its roof cutting the race short by 2 or 3 laps. This left Charlotte to finish in 12th place from 17the on the grid. Charlotte was pleased with the result feeling that she had just driven the best race of her season. Even though the result hadn’t been her best to date, her race craft was at her best that it had ever been, proving she had the pace where it counts and the fearless determination to fight her way forward. Sometimes the points don’t always reflect the achievements! By Angela Birch

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