Red flags and safety cars restrict results for Charlotte Birch

Last minute team talk before she goes out (Photo by Marc Waller)It was a bit of a case of Déjà vu for Charlotte Birch last weekend as the JSCC championship headed to Rockingham in Northamptonshire for the second time this season.

This time, the whole event would be on one day with the final race being held as the sun sets behind the stands. Charlotte had inherited her first podium last time after a couple of cars were disqualified for technical infringements so hopes were high for more good results.

Charlotte had exams on Friday but arrived in time for a small amount of testing, on her own for the first time. Because of the Friday track time, the decision was made to not do many laps in the Saturday practice session, which was held in dry but overcast conditions, and just use the time to scrub in some new sets of tyres. Charlotte was finding it hard to get heat into the tyres and hoped that the weather would warm up for the rest of the day.

Qualifying initially went well with Charlotte running fifth after her first runs. She was just on another faster run when the red flags came out due to a rival rolling their car. When the session resumed a while later, Charlotte found herself in traffic and she was unable to improve her time. This left her in seventh for race one and tenth for race two.

The first race was later that afternoon and Charlotte made a good start and initially ran in sixth but a rival made contact with her at Tarzan causing her to run wide as he took the place. A second rival then made contact but with his car already out of control, he had a half spin leaving Charlotte to drive away in seventh place which she held until the flag.

At the start of race two she made an even better get away and fought her way up to fifth place before the safety car was scrambled. Unfortunately it stayed out for several laps preventing Charlotte from making any further progress. It also meant her rivals behind were closed right up to her as well. The race restarted with just two laps to go and on the first lap after the restart one of her rivals managed to nip through. With two more cars looking to follow past as well, Charlotte concentrated on defending from the other cars and crossed the line in sixth.

Although she didn’t get the hoped-for podium, she had raced well and picked up some important championship points.

“I’ve had a good day with two good races. The red flag badly affected qualifying but I’ve still managed to score some good points in both races. The long safety car period really held me back in race two.

“As we get to the half way point of the season, I’ve been feeling the ripple effects of the first round crash up till now but hopefully that’s behind us and we can build on the success so far. I want continue to score points strong points and more podiums, hopefully even a win at some point!

Charlotte made a strong start in both races (Photo by Marc Waller) In qualifying (Photo by Marc Waller)  Charlotte on a fast lap (Photo by Marc Waller) Charlotte in the second race of the day as the sun sets (Photo by Marc Waller)

 

 

 

Thanks to all my sponsors, Blue Lizard Signs, Herock Workwear, Fixings & Power tools Centre Redhill and Toyotec. I’m really looking forward to getting back on track after the break.”

Charlotte’s next races are at Snetterton in Norfolk in August with a long summer break before that. By Marc Waller

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