Laura had so far only raced single seaters in her car racing carrer since graduating from karting and this was her first ever weekend in a saloon car based championship. Racing for Team Hard in a Golf Gti she hoped the team’s experience would benefit her.
Having had only limited testing over the winter, she wasn’t expecting to be right at the front straight away but was hoping to be as far up the field as possible.
She felt confident going into qualifying on Saturday but sadly a gearbox problem ended her session early just as the track was getting quicker putting her down in 23rd on the grid.
The first race was also on Saturday later that day. Laura got a great start and made up several places but a pile up elsewhere in the field brought out the red flags and meant they had to restart. She didn’t get quite as good a start this time and but made up a few spots initially only to lose out in the first lap battling for position dropping to 22nd.
The cars in front were defending well but as the race progressed she made up two more positions. The penultimate lap saw another of her rivals go off and she finished in nineteenth. Not the start she had hoped for but her qualifying problems had made things difficult. She now looked forward to Easter Monday’s races.
This time her start was much better and she quickly fought up to 15th place. Unfortunately she ran off the road on her next move and dropped back to 18th but she quickly dispatched Mark Smith the former BTCC driver making his racing return this weekend. Unfortunately the cars in the next positions were now too far ahead to catch and despite lapping quicker she crossed the line in 17th.
For race three, she didn’t manage to make quite as many places intitially, running in twentieth but then managed to pick off the 19th placed car ahead and set off after the next pack of cars. Gradually picking them off over the following laps rising to 16th and then 15th the next lap. She wasn’t done yet and moved up to 13th before crossing the line.
It was an excellent debut especially with the set back of the gearbox failing in qualifying. With the next rounds at Rockingham hopefully suiting the Golf better, Laura will be aiming for top tens or better! By Marc Waller