She’d have to achieve it with less track time though as her limited budget meant no Friday testing. Her team mate up until now, Michael Symons wasn’t competing at Silverstone and so Abbie and the car were just racing in the two Sunday Sprint races only.
Abbie and the team had made some changes to the car after Rockingham and with no testing, the Sunday morning qualifying session would be the first chance to check out the car and how it was behaving now. Abbie knows the track really well and this made it easier using the limited time to try and get the car up to speed. Qualifying started damp and as it dried out, Abbie also had new tyres that needed to be scrubbed in (Thanks to a new sponsor, Southern Waste management) so this didn’t leave much time for actually setting fast laps. Despite this, Abbie’s fastest times were quick enough for fourth on the grid. The car still wasn’t quite right so Abbie asked the team to make some more changes before the first race which was due off just before lunch.
By the time the cars formed up on the grid for the first race of the day, the sun was out and the track was perfectly dry. Abbie made a good start and was battling with the front pack straight away. Her car handling was rather wayward under braking though as she needed to adjust the brake bias as a result of the changes. Once this was sorted, she put on a charge and moved up to third of the GTB cars. She then hunted down second place and was just 0.2 seconds behind them as she crossed the line taking a GTB class podium in third.
Abbie was pleased;
“The car feels much better. Hopefully I can now push from that start in race two.”
Abbie started in tenth place overall on the grid for race two. The weather was still dry but the sky had clouded over and was threatening rain. It was dry for now though and Abbie made another great start. She rapidly mved up the field, making some great overtakes to take the class lead. Once in front she found she was very comfortable lapping in the class lead and set off in pursuit of a Lotus in the GTC class. As the race entered it’s closing stages she had built up a class lead of over ten seconds. She decided that the class win was more important than trying to beat cars from other classes and decided to back off to make sure she could bring the car home. She crossed the line in first with nearly 11 seconds over the second placed GTB car. She had also set the fastest lap of the race in the GTB class.
Abbie was thrilled to finally have a GTB win in GT cup after several tough weekends so far;
“It has been a long time coming after a very tough start to the season with things out of my control. What a great feeling to finally have a car underneath me that I can work with. A big thank you to the Geoff Steel boys, my sponsors Oughtred & Harrsion Vehicle Conversions, Sental Recruitment & Mike Clayton at Westfield Homebuyers who made sure I was able to race this weekend and also a special thank you to Mick & Ellie at Southern Waste Management for making sure I had some fresh tyres on the car! I wouldn’t have had such good results without your help! And of course not forgetting my friends and family for always supporting me.”
Abbie now hopes to continue the success at Snetterton in July and is looking for sponsorship to enable her to continue her winning form. She certainly proved she can produce the results at Silverstone. By Marcc Waller