As with all the circuits, Rockingham is new to Shanel and so Shanel needed to first learn the circuit and how best to race on it with it’s wide banking. Shanel’s aim was to move forward up the field from where she has been so far in her debut season.
Unfortunately practice didn’t go according to plan for Shanel when a shunt damaged the front of the car. Luckily, Shanal has a very capable team around her and despite there being only a few hours before qualifying, the team got the car repaired and ready for qualifying.
Into qualifying and Shanel managed to take twenty first on the grid for the first race and twentieth for race two. The team found some rubbing bodywork afterwards which had slowed her down so it was clear she could move forward in the races. Shanel also reviewed her laps so far to see where she could make improvements.
The track was cold and slippery as they lined up for race one on Sunday morning. Shanel had one of her best starts and opening laps so far as she moved from twenty first to fifteenth. Shanel then put in some consistent laps (All within 0.3 seconds) as she raced with the pack. One car managed to find it’s way past on the banking but she managed sixteenth place. This was a strong finish in front of several more experienced drivers.
The race boosted Shanel’s confidence to a new level and she looked forward to race two, especially as the track was now dryer. Shanel again got a great start and battled up to sixteenth once more. On the final three laps, the seventeenth place car got a tow and pushed right up to Shanel’s rear bumper. He tried all the tricks he had to find a way past but Shanel showed she has already picked up some considerable defensive skills and he was unable to find a way past her and Shanel took another sixteenth place.
It had been one of Shanel’s strongest weekends yet where she had demonstrated she’s learnt both how to attack and defend as well as finding more speed. She had beaten several more experienced drivers in their second season in only her fourth race meeting. Several of her fellow JSCC drivers were very complimentary on her driving.
At this stage in her career, a weekend like this is almost as good as a win. Shanel felt her performance really improved this weekend;
“I felt I was at the limit before, but this weekend I learnt the car will step up further and offers a different level of handling which is even more fun!”
Shanel would like to thank her team and sponsors for this weekend and she looks forward to the next event at Donington Park this weekend. By Marc Waller