As always Katie had the Friday to undergo testing in the car but this time she had Jack Layton with her as he was racing in the Super kart races that were also on at Donington the same weekend. Donington was a new track to Katie and so the test day was very important to learn the track and get up to speed as quickly as possible. Things went well though and she was quickly up to speed and feeling confident of a good weekend ahead.
The race weekend itself began with a briefing for all the drivers about sticking to track limits and general driving standards. Katie and the championships other female drivers, Emily Glanvil and Shanel Drewe, also had an interview about their views on how women are treated in Motorsport. This got Katie even more fired up as she wanted to prove what she could do to try and show that women deserve more opportunities than they get.
Katie had big traffic problems in qualifying with slower cars holding her up several times during the session. Despite this she still took second and fifth on the grid and she knew she had the speed to get to the front. Her time for the first race grid in particular was just 0.093 seconds off pole.
She got a great start when the lights went out for race one and immediately took the lead. She gradually pulled away until she had an impressive lead of around six seconds. Unfortunately an incident further down the field caused the race to be red flagged so Katie would have to do it all again.
This time Katie didn’t managed to pass rival Zanetti off the line but she stuck to his tail and after a couple of laps she made her move to take the lead. She then gradually pulled away once more, circulating over half a second a lap quicker than the rest. By the chequered flag she was just under 5.7 seconds ahead. It was an impressive victory, even more so as she’d had to do it twice!
Race two was going to be much tougher starting fifth but she had been the fastest car in the field in race one so it was a chance to show her passing abilities! She got a good start off the line and set about picking off her rivals. With Zanetti able to have a clear run at the front, he had pulled a bit of a gap by the time Katie fought through into second. But with her quicker pace she gradually reeled him in until with four minutes to go she was right behind him and made her move to take the lead. Unfortunately for Katie, red flags were to spoil her race again as just two corners after passing him they came out due to a crash further down the field.
This time there was to be no restart and when a race is red flagged the result is taken from the lap before the red flags come out. Katie was in second place at that point and so that would be her result.
It was gutting after she had such a great drive fighting through to the lead but her combined results from the weekend were enough to take the championship lead.
Katie spoke about her tough second race afterwards;
“I’d just made the move for the lead with just four minutes to go and two corners later the red flags appeared so I was gutted that I didn’t make it earlier! However I’m still really happy I’d finished second from where I was. Both races were tough, the track was covered in gravel and broken lights and bumpers so trying to not get a puncture was hard! Everyone also came back with damaged windscreens! I’m really happy to take the championship lead this weekend. Thanks to my team for all they’ve done this weekend and also to my sponsors, Nimbus Motorsport, Autocool radiators, Merlin international, Myprotein and Richardson transport I had Richardson Transport with me this weekend so a massive thanks to them!”
Katie’s next races are at Brands Hatch on June 25th and 26th where she will be hoping for another strong weekend to try and extend her championship lead. By Marc Waller