Drama for Christie Doran at Rockingham

Track action (Photo by Alex Denham)I WAS really excited when the VAG Trophy bosses said we were going to Rockingham.

It was the first UK circuit that I had watched the series compete at – and I couldn’t wait to tackle the oval section.

It took a couple of years but we were there. We got a track day and I absolutely loved it. The lap was a bit stop and start but there I got in a rhythm and was enjoying it. I felt I could do alright.

There is a mental attitude to Turn One. A bid concrete wall and no forgiveness. You get the line wrong by inches at over 125mph and you and the wall make friends.
And hit a wall at 125mph and there is only one winner.

Testing ahead of the weekend went well. I had an excellent car from Slidesports Race Engineering and my lap times were quicker than when the Class B VAGs visited Rockingham. Mark Jenkins was talking me through the weekend and we believed it was going to be a good meeting for us.

Qualifying almost went perfectly. I was just off the times I had set in testing. I was P1 for most of the session, but just got pipped right at the end. I was still happy with P2 in class.

Race one didn’t go to plan. I was starting 16th overall and got a great start. I was past four cars before we came out of Turn One but there were cars everywhere at Deene Hairpin. I managed to pick my way through only to find more cars off round the corner then another car facing the wrong way after Turn Three. I was up to sixth overall and leading the class but I just wanted to get into a rhythm.

It all started to go wrong on the second lap. I had turned into Deene but another car came into the side of the car and ran me wide on to the grass. I got back, but had lost the class lead and a couple of positions.

I went into recovery mode. I got quicker and quicker – taking the fastest lap in the class as closed the gap on Martyn Culley. I felt there was just enough time to get to him but then I picked the wrong moment to check the mirrors for a fast-approaching A-Class car. The split-second decision meant I was offline into Turn One and I hit the wall big time.
It was a huge impact that literally left its mark on the wall, but my only thoughts were for Slidesports. The car was badly damaged and my weekend was over, but they faced a big job to repair the Golf.

The wall had won this time. It won’t beat me because I will come back fighting. By Christie Doran

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