One step off the podium – Katie Milners second Ginetta GT5 weekend

Race one got a bit too close at times with katie sustaining damage (Photo by Marc Waller)Less than two weeks after the first rounds, Katie Milner and the One Call Racing team made the trip to Rockingham for the latest rounds of the Ginetta GT5 Challenge.

There would actually be four races at this meeting as the lost third race from Oulton would be run here at the end of the weekend. This is the race where Milner would start from pole.

Before all that though was the Friday test day. Things seemed very positive and the whole team looked forward to a positive weekend.

Everyone was feeling very confident before qualifying. As the cars circulated, it became obvious things were very close. Milner set the fifth fastest time but within a lap she was down in eighteenth. She then set another time to put herself back in fifth only to drop down again With everyone improving with every lap it became obvious that the last laps were going to be the ones that set the grid. Sadly they weren’t Milner’s best of the session and this left her in sixteenth.

She was disapointed at the result but she also knew that she could be quicker in the race and move up the field.

The first race of the weekend was later that day and a good start would be useful to progress. That was exactly what Milner got as she rocketed past several cars. Unfortunately at the Deene Hairpin, there was a coming together between several cars, one of which was fired into Milner’s car. Somehow she managed not to lose too much time and the damage was limited to a dislodged headlamp.

Over the next few laps she fought her way up the field and got a great five car battle. Unfortunately a rival then made a very optimistic move into the Deene Hairpin coming from several car lengths back. It slid into the battle involving Milner causing damage to her bonnet. By now her tyres were also going off but despite all this she managed to finish twelfth. It was a great result in the circumstances but her race pace showed she could do even better and with three races on Sunday, she’d have plenty more opportunity.

For the first race of the day on Sunday, Milner would start where she finished race one, Twelfth. This time she got an even better start, rocketing past several cars off the line and on the run round the banking to the Deene Hairpin. As they exited the hairpin, a couple more cars took each other off. She got up to fifth and then closed on Simon Traves. For the rest of the race she looked to find a way past him but he was driving a perfect defensive line, leaving Milner with no way past.

She crossed the line in fifth and the random draw for the reverse grid put her in fourth for the weekend’s third race.

She made a good start once more but found herself being passed by a rival on the first lap. This put her offline and started a chain reaction of further passes sending her sliding down the field to eighth although she was briefly in ninth, she fought back strongly to finish that lap in eighth place. Milner was in a determined mood and wasn’t going to settle for eighth and in the next few laps she set about fighting back passing four cars to take the flag in an excellent fourth place.

Race two was a tough fight but Katie got a great finish (Photo by Marc Waller) Katie was on fire (Photo by Marc Waller) Katie was very much a front runner for the whole of race three (Photo by Marc Waller) Katie and the One Call Racing team after another succesful weekend (Photo by Marc Waller) Katie was happy to support injured racer Billy Monger this weekend (Photo by Marc Waller)




Now for the final race of the day which had been carried over from Oulton. This was the pole position start she’d been waiting for. She made a good start but the car alongside her made a better one. She headed down to the Deene Hairpin still in second but with rivals alongside her. She was shuffled down to fifth but only briefly as she immediately went past back into fourth. She found herself again pursuing Simon Traves but couldn’t find a way to get close enough to mount any kind of challenge and as the tyres started going off a few laps till the end she stayed in fourth although she managed to increase her pace to hold off a challenge from fifth place. She took the chequered flag in fourth once again, equalling her best result.

For what is supposed to be a learning year in the championship, Milner had once again impressed with not just her pace but her racing ability, passing rivals like she had been driving the G40 for years. She is well above the initial expectations for her at the start of the season. She’s pleased with how things are going;

“It’s been a brilliant weekend especially taking three top five finishes today. I’m really pleased with my Progress. Thanks to all the team behind me as well as my sponsors including One Call Insurance, The Yorkshire Wagyu Company, Swift and Merlin international. I’m really looking forward to Thruxton next weekend. I’ve not raced there before but I’ve been round in testing so hopefully I can get some more good results.”

Thruxton’s rounds are the first this year supporting the BTCC instead of British GT so Katie will be racing in front of her biggest crowds so far as well as being seen live on ITV4. By Marc Waller

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