This would be the first time that Milner would be racing abroad on a circuit that was completely new to her. Becuase of this, the team travelled out early to have two days of testing on the Thursday and Friday. This proved to be a very good plan as it meant there was two days to learn the circuit, one of the more tricky circuits to perfect. By the end of the second day, Milner was close to the front running pace and feeling confident for qualifying and the races.
It rained overnight before qualifying on Saturday and with the track still damp, a few cars opted for slicks but most others , including Milner, went for wet weather tyres. Milner was right on the pace in the first part of the session, never dropping lower than third. The track was drying all the time so it would be important to be running at the end. Disaster then struck when she found she had lost her brakes. She pitted immediately and the car was sorted. The track still seemed quite wet so they stuck with the wet weather tyres as she was still third on the grid at that point. There was chance for one last run and although faster, the lap time was now good enough for fifth. Unfortunately the slick shod cars were now faster and as they crossed the line, Milner dropped to twelfth. It was disappointing but her and the team knew she had the pace to move back up the field.
As the lights went out for race one, moving up is exactly what she did, rapidly going from twelfth to eighth. But disaster struck as another car tapped her from behind, sending her spinning into the gravel and out of the race. This would leave her to start race two from the back. The only positive was that there was no damage to either car or driver.
She got another excellent start for race two and sliced through the field. Within a few laps she was already up to challenge for eleventh and looking to move higher still, but bad luck struck once again. A rival spun in front, leaving her nowhere to go and she spun in avoidance. Incredibly, the spin dropped her just two positions but a safety car was scrambled for the recovery of the stranded car leaving Milner to finish in fourteenth.
At least for the final race, she wouldn’t have to fight from the back again and so hopefully Milner could finally have the race that her pace deserved. Once again it was an eventful race with four cars spinning in front of her and then another rolled. This left her in tenth at this stage but despite there still being several laps to go, the clear up of the rolled car meant that the race finished under the safety car leaving Milner in tenth. A points scoring finish but not where she wanted to be and not where her pace deserved.
Milner was disappointed but could take positives from the weekend.
“That was a character building weekend. It was good to have my first ever foreign race, especially at a great European track like Zandvoort. I was pleased that I was on the pace but disappointed that events outside my control left me without the results I’d been hoping for. Thanks to the Merlin International team for all their hard work as always and to my sponsors, Including One Call Insurance, The Yorkshire Wagyu company, Swift and Omologato.”
She is looking forward to the next rounds;
“Next up is Knockhill in Scotland, a circuit I know from the JSCC. I went well there in the Saxo so I’m hoping I can be on the front running pace once again in the Ginetta. It’s a circuit I really enjoy so I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully we can have a good weekend”
Knockhill is on the 11th and 12th August and will be supporting the BTCC. Sunday’s races are due to be shown live on ITV4. Milner will be hoping for some better luck and hopefully a podium finish.