Last weekend Shanel Drewe arrived at the historic Brands Hatch circuit for the penultimate race weekend in the Michelin Clio Championship. With a slender lead in the Championship Shanel needed another strong weekend to consolidate this prior to going into the final round.
With rare late September sunshine welcoming the Dansoft Aviation Services, Sonic Equipment, Wrappedupcars.com, Witham Motorsport (Motul) and Goldstar on Board backed driver to the track, Shanel’s initial practice went well, but a minor incursion into the gravel around the fearsome Paddock Hill Bend meant gravel entered Shanel’s Clio timing belt, slipping the belt and resulting in an engine change.
This was a bitter pill for Shanel to take, as her concise driving this year meant this was her first such excursion from the track all season, and although quite a few drivers encountered similar incidents whilst experimenting with the track limits, they did not seem to suffer the same extreme penalty Shanel did.
Shanel’s team, Jade Developments quickly under took an engine change overnight which involved the entire dismantling of the front of the car, and ensured it was ready for qualification.
Despite feeling confident, during qualification Shanel could not get the car connected with the track and qualified in 5th and 4th place for the two races. This challenge continued into the races where her pole setting and race winning performances to date couldn’t quite shine through, and her record of being the only driver in the championship to have been on the podium every race this year finally came to an end with a 4th place finish in race one. However, Shanel made amends for that in the second race by finishing in 3rd place.
Shanel puts this into perspective, and say’s “In such a close field I am happy with these results and getting another podium, and with the Championship swingometer being on a knife edge better results would have been nice, but it can’t go your way all the time and just means an exciting end to the Championship for the final race at Silverstone International on 8/9 October.”
Shanel also adds that “my only goal this year was to get my first proper full season in the seat complete, and to aim to be a front runner by the end of the season, so with my podium record, and a number of race wins and pole positions to my name, my main mission this year is complete, so I have nothing to lose at the final race of the season other than have fun and go for it”.
In a very warming aspect to the weekend, Shanel uses her car to help raise awareness of the charity Action for Children, and over the weekend they welcomed a number of carers and children to the track. With the help of their sponsors Witham Motorsport (Sole importers of Motul Oil), Sonic Equipment and Dansoft Aviation Services, they were able to offer them a day that stimulated all their senses which they won’t forget for a long time.
Looking forward, with just a few points separating the top two drivers in the Michelin Clio Road Class, Shanel is buckling down to focus and prepare for the final round at Silverstone International in a little under fortnights time which is setting up to a an exciting finish to the season.