Milner has had an exciting learning season in one of them most competitive and difficult one make championships in the country and hoped to be able to end the season on a high at Donington.
Things got off to a great start in testing and the lap times were a match for the championship front runners.
When qualifying got underway on Saturday it was on a damp track but one which was drying quickly. Milner ran as high as fourth during the session but with conditions changing rapidly, it was important to be on the right tyres at the right time. Milner came in at just the wrong time for tyres though and instead of a top ten or even a top five, she found herself down in fourteenth place.
While Milner was frustrated, she knew she had the pace to move rapidly up the field and so wasn’t too down hearted. There would be one race during Saturday afternoon and then the second two on Sunday.
As the lights went out for race one on Saturday, she made a good start from her grid slot and was well in the pack as the field raced down the hill towards the Old Hairpin. Unfortunately, a safety car was quickly scrambled when another car spun off and was stranded. The safety car stayed out for several laps while the incident was cleared. When the green flag was finally waved once more, the field managed a single lap of racing before there was a further incident. This brought out the red flags leaving Milner to finish in a slightly frustrated thirteenth, only getting chance to make up one place from qualifying.
So, Milner started from the same seventh row of the grid for race two. After getting crowded out and losing a place on the first lap, she then passed two cars on the following lap. She wasn’t going to stop there however, passing another two cars on the next lap and moving into the top ten. Her next target was Luke Pinder, a former champion in the Clio Roadsport championship. She had a good battle with him for the remainder of the race but Luke just managed to stay ahead. Tenth then became ninth for Katie after the race when a rival received a penalty.
This put her in second for race three and a chance for a very good result. She got a good start off the line and then made a brilliant pass for the lead as the cars headed down the hill. Unfortunately, later in the lap, she was forced wide and dropped to second. She then had a battle with Max Bird and Luke Pinder which sadly saw both cars squeeze through when Milner had to bounce over the kerb at the chicane. Milner then repassed Pinder but was under heavy pressure from not just Pinder but the others in the pack just behind.
Stephen Wells then made a move into Redgate, making slight contact. Milner’s great car control held the car from spinning but Wells was through. Towards the closing stages a couple of other cars made contact dropping Milner down further but she defended as strongly as she could and then held sixth to the flag.
It was a strong end to the season for Milner although she was disappointed at being nudged by several of the cars. The battles had gained lots of Television time for her sponsors though and her driving had impressed a lot of people.
“That was a tough weekend but I was pleased with how I performed in the races especially race three where I led for most of a lap. It’s not quite the end of my season yet though and I’ll be back out racing next month. Thanks to my sponsors for their support during this season, One Call Insurance, The Yorkshire Wagyu company, Swift, Motordrive seats and Omologato.” Said Milner after race three.
Her debut season in the championship has been strong, regularly getting into the top ten in one of the closest and hardest fought one make championships in the UK. As she mentioned in her quote, it’s not the end of her racing season just yet and there’ll be more news on what she will be racing next month coming soon. By Marc Waller