Positive debut weekend at Snetterton

Wednesday 23rd April 2014

After a long winter period, the first round of the 2014 Caterham Supersport championship was held over Easter weekend. James’ restricted pre-season testing, due to budget constraints and University commitments, meant James was on the back foot to his competitors; most had been testing and already have a number of years experience in cars. James was still able to achieve two top 10 finishes, of the 38 entries, in his first season in car racing.

With sessioned testing available on the Thursday and Friday, James opted to make the most of the time available to get to grips with the car around the challenging Snetterton 300 circuit. The Snetterton 300 configuration is the longest configuration available, at 3 miles, and is a high speed track with a long straight. With the help of Ben Clucas and Kieren Clark, of 3KS Management, James was able to build his pace to be at the ‘fast end’ of the grid. Setup changes in the wrong direction meant that James lacked the outright pace, but by the end of Friday, James had a slightly happier balance in the car.

Come raceway, James was able to put in a solid performance to finish P6 in qualifying, despite dropping 0.5 seconds on the final turn of the Snetterton circuit after traffic and an error from the driver in front. This meant James would start P6 for the first race, and the result from that race would determine his starting position for the second race.

A poor start, partly due to the driver in front missing a gear and James bogging off the line, meant that James immediately dropped down to 13th by the exit of the first corner. An incident in the open laps brought out the red flag and stopped the race. Luckily for James, this meant that he got a second opportunity to make a strong start from P6. Although the second start was better, James still dropped to 10th by the end of the first lap. He battled with the drivers around him and made his way back up to P7.

That race was a bit of a shock to my system. There was a lot of place changing and contact between drivers and it took me a while to settle down. I hope the next race is an improvement.

Starting from P7, James struggled to get a good start which left him in 9th place, where he battled with the drivers around him for the rest of the race. A safety car in the closing stages of the race brought an early end to the race, in which James finished P9.

I was much happier with my performance in the second race. I felt I raced better, despite the worse result, and learnt a lot. This year will be a big learning year for me, but if I can learn at this rate, I expect to be at the front in no time.

For his debut race weekend in the Caterham Supersport and only his second race weekend in cars, James was able to produce some strong results from the packed grid of 38 drivers. The team were happy with the progress and results as they show promise for the remainder of the season.

Rounds 3 & 4 are at Donington Park on the 10th and 11th of May. Keep up to date with James’ championship quest here or via @j_d_robinson on Twitter.

Photo by SnappyRacers.com

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