By Chris Roberts/Widerviewphoto.com
|Tom Sharp at knockhill|
Camberley’s Tom Sharp was looking to maintain his lead of the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup, in his IDL Racing with Vcars Ginetta G55, when it visited the Scottish circuit of Knockhill, located to the north of Edinburgh and the Forth Bridge. The championship was again supporting the Dunlop MSA British Touring car championship.
While Knockhill is the shortest and slowest circuit on the calendar it’s undulating and challenging layout makes it a drivers and fans favourite. With the changeable weather we have been having in the UK this year both Friday’s free practice sessions and Saturday qualifying were held in wet conditions.
Sharp, who has won races on this circuit in the past was keen to get a quick time on the board after posting the 2nd quickest time in the final free practice session the previous day. Unfortunately all these plans came to nought as Sharp ended up in the gravel. As he explained “I made a big mistake on my first quick lap in qualifying by just taking too much of the curb and that left me in the gravel with no time set.”
The first race of the weekend was held on Saturday afternoon with the conditions still wet, and after starting at the back of the grid, Sharp made progress through the field in torrential conditions to finish up in seventh place at the flag.
So for the 2ndrace of the weekend on Sunday morning (now in dry conditions) Sharp again made a strong start to the race, from 7th on the grid, and picked his way up to 4th place on the tail of the leaders, but didn’t have quite enough laps to challenge for a podium position.
The final race of the weekend was scheduled to take place just before the 3rd BTCC race of the weekend, with Sharp on pole after no 4 was picked in the reverse grid draw.
|Tom Sharp in action|
Sharp lined up in pole position and when the light went out made his customary strong start, but behind his chaos reigned as 3rd place man Ingram stalled on the grid and was crashed into a high speed by an unsighted driver, which brought out the red flag.
Due to the need for medical assistance for Ingram and the clear-up the restart was put back until after the final BTCC race. Unfortunately the officials deemed that Sharp’s IDL team needed to fix the rear brake lights that were not working, and due to the time taken to fix this meant that Sharp had to start from 12ththplace at the back of the grid again. Another strong race from Sharp saw him carve his way up to 5th place by the chequered flag.
At the end of the weekend a frustrated sharp commented “We were wrongly stopped from taking the start from pole position in the final race on account of the rear brake lights not functioning by the officials but all the team and the guys at Ginetta worked incredibly hard during the race stoppage to replace the fault parts and it at least enabled me to take the start from the pit lane and race up into fifth place and score some valuable points”.
The championship now moves to the Rockingham Motor Speedway circuit near Corby with the next races taking place on 22nd & 23rd September
** Thanks to Michael Booth for the images **