After a hectic few weeks for the team involving a trip to Top Gear Barbados, Japfest and the Irish Drift Championship, it was time for us to return to the Maxxis British Drift Championship, with Round 2 taking place at Knockhill circuit in Scotland.
Japspeed drivers Paul Smith, Shane O’Sullivan and Danny Eyles were eager to take on the infamous Hill, with Shane being especially keen to better his 2nd place finish that he netted at Round 1.
Practice took place under stunning sunshine on the Saturday afternoon, a stark difference to the predicted downpours of rain. For Sully and Paul it was a case of getting back into the Knockhill groove having both competed at the circuit at the end of last season. For Danny, however, it was a case of refamiliarising himself with a circuit that he hasn’t driven for many years in a car that he has only driven a handful of times.
After a few initial hiccups all three drivers got into the swing of things and were confident for the following day’s qualifying session. However, as Day 1 came to an end the heavens opened and heavy rain pelted the circuit. All eyes were on the weather forecast to in the hope that we would be treated to blue skies and a dry track the following day.
Thankfully we awoke to blue skies and sun as we made our way to the track on Day 2, with our sights set firmly on those Top 16 qualifying positions. Once the Pro class qualifying runs had been completed it was time for Sully, Paul and Danny to line up and focus on their next three runs.
After an intense and extremely tight qualification session it was clear that there was very little to separate the SuperPro drivers from one another. Once the judges scores had been tallied Sully found himself in 5th position, with Danny also making the cut in 13th. Unfortunately for Paul he narrowly missed out on a spot in the battles, cutting short his weekend.
As the Super Pro drivers lined up to begin their battles the beautiful weather gave way to black clouds and heavy rain, washing away all of the rubber and traction that had been laid down since the morning.
Thankfully the drivers had one practice run each prior to their Top 16 battles, giving Danny and Shane a vital opportunity to find out just how much grip had been washed away.
Sully’s first battle saw him drawn against Dan Chapman, a pairing of two very experienced drivers who were ready to tackle the difficult conditions. After chasing hard and leading dominantly, Sully secured the victory and a spot in the Top 8.
Unfortunately for Danny his Top 16 battle didn’t go quite to plan. Starting in the chase position, his opponent (David Waterworth) spun while leading, leaving Danny with nowhere to go but the side of David’s car. Unfortunately the impact damaged both cars but we were unable to repair the Scooby within the allocated time slot, forcing Danny’s retirement from the competition.
Sully’s next opponent was the aforementioned David Waterworth, and with both drivers eager to progress to the Top 4 tensions were running high. After two exceptionally close runs it was a small mistake on Shane’s behalf that saw him eliminated at this stage – a disappointing end to a very challenging weekend.
However, with the championship scores tallied it is Shane that is now leading the Super Pro championship, two points clear of his nearest competitor! This has spurred the team on in the run up to Round 3 of the series as another good result there could see Sully become a serious championship contender for the 2014 title – we can’t wait to see how this season pans out!