Donington – Champions!
Posted on 8th September 2017
I have never felt so much pressure as we all felt arriving at Donington for the final round. We were leading the championship however we had a 20 second penalty to serve and it is also not the best suited track for the Bentley!
Qualifying was a combined effort with me only missing out on am pole by 1/10th of a second Seb only managed 4th meaning that combined we started 4th side by side with our championship rivals. The front row was an Aston Martin lock out, this circuit really suits the V12 and an Aston has won here for the last 5 years!
We knew that the Lamborghini had to either win or finish a minimum of two places above us to win the champioship and given that we had a 20 second penalty to serve, this was a distinct possibility!!!
The start was fraught, I couldnt see the lights as my view was obscured by the wing of the Astin martin so I started badly and got jumped by the Minshaw Lambiorghini, not only that but the Griffin Lamborghini then ploughed into the side of me and rather than recover and drive off continued to turn into my rear left flank,..were there team orders from Lamborghini?…we’ll never know but he certainly tried very hard to spin me!
Luckily the Bentley isnt nick named ‘The Tank’ for no reason and it had taken the beating well and so I set about chasing the Griffin Lamborghini. To my surprise our championship rival Minshaw had eveidently pushed too hard through the chicane on a full tank of fuel and spun, which was a great sight as we passed him,…so then I was all over Griffin for the next 10 laps but just couldn’t find a way past, robust defensive driving seemd to be the order of the day and I was keen not to give him the opportunity to take me off again.
I knew that it would have to be an opportunistic move if I was to get past him, which was imperative if we were to stay in with a chance of the championship. The opportunity presented itself as we caught a GT4 car under a yellow flag, Griffin hesitated as we reached the green flag but I was already along side and scythed through both him and the gt4,…possibly the best move of my racing carreer,…a perfectly timed lunge!
I then set about catching the leading Aston Martin’s and caught them up quickly but just as i caught them my stint was over and I handed over to Seb with a 10 second lead over our rivals.
However now the 20 second penalty had to be served and it felt like an age!!!…but we rejoined in 5th and Seb drove like a demon to try and catch up. he quickly dispatched the JRM Nissan and we were sat in 4th position. Phil Keen had taken over the Lamborghini from Minshaw as was absolutely flying however he was in currently in 3rd, only one place above us and despite trying very hard he was unable to pass the Astons. We finished in 4th palce and were therefore…wait for it…CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!
Furthermore the Lamborghini of Minshaw and Keen was penalised for overtaking under a yellow flag and excluded post race so despite not being on the podium at Donington we were promoted to 3rd!
This was the toughest season of my life, but equally was the best I had ever driven in my life, I cannot thank all my sponsors friends and family enough for all their support. I feels incredible to be the first ever GT4 and GT3 Champion, British G Drivers Champion, Blancpain Driver of the Year and have delivered Bentley and Team Parker their first ever GT championship.