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MOTORSPORT: Walkinshaw bid is on the slide
11:10am Thursday 3rd May 2012 in Sport
Fergus Walkinshaw’s hopes of returning to the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup podium were ruined when the Chipping Norton driver was forced to record non-finishes in rounds eight and nine at Thruxton on Sunday.
Constant heavy rain and blustering high winds contributed to the appalling conditions at the Hamp-shire circuit, yet Walkinshaw, 21, welcomed the wet weather, hoping the rain would help him repeat Saturday’s front-running qualifying pace.
A brilliant start from fifth on the grid propelled Walkinshaw up to fourth, with Tom Sharp, Tom Ingram and Carl Breeze ahead.
As Walkinshaw assessed the tricky conditions, fifth-placed Andy Richardson challenged heading across the line for lap two, but Walkinshaw remained unfazed and began to pull clear.
Setting the third fastest time of the field on lap four, the Century Motorsport driver was extending his 1.5-second advantage over Richardson when he hit a patch of standing water before aquaplaning off the circuit and smashed into a dirt mound which launched his Ginetta G55 into the air and caused significant front-end damage.
The Century Motorsport crew worked flat-out to rebuild the car.
Despite a monumental team effort it was impossible to get the car to the grid in time for round nine, but they got Walkinshaw back on-track six laps into the race.
Although he had no chance of scoring championship points, Walkinshaw posted lap times on par with the top six runners.
Walkinshaw will be looking for a change of luck when the next Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup rounds take place at Oulton Park on June 9-10.
“I’m gutted with today’s result,” said Walkinshaw. “I couldn’t avoid aquaplaning at Noble. I just happened to hit a dirt mound and caused the damage.
“The team did a fantastic job to rebuild the car and I’m grateful for everyone’s efforts. It was a shame I wasn’t classified in the results, but I was just short of the 80 per cent race distance.
“I was on good form this morning and confident of a third-place finish.
“If I’d achieved that in round eight I would have had a good chance of taking back-to-back podiums.”