On Friday the 9th of October Tom Witts took part in two practice sessions ready to compete in the UK Clio Cup season finale weekend. The race weekend of the 10th and 11th of October was on the Brands Hatch on the GP circuit. The main thing Tom used the two practice sessions for was more ‘bum in seat’ time to help him get to grips with the car more as well as learning the Brands Hatch GP circuit. Tom did not use his new set of front tyres during the second practice sessions like most of the other competitors did. This meant Tom was placed down the order on the live timing screens, but he knew he had the pace to qualify in the top ten on Saturday.

Qualifying took place on Saturday, Tom was really disappointed with how qualifying went. He commented “after getting up to speed on the first set of tyres I was on a personal best lap after setting personal bests in sectors one and two but then a red flag came out which meant the time didn’t count. Tom swapped tyres ready for the restart, he just managed to get these up to speed when the second red flag came out. This meant Tom had little time left at the end to try and get a better lap time. Unfortunately Tom only managed to qualify down in 15th, which he was extremely disappointed about. He did not let qualifying phase him, he just focused on what he could manage to do from 15th on the grid and got his mind focused ready for the race.

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Tom out during qualifying. (Credit: Tilley Photography.)

Tom headed out to start race one, due to a penalty applied to Charlie Ladell from Silverstone Tom would now start race one from 14th instead. His plan was to stay out of the chaos that usually happens on lap one of the race. From Tom’s view there was mayhem out on the GP loop, this allowed him to pick his way through some of the pack. He managed to get himself up to 7th on the first lap. A few laps later and Tom was in 4th place, battling with Ash Hand for third. Then Tom had a moment as he was entering Dingle Dell/Sheene Curve, as he went to correct the car two wheels went onto the wet grass. This meant Tom was just a passenger now so he could not stop the car and ended up in the gravel trap.

Race two and Tom’s mind-set was to just stay out of the lap one crashes. Tom was having some good close racing with fellow competitors. He got up to 7th then took too much curb into Sheene Curve which put him into a slide, the wheels touched the wet grass and sent the car spinning. Luckily Tom made no contact with the wall but he did massively flat spot the tyres so made the decision to retire from the race.

© Fay Tilley 28th October 2015.

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