Sam Bird, (20, Claygate) endured a torrid time at Thruxton today, Sunday August 26. His first qualifying session went reasonably, giving him grid slot 4, but in the second session, in searing heat, his tyres completely delaminated and recorded the hottest temperature Avon has ever seen, leaving him in 13th, an uncharacteristic position for the BP Ultimate driver.
In Race one, the MSA Race Elite driver benefited from a clash between 1st and 2nd position drivers, and swept into the lead on lap 3. However, Kennard got the tow and managed to overtake when Sam went a little wide at the chicane. Sam’s times were quicker but with Kennard defending position, he couldn’t get past, and this slowed them both up, allowing Mustonen to catch the front pair. Mustonen tried an overtaking manoeuvre at the chicane where three into one just doesn’t go! Sam hit the barrier at around 80mph destroying much of the rear of the car! Both drivers retired.
“It was a most unfortunate racing incident” Sam said afterwards “a real shame, because we definitely had the pace this weekend, I was feeling good and so was the car, I didn’t mind too much losing the lead to Kennard at first, because there are plenty of overtaking places at Thruxton, and I was confident of either recovering the lead or at least staying a close second, which would have given me back second place in the Championship”.
The Carlin team worked like fury to get the car ready for race two, but unfortunately, although Sam took his place on the grid, it quickly became apparent that the handling wasn’t right “I was suffering serious oversteer and in fact it felt quite dangerous. I decided that, rather than risk another accident it would be safer to retire. Obviously, I’m extremely unhappy with the weekend, but as they say, that’s motor racing, and at least I can take away with me the fact that we had the pace to win. We test on Wednesday at Rockingham, in preparation for the final race of the season, and that will give us the opportunity to put the car right ready for the next race at Croft on September 8/.9.”