InterSteps Championship rookie Sean Walkinshaw was robbed of a potential maiden category podium at Thruxton on Sunday, 29th July, after being punted into retirement during a wet second race of the weekend at the Hampshire venue.
Correctly choosing treaded Dunlop rubber for the race, with some drivers opting for slicks on a track wet and dry in equal measure, the 18-year-old starred with a tremendous performance. Slicing his way through the order from 11th on the grid into sixth by lap four, the SWB Motorsport driver then took fifth the next time around.
Reeling in fourth placed Liam Venter at a rapid rate, Chipping Norton-based Sean lapped a full 1.5 seconds quicker than his rival and became a genuine threat for the podium. With a rostrum result in his sights, he pressed on but on lap seven at Goodwood, as he held the inside line to pass Venter, the South African collided with the SWB racer leading to a spin and retirement for Sean.
“It’s really disappointing to miss out on my first podium, we definitely deserved it”, commented the West Oxfordshire racer, “He [Venter] was on slicks, I was on wets, and I was much faster and going for fourth on the inside at Goodwood when he crashed into me.
“If I hadn’t spun out, I’m sure we would have been on the podium as I was a lot quicker than the guy in third. Half the track was absolutely soaking and the other half was dry, but wets were definitely the way to go. We made the right tyre choice so it’s really disappointing to lose such a good result.”
Sean’s misfortune at Thruxton began during the first race of the weekend on Saturday, 28th July, when his participation in the opening encounter was almost over before it started. Lining up 10th on the grid, he was only able to make it to the first corner, Allard, before his car ground to a halt due to an issue with the master cylinder.
However, race three on Sunday afternoon did result in a finish as he steered his Mygale FB02 to ninth place. Starting 11th on the grid, Sean catapulted into eighth on lap one but did struggle with understeer and slipped back to ninth on the second tour. Moving back into the top eight on lap seven, he held the place to the final lap when unfortunately pushed back to ninth once more.
“We didn’t run much wing on the car in race three but it meant I couldn’t go flat through Goodwood, the car understeered wide there every time so I ran out of road each lap”, added Sean, “It has been quite a frustrating weekend but we’ve had lots of track time and we definitely made a step forward, especially in race two. I can’t wait for Pembrey now next weekend, it should be good.”
Pembrey in South Wales will host rounds 15, 16 and 17 of the InterSteps Championship, Sean’s third race meeting in the series, next weekend, 4th/5th August.