Pembrey in South Wales proved a happy hunting ground for first year InterSteps Championship racer Sean Walkinshaw on Sunday, 5th August, as he took a season’s best sixth place finish on only his third weekend in the series.
Although difficulties with over-steer hampered his potential in qualifying, the Chipping Norton driver was still able to post the seventh fastest time in the opening session – securing a starting slot at the head of row four of the grid for the opening encounter – but had to settle for eighth in session two.
Making a good getaway at the beginning of race one on Saturday, 4th August, the 18-year-old still encountered over-steer issues, especially through the slow speed turns such as the Hatchets and Brooklands hairpins. Even so, Sean managed to see off the challenge of both Matteo Ferrer and Nikita Miliakov to bring home a seventh place finish at the wheel of his SWB Motorsport car.
Starting the first of Sunday’s races from the outside of the fourth row, the category rookie quickly became the filling in a Falcon Motorsport sandwich at the first hairpin as things got very tight into the right-hander and he subsequently needed to pit for his Mygale FB02 to be checked for damage.
After rejoining the race, Sean increased his pace throughout and two separate Safety Car periods enabled him to get back in the thick of the action. Fighting his way into the top six to secure his best InterSteps finish to date, he also posted his fastest lap on the final tour to confirm his improvement.
For race three, Sean started in ninth position but progressed through into seventh and performed well to get his car to the chequered flag on rapidly fading rubber. The grip of the tyres fell away significantly during the closing stages but he maintained seventh with a strong showing.
“Sixth was good from the first of Sunday’s races but the contact at the start meant I lost two places, I had to come in and get the car checked over by the team so, without that, I think we could have had a fifth place as our pace was pretty good”, said the Oxfordshire teenager.
“We did have problems with over-steer on Saturday but that wasn’t too bad on Sunday. I’m still not completely used to the car but we’re definitely improving – getting as much mileage as possible in all conditions is what we need. I would have liked some rain this weekend to help my experience but, for once, none came!”
Sean’s next InterSteps Championship outing will come four weeks from now at Rockingham, near Corby in Northamptonshire, over the weekend 1st/2nd September. Before then, he will be back in action in the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship on 18th/19th August at Donington Park National Circuit in Leicestershire.