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A weekend of continuous progression for Ryan Faulconbridge Racing

A weekend of continuous progression for Ryan Faulconbridge Racing

8th September 2020

The MINI Challenge JCW’s head north for rounds 4, 5 & 6 at Knockhill in Scotland, to a track that Ryan had never previously raced at, or even visited. It was certainly going to be a test of Ryan’s car control and commitment in a very challenging circuit. Knockhill has very fast, flowing corners along with the slower hairpin. Often the cars on two wheels due to the nature of Duffus Dip & the Chicane. Ryan started the weekend with a fantastic qualifying session less than half a second off pole in P12 and would’ve registered three strong finishes bar contact in race 2, but still achieved two great results.

Qualifying

It was always going to be a tight session with it being only 1.2 miles long. With a 28 car grid, it’s crucial to find space to get the optimal qualifying lap. The tight track also meant that track position was going to be important for all three races. The benefit of a short track allows for a large number of laps over the 30-minute session, with Ryan completing 21. Midway through the session on lap 10, Ryan found clear track ahead and set about putting in an excellent lap, with his tyres at their peak performance. With a time of 54.750, this placed Ryan a very impressive 12th just 0.525 off pole. The top 23 was covered by less than one second, showing the competitiveness of the championship. Not bad for only his second every qualifying session in the JCW MINI.

Race 1

Knockhill is a unique track, with the start line on a steep gradient. Unfortunately with this combined with Ryan still learning how to get the JCW off the line, Ryan struggled with a lot of wheel spin, ultimately losing places straight away to more experienced starters. By lap 1 Ryan had dropped down to P16 which is where he would finish, in a very uneventful race. The pace was certainly there to run with the leaders but with such a tight track and limited overtaking opportunities this limited progress. In a 22 lap race, the consistency of the lap times and race craft was a overall positive.

Race 2

Starting P16 Ryan got a reasonable start, although losing a place to Stanton behind he also gained a place from Chapman. Another very tight race, with battles up and down the field. Trading places with Stanton in the opening few laps just allowed the pack ahead to break away. Ryan finally secured the move on Stanton at the hairpin. Hutchinson also followed him through, so was right on his tail. After following for a number of laps Hutchinson tried on the outside of the hairpin, however as Ryan showed him the outside line, he made contact. This put Ryan into a spin and just touching the barrier. No major damaged, just a smashed rear light and was able to continue but dropping him to dead last. On a charge, making places but with only limited time. He still passed Hardy, Gibbs & Trotter to finish 22nd.


Race 3

Starting 22nd it was all to do! Ryan got his best start of the weekend and made places straight away. Race 3 is traditionally know for its carnage & Knockhill was no different. Ryan decided to tag onto Coates & Davidson. They are both front runners out of position, proving a wise decision. Onto lap 4 and he took Newham & King as the charge continued. Lap 5 the safety car was called due to Newsham in the gravel, Ryan was now into P16. Another incident at Duffus with Lockwood & Hammerton allowed a further 2 places gained, but Saturday pole sitter Tanner hot on this tale! Ryan then made great move on Stanton getting the better drive off the hairpin over the start/finish line. With just 2 laps to go the relentless pressure of Tanner showed as he overtook Ryan. On the final lap Whorton-Eales, Bird & Rawlings all had incidents which allowed Ryan to gain more places and overall finish P12. A very mature drive. Picking his battles at the right time and progressing through the field. With the car also coming back with no lasting damage.

Another extremely positive weekend, with a fantastic haul of points. Here is Ryan’s thoughts on the weekends action. “Another fantastic weekend for us in Scotland even more so to a track I’ve never previously been too. The setup on the car was mega by LUX Motorsport, which instantly gave me confidence to push on a very unforgiving track. To also qualify & finish race 3 P12 was an amazing result! My pace is certainly better than I expected so we look forward to Silverstone. I have traditionally gone well their so hopefully I can carry than on in the JCW. I’m really enjoying driving the MINI and can’t wait to get back out!”

 
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