Toby Goodman who Credo sponsors in the MINI Pro class in the MINI Challenge, had a fantastic weekend at Oulton Park. Read below Toby’s thoughts on the weekend.
A wet start to the weekend, no surprise there! After a red flag in the first session, we spent the rest of the day chasing the dry line and eventually managed to get a couple of really productive sessions on a completely dry track. There isn’t a huge amount of set-up change available in the coopers, unlike the JCW class which has 3 way adjustable dampers, aero and top of the line Powerflex black series bushes. However, pace was really good and the car felt great so we were looking strong for qualifying.
Unfortunately, being the first cars out on track meant there wasn’t a huge amount of grip and within the first minutes of the session a full course yellow was brought out as a small accident from another car left him stranded in the gravel. It took a while to clean up and maintaining tyre temperature was a challenge. Conscious of the little time left to get a lap in once we went green, I held back to get some space from the cars in front and weaved across the track, desperately trying to get the car ready for the two laps left of the session. After one warm up lap, I crossed the line with seconds to spare putting me in pole position for the race by over a second. Great result, and a new track lap record!
Pressure was on for the race! A good start and opening laps awarded me with a slight gap to second place. The cooper class never ceases to offer fantastic, close racing and this race was no different! Whatever gap I was able to pull through the corners, the slipstream advantage gifted to the car behind meant I found myself back to square one after each straight. After some defensive driving and unsuccessful attempts for position from second place, I was confident for the second half of the race. Unfortunately, the race was cut short. A sizable accident through the fastest corner of the track involving my teammate brought a red flag out and due to the little time left, the race was called early. Never nice to win like that but everyone was OK.
A top six reverse grid for race two meant I was starting from P6. The race was started under safety car and the track layout had been adjusted due to the damage dealt to the tyre barrier from the earlier crash. Once we went green, I managed to work my way through to P3 after a few laps and started the hunt for the front two, who were both jostling for position. It was great racing and I fought my way in to second place. With two laps remaining I focused on closing down the nearly three second gap that first place had built. To my disappointment, we crossed the line mere tenths of a second apart. If only the race was full length… Great result however and the fastest lap of the race has given us a strong points haul going into Round 3.
Well done Toby! Sounds like it was a fantastic weekend.