It’s that time of year again – the MINI Festival at Brands Hatch. And what a contrast to Silverstone two weeks ago. Other than one brief shower, it was a dry and warm weekend.
The MINI Festival is a great event for the whole family and the MINIs were out in force – modern ones, classic ones, even MINI limousines. But the main event for us was, of course, the MINI Challenge.
William went into qualifying knowing it was going to be a tough one. There would only be fractions of a second between the top 8 so he had to pull out a perfect lap. He got off to a great start, managing to stay in 2nd for the first 5 minutes but after a few laps ended up dropping back to 6th with only a few tenths of a second between each driver. With only 2 laps remaining, William pulled a perfect lap out of the bag. He managed a 52.116 – the fastest lap time by just 8 thousandths of a second, giving him pole position for race one.
Race one began with a bit of false start after an incident at druids. The red flag came out but as they hadn’t completed a full lap the race was restarted – not a bad thing for William as it gave him a second chance back in pole position. They were off again with William holding onto pole for the majority of the race.
“It was all about defending from Lawrence [Davey]. I made a small mistake going into clear ways which gave him just enough room to get his nose up my inside with Ryan [Rhode] following him.”
William ended the race in P3.
“Obviously I’m a little disappointed not to have finished in pole but you can never be too upset with a podium finish in the first race of the weekend!”
Race two saw William starting back in P3 behind Rhode and Davey. An incident on paddock hill in the first lap with Rob Smith and David Grady caused William to spin out, barely missing the rest of the F56s. A few laps later one of the other drivers, Chris Boon, was tapped into a spin causing him to stop dead. William had no choice but to make contact. Unfortunately that ended the race for Boon. William only suffered minor damage but he had already lost his position in the race, putting him at the back of the pack. Undeterred, William pulled out some of his best driving and managed to go all the way from 15th to 6th in the final lap.
Due to the collision in the previous race, William started race three with bent steering. The main focus for him was to just get some decent points and finish the race. Two safety cars were called onto the track but William managed to hold his own in 5th position for most of the race. In the 16th lap, Lee Pattison ended up in the gravel trap coming out of paddock hill, causing him to roll. William pulled into 3rd position but the red flag was already called and the race ended on lap 15, leaving William in 4th place. A strong finish to a great weekend.