Laura was fortunate to emerge unscathed from a heavy startline accident during the concluding race of her ‘home’ event at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 2nd August, during the latest instalment of the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup season.
After a year of terrible luck and a variety of problems out of her control, the 24-year-old aimed for a richly deserved turnaround on home soil and following a competitive run to 18th position in round 11 on Saturday, 1st August, confidence was high ahead of Sunday’s live televised second encounter.
Lining-up on the ninth row of the grid, Laura made a good initial getaway but as she started to accelerate through the gears on the run towards Paddock Hill Bend contact from the car of guest driver, and British Touring Car Championship regular, Aiden Moffat pitched her into the barriers.
First pushing Laura’s SlideSports machine into another car on her right-hand side, both made heavy contact with the barriers near the exit of the pitlane, triggering something of a chain reaction in which several cars were caught-up.
Resulting in the obvious appearance of the red flags, Laura’s race was run with her car stranded in the middle of the track and with hefty damage. Most importantly, though, the Sittingbourne racer was able to walk away uninjured.
“I’m a bit bruised but fine really”, said Laura, “We really haven’t had much luck at all over the last few rounds and what happened in race two was even more disappointing with it being my home race meeting, I was really confident of a strong race.
“The initial start was just as normal, everyone was in a straight line, but then [Aiden] Moffat came from nowhere, went for a gap and just hit me on the left side and that pushed me right into someone else, then into the barriers really hard. The car has got quite a bit of damage, two side impacts, the front corner and I was also hit from behind as well afterwards – it’s so disappointing.”
Qualifying 20th fastest for round 11, within little more than a second of the top 12, Laura was edged back a place on the first lap but climbed back into the top 20 on the second tour. Remaining there until the end of lap five, when Simon Tomlinson moved ahead over the line, Laura then managed to break into 19th position on lap six after dramas for Simon Andrews and Graham Ewing.
With Andrews’ VW Golf requiring recovery, the deployment of the Safety Car followed and it remained on track for three laps. With the time limit almost reached, racing got back underway for a final lap shoot-out on the 11th tour and after making a clean restart Laura was able to move into 18th position when Moffat dropped down the order.
“Race one was quite good, it was really close and there was a lot of overtaking, swapping places, and we were quite competitive”, commented the Kent racer, “I didn’t get to experience the GP track in the car until qualifying as practice on Friday was on the Indy Circuit, so without many laps it wasn’t easy to get the car how we wanted it.
“I needed a lot more oversteer, the first race wasn’t too bad but I still wanted some more oversteer which we’d done for race two – I didn’t have chance to see what we could do though! It’s obviously not the way we wanted the weekend to turn out, we’ve got to get the break we deserve soon.”
Laura’s season will resume three weeks from now, on 22nd/23rd August, at Snetterton 300 Circuit in East Anglia.