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Rick Parfitt Junior on the race of his life at Rockingham!

Rick Parfitt Junior on the race of his life at Rockingham!

The season is now in full swing, but it didn’t quite start as we expected. We arrived at Oulton knowing that we were prepared and ready to challenge after showing great pace in testing. We duly converted this to a double pole position in qualifying, with Seb and I both topping the time sheets in our respective qualifying sessions with two new qualifying lap records!
 

However, the heavens opened for race day and we knew that we wouldn’t be able to challenge as strongly as if it was dry. This was demonstrated when at the start, the superior traction of the Lamborghini breezed away, but I was very happy to stay in a strong second position and hand over the car to Seb who managed to bring us home in 4th against some of the best GT drivers in the world.

Race two saw Seb bogged down at the start and lose a couple of positions. When he then went to the attack he had a few mishaps dropping us down the order however we recovered in what was a hugely chaotic race to finish 5th, which placed us 4th in the Championship. Not as good as we would have hoped but solid points and no damage which was a definite bonus!

Fast forward a couple of weeks and we arrived at Rockingham knowing that we had no time penalties which put us in a strong position. In qualifying we struggled with set up and suffered traction issues with me posting the 4th fastest time and Seb posting 5th fastest, combined this meant we started 5th on the grid. Initially we were disappointed with this but we also know that this is a 2hr race so anything can happen.

We made some set up changes before the warm up on race day and immediately the car felt much better; we now had a car that could compete!

What followed was one of the hardest stints of my life, I had the run on the front three at the start but didn’t want to risk contact so played the waiting game and, following a few considered moves and applying pressure to those in front, I managed to bring the car in to the pit stop in 3rd position. However the fatigue had taken its toll, it was nearly 50 degrees in the car and the last 15 minutes I had started to feel distinctly unwell so when the pit call came I was incredibly happy knowing that I could have done no better.

 Seb drove ferociously and caught the leaders, dispatching them both to take the lead. But hotly pursued by the factory Ferrari of Matt Griffin, Seb defended resolutely until the Ferrari pushed him wide and almost caused him to spin on the marbles of rubber. This was later to be the deciding factor of the race result. Seb chased after the Ferrari and was keeping pace knowing they still had a 5 second penalty to be added and we know that we only needed to stay within 5 second to win, however, when a safety car was deployed, they waved the Ferrari past in the confusion and picked Seb up as the race leader. It seems that the time penalty had been added meaning that on the road the Ferrari was leading, but on the time sheet he was in 4th. When the safety car pulled in, instead of a straight fight they had been gifted a 30 second lead!

Seb managed to bring this down to approx 24 seconds but the Ferrari crossed the line first,….we weren’t of course in any way happy with this. Following the stewards review, the earlier contact on the rear of our car with clear image to the front of the Ferrari and a broken rear bumper on our car, it was deemed that this was a case of ‘advantage by contact’. The Ferrari was duly penalised and the race was ours!

We drove our hearts out all weekend and to finally win at Rockingham is an amazing feeling. All of Team Parker were amazing, the pits stop was perfect and both Seb and I drove fast in ‘Geoff’ and I have come home knowing that we thoroughly deserved this result.

So now we are back in the championship fight in second place, and despite having to take a time penalty to Snetterton, one of our weakest circuits, we will attack the weekend with everything we have. We’ll look to score more points, because I feel this championship won’t be won on wins alone, but rather, on consistency so that is our aim.

As always it’s amazing to be at the front of the most competitive domestic championship in the world and I couldn’t do it without all of you!

See you at Snetterton….let’s do this.

 
 


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Posted 03 May 2017 by Ellie Priestley

Tags: Car, Oulton, Race, Rockingham

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