Pro-R backed Subaru driver Ben Shimmin took another well-deserved podium in last weekend’s Time Attack Championship at Knockhill in Scotland. After a storming drive against daunting opposition, Shimmin took a hard-fought second place in the Club AWD class.
Shimmin was clearly on a mission from the outset, skilfully piloting the Cross Roads Garage/ TDRacing prepared car through some typically Scottish weather to see him posting the fastest time in the warm up session, despite not having the track knowledge of many opponents, or indeed the horsepower!
Power and skill was by much evidence from the lurid green Milltek GT-R of Richard Marshall and as the drivers rolled into qualifying and starting posting times in anger, it was clear that these two protagonists would be the battle to watch in the Club classes. Times were nail-bitingly close throughout the session, a fact made all the more impressive when you realise that the Pro-R Racing STi gives away several hundred horsepower to the Nissan. Ultimate grunt was to prove the victor however, with Marshall posting top spot and Shimmin coming second, but only by the slimmest of margins. 1.34 seconds, to be precise!
Buoyed by this excellent result, the Cross Roads team worked hard to get the car in perfect fettle for the final, with a ‘Win or bust!’ mentality being shown across the board and team orders being issued from Dealer Principal - and reigning Club AWD champion, Jon Mathers - to give it everything. The result was lap times tumbling yet again whilst Marshall and Shimmin enjoyed another epic battle and some spectacularly sideways driving from both, to result in an identical ‘One-Two’ finish as in qualifying and a commendable third from the Dave Coe in his Subaru STi. As well as being a fantastic result in its own right, and by a tighter margin of just 0.866 seconds, this second solid podium now sees Shimmin and Pro-R Racing at the top of the league table in the Club AWD Class - an exceptional start to a rookie season, and one that saw the synchros in the factory-standard gearbox literally groaning under the strain of the task! Proof, if any were needed, of just how hard the team was trying to stay in contention with Marshall’s quicker machine.
‘We're all absolutely thrilled to be on top spot at the moment,’ said Shimmin. ‘But we’re not getting complacent. We know the car is quick at Brands, which is our next round, but it's clear that the field has moved on a long way since last season, too. Richard’s car is quick and well driven, but we're not very far behind. As a team, we’ll be working hard to get some solid testing done there before the July and see if we can't trouble him again. It should be a great scrap!’
As one of this season’s Time Attack sponsors, Team Pro-R were also offering high speed taxi rides around the high speed undulating circuit, with Jon Mathers at the helm of the rapid Pro R 340 R STi Hatch demo car. Although built for fast road use, rather than competition work, it was still posting some pretty decent times on its own thanks to a remapped 340 PS 2.5 litre engine and Pro-R exhaust system.
The next round of the UK Time Attack Championship will be at Brands Hatch on the 8th of July