Budding Scottish sportscar racer, Fergus Walkinshaw managed to salvage another top 10 result in the first of three Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup races at his homeland circuit, Knockhill, despite enduring a continuation of the bad luck that has hampered his entire 2012 season.
The 21 year-old, who lives near Chipping Norton (Oxfordshire), returns to race at his native home track for only the second time this weekend since single-handedly building his Ginetta G55 sportscar last year. On his 2011 debut Walkinshaw qualified third and finished fifth, recording one of his best results of the season, and with his recent impressive practice pace hopes were high of repeating that form one year on.
Invaluable development time aboard his 3.7 litre V6 sportscar saw Walkinshaw feature as a regular front-runner during Friday's official TOCA test. Classified fourth overall in the final session, the young Scot looked set to fight for the top three grid slots on Saturday morning.
By lap four of Sundays 30-minute qualifying session, Walkinshaw had once again topped the timesheets, yet the Century Motorsport driver was robbed of the chance to properly prove his form when his driveshaft snapped after just six laps.
With a vast change in weather conditions at the Dunfermline track, Walkinshaw faced heavy rain and a fifth row grid start for the first race of the weekend. The hefty task of climbing through the fiercely competitive field was made all the more challenging when while suffering with a dragging clutch the #91 car was deemed to have made a false start and was forced to serve a drive-through penalty.
Up to eighth after two of 16-laps, Walkinshaw relished the wet conditions and clocked-up consecutive personal best lap times as he reeled-in Jamie Orton. Underlining his potential by lapping on par with the top five runners, eventually setting the sixth fastest time of the field, Walkinshaw closed to within 0.4 seconds of seventh place amid the heavy spray while fending off current championship leader Tom Sharp.
Although refusing to give-up his relentless pace, Walkinshaw still had to take the drive-through penalty and eventually re-joined in 12th place on lap 13. With the next G55 Cup contender 10 seconds up the track and just three laps remaining, the Brands Hatch podium winner had little chance of making further progress and took the chequered flag 11th overall to take his 13th top 10 class finish of the season.
Walkinshaw commented: I really cant believe the way things have gone today. It was so unfortunate to have the driveshaft snap in qualifying, I was running fourth fastest at the time and feel sure I would have secured a top three lap time. Starting from the front of the field in these conditions would have been a real bonus, as I love wet weather racing, and who knows what I could have achieved from there.
Its been one thing after another today, but we have proved we have the outright pace. We just need a little luck to go our way. Hopefully that will arrive in time for tomorrows two 24-lap races, as it would mean a lot to get some good results at my homeland circuit.
Round 19 of the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup will kick-start the Knockhill racing action tomorrow, Sunday August 26, at 09.30, while the second 24-lap showdown will take place at 16.15. Race fans can follow the action live on ITV4 with live timing available via www.ginetta.com/live