Latest Laois Sport: Roscrea Racer conquers Donington Park
Nicole Drought Wins at Donington Park
Nicole Drought travelled to Donington Park last weekend to tackle the BRSCC 3 hour C1 Challenge race, as part of the WRC Developments team. In the days running up to the event though, a late deal was done for her to drive a MINI Cooper S in the two driver Clubsport Trophy race on the same day.
Nicole is familiar with Donington Park, having raced there once before so opted not to test the C1 there before the weekend. This meant she would also be jumping in the MINI for the first time in official qualifying. She managed to qualify the car second in class and was happy that she could improve enough to challenge for the win in the race.
After a quick change to the car setup, the team decided that Nicole’s team mate Matt Mills would start the race, before handing over to her once the pitstop window had opened. The plan was that Matt could try to stay in touch with the leader so that Nicole could chase him down in the latter part of the race. Matt drove well, despite his lack of experience, handing over to Nicole just six seconds behind the class leading BMW. Nicole set the fastest lap on her first lap out of the pits and continued to improve her times as she closed the gap to the leader. With three laps to run she sliced down the inside of the leader on the Melbourne Loop to take the lead and by the chequered flag had opened the gap to over five seconds, such was her pace.
Not only did Nicole take the class win, she was classified 16th overall, of 42 starters, despite being in the lowest power class of the race. She didn’t have quite as much luck in the 3 hour C1 race as a number of ill timed Safety Car interventions scuppered the team strategy, dropping them from third at half distance to seventh at the flag, of 46 finishers.
Nicole Drought: “I really enjoyed that! The MINI is a great little car and definitely has potential to go even faster. Matt was great too, he drove a strong first stint and didn’t let the leader get too far away, making my job a little bit easier. it is always great to take a win, but especially first time out in a new series. If the opportunity comes up again, I will definitely be back for more. As ever, a big thanks to my sponsors who make all this possible. Gem Oils, ITM Digital and Siltex Safety.”