Liam’s instant impact
HE had never raced at Thruxton before this weekend, but Wisbech s Liam McMillan certainly got to grips with the fastest circuit on the Blaupunkt SEAT Cupra Championship calendar. The 17-year-old is proving to be a sensation in his debut season and he mast
HE had never raced at Thruxton before this weekend, but Wisbech's Liam McMillan certainly got to grips with the fastest circuit on the Blaupunkt SEAT Cupra Championship calendar.
The 17-year-old is proving to be a sensation in his debut season and he mastered the high-speed corners and bumps of Thruxton to return two top-10 finishes.
After a high speed crash at Rockingham three weeks ago, McMillan's Maxtreme team were faced with a race against time to prepare his Wisbech Standard sponsored SEAT Leon Cupra for the meeting.
But the youngster just got quicker and quicker throughout the weekend to pick up points in both races and also avoided sustaining any damage to his 165mph car.
McMillan's first qualifying session on Saturday morning saw him lap the ultra-fast 2.356 mile circuit in a time of 1:23.068. But he improved by almost half a second in the afternoon session to record a 1:22.604 lap and an average speed of 102.66mph.
McMillan continued to improve in Sunday's races, improving on his grid position in both rounds five and six.
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He moved up from 12th on the grid for the first race of the day and finished 10th to gain two championship points. Again, the Wisbech driver bettered his best lap time with a circuit of 1:22.561.
Jonathan Adam passed pole-sitter Daniel Welch with a ferocious start to take the chequered flag. Welch pushed the leader hard and set the fastest lap of the race but had to settle for second ahead of Carl Breeze.
It got even better for McMillan in round six when a fastest lap of 1:22.479 helped him to a ninth place finish from 11th on the grid.
Adam held pole position to win his second race of the day, holding off the challenge of Fulvio Mussi and third-placed Neil Waterworth.
McMillan was delighted after his performance. He said: "I'm really pleased to have finished both races in the top ten and get the car to end of the race meeting in one piece.
"To go somewhere for the first time, have so little testing time before qualifying and then head straight into two races and get two good results isn't bad at all."
He added: "Thruxton is very quick and a hard circuit to learn, because there are a lot of bumps that unsettle the car in high speed corners.
"When you are racing at more than 100mph the car is jumping about all over the place and you need a lot of car control and skill to keep everything under control.
"Set-up is very important at Thruxton and we changed the car for both races as we had understeer in the first race and oversteer in second. Now we have some good data and know what set-up we need to get a good balance between the two, so hopefully we'll be even faster when we return to Thruxton in October."
Rounds seven and eight of the Blaupunkt SEAT Cupra Championship take place at Croft, in North Yorkshire, on June 2 and 3.
Again McMillan will take a step into the unknown, having never driven at the track before.