By Jamie Arrowsmith 19/07 Updated: 26/07 16:36
BROMSGROVE’S Damian Cottrell fought back from a disappointing qualifying session to record two impressive finished in the latest round of the Classic Hatch Championship at Donington Park.
Cottrell went into the weekend in third place in the standings and was hoping to sit on top of the tree by the end of the weekend but that task was made harder in qualifying when he skidded on some mud on a damp track during qualifying and ended up in the gravel.
That meant he would have to start from the back of the grid but Cottrell admitted at one stage he though things may have got worse.
“As the car hit the gravel trap I had visions of it rolling over. But luckily that didn’t happen,” he said.
“I sat there trying to drive off, but only managed to bury the car up to the wheel nuts in gravel and it was game over for qualifying.
“Standing behind the tyres knowing I would have to start from the back, I thought it was season over. It’s so tight at the top I knew I could not afford a couple of bad finishes.”
Cottrell wasted little time in making ground at the start of Saturday’s race though, having made up five places by the first corner.
A brave run round a damp, unfamiliar circuit saw him up to tenth by the end of the first lap and by the end of lap two he was eighth, eventually finishing a respectable seventh.
“Not bad but I could have done better with some practice of the chicane, I was losing loads of time there, Cottrell reflected.
Sunday was dry and with a few changes to the car, Cottrell once again lined up at the back of the grid.
“I had a good feeling before the race,” Cottrell said. “My son Luke was there to watch me along with a few friends and I really wanted to do well for them.”
He made another fantastic start, making six places by the first corner and by the end of the first lap he was up to eighth.
As he started lap two he had the leading group in front of him before three-time champion Lee Scott was forced to retire with smoke coming from his car.
But disaster struck a few corners later when just as Cottrell was lining up a double pass the two cars in front of him collided and he had to take to the grass to avoid contact, costing him valuable time.
That left the leading group someway up the road and despite a determined effort to catch them, Cottrell finished 0.2 of a second behind third place and only 2.5 seconds behind the winner.
“I had mixed feelings really as even though I started from the back, that was a winnable race,” Cottrell said.
He ended the weekend second in the standings and just seven points behind the leader.
Cottrell is still keen to talk to potential sponsors and can be contacted at email@example.com.
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