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Apr 30, 2014 - 08:19 AM
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Chris Knox Back With A BangAnd A Win In The British Mini Challenge
Posted by: newsla on Apr 30, 2014 - 08:16 AM
Sports Cars
Chris Knox Back With A BangAnd A Win In The British Mini Challenge
Former British Mini Challenge champion Chris Knox showed that he can still cut it with the best Mini drivers in the country with a Donington demolition at the weekend. Chris, from Elderslie, Renfrewshire, agreed a last-minute deal with SL Group Management to drive the shopplay.co.uk Mini at the Leicestershire track.


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And it looked like Chris — who was champion in 2011 — had never been away as he was soon topping the time charts.

Chris has already made a name for himself in selected rounds of the Continental Tires Sports Car Series in America in 2012 after a successful career in karting, then turned on the style last year in a Blackwood Plant Hire Vauxhall Insignia at a touring car test at Brands Hatch.

But he wanted some tough competition, so signed up for the Mini Challenge round. Despite only seeing the car on Friday, when most of his test day was spent getting a seat fitting making himself comfortable in the car, he felt he was in with a great chance of glory over the weekend.

And he proved it by taking pole position with his first flying lap, then parking the car to see whether anyone could match his time.

The first two dry races gave Chris the opportunity to show he had lost none of his racecraft, but a mechanical glitch with the car, and a collision that sent him into the gravel, meant he had to battle to tenth and fifth-place finishes.

But the Renfrewshire Rocket stormed back in the final race of the day with a series of clinical moves in the wet, before heading off into the distance to take a stunning win. Now he is hoping for more glory after agreeing a deal with SL Group Management to be back out in the shopplay.co.uk car in two weeks’ time.

CHRIS SAYS: "I only found out about it on Tuesday so it was very last-minute, but I have to thank SL Group Management and shopplay.co.uk for putting everything in place.

"I only saw the car on Friday. We spent a bit of time moving the seat around and getting comfortable but we still got a decent amount of running and I was happy with where we were. "There have been a number of changes in the series since I won it. The tyres have changed, the brakes are different and the cars have more power so I had a few things to get my head around ahead of qualifying.

"Then my first flying lap was my pole lap. I did the time then just waited to see whether anyone could beat it.

"I got a good start in the first race and led into the first corner but I hadn’t even finished the first lap before I knew I had a power issue. I defended for about four laps before I finally got passed.

"I was struggling but got hit in the rear and ended up in the gravel. I finally got pushed out and went back to the pits to check everything. I was able to get back on track to finish tenth, but it was a disappointing end to the race.

"In race two, I was quickly up from tenth to fourth and was just making the most of my experience on cold tyres. But it was obvious the car was still not right and I had to work hard to stay where I was. In the end, I was happy to finish fifth.

"Race three was wet. I got a good start and was third into Redgate, then second into the old Hairpin. By Coppice, Lawrence Davey got down the outside of me on the wet line and we hit the same patch of water.

"We slid into each other and off the circuit, putting me down to third. But I knew I could take the lead at Redgate and made the move stick. Then I just drove into the distance.

"It was good to be back. It is like putting on an old pair of trainers, it all felt comfortable. "The cars have had a freshen up, so they were better to drive than before.

"Thanks to SL Group Management and shopplay.co.uk, we have put together a deal for the Mini Festival. It is going to be good to be there in front of an excellent crowd."

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