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Aug 04, 2014 - 02:51 PM
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Chris Knox On Title Door At Castle Combe
Posted by: newsla on Aug 04, 2014 - 02:43 PM
Sports Cars
Chris Knox On Title Door At Castle Combe


In-form Mini marvel Chris Knox took a massive step towards reclaiming his British Mini Challenge title with a devastating show of power at Castle Combe.

 

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The 2011 champion enjoyed the perfect weekend with pole position, two fastest laps and two race wins to extend his lead in the championship to 55 points, 48 on dropped scores, and also claimed the Sonoco Fuels Driver of the Day award.

Chris, originally from Elderslie in Renfrewshire but who is now living in Brighton, was immediately on the pace as soon as his Rivervale Leasing Mini arrived at the Wiltshire track.

The Renfrewshire Rocket – who is also backed by SL Group Management, shopplay.co.uk, WESL, and Mintech Spares UK – got some valuable laps under his belt on a test day on Thursday then laid down a marker in a wet qualifying session.

He finished the session eight tenths of a second clear of the pack.

Former karting champ Chris, who has already made a name for himself with some determined displays in the Continental Tires Sports Car Series in the USA in 2012, was in no mood to let his advantage slip.

The first race was on a damp track but while many drivers opted for full wet set-ups or full dry, Chris and the Excelr8 team put wets on the rear and slicks on the front of the Rivervale Leasing car. The decision proved decisive as he made the most of the conditions to romp to a win ahead of Luke Caudle and Lawrence Davey.

Despite being eighth on the reverse grid for race two, Chris survived some early-race carnage to work his way up the field, eventually hitting the front and building a decent lead over Henry Duprey and Caudle by the end.

Chris now has two more rounds to tackle, and will be building on his fitness with a carbon fibre road bike thanks to new sponsor Thomson Cycles in Paisley, Scotland.

CHRIS SAYS: “It has been a couple of years since I have been to Castle Combe and it has always been a bit of a bogey track for me. It is very challenging and I have never really got the rewards so it is great too put that right.

“To get pole position, two fastest laps and two wins is more than I could have hoped for, and is perfect for my championship challenge with two rounds to go.

“We made some progress as our base set-up wasn’t quite right for Castle Combe. After the changes we seemed to be on the pace straight away.

“It was good that qualifying started wet, but the track was drying out so I could never relax. At one point I was three seconds clear, but I was happy to finish up on pole – eight tenths of a second ahead of the rest.

“We had a decision to make for race one. Some went for slicks, others went full wets but I wanted wets on the back and slicks on the front, it really worked. The car was sliding around in the corners but I had all the grip I needed at the front.

“I ended up winning the race quite comfortably.

“There was a bit of carnage in race two. The first start was red-flagged after an accident and I was a little tentative because I had the championship in mind. I was more confident on the restart and worked my way up to fifth on the first lap.

“Then I made a couple more places because of an accident up ahead and closed the leaders down. Luke Caudle was leading and made it tough but I eventually forced him into a mistake and got the cut-back coming out of turn one and pulled away.

“It was also great to have Thomson Cycles on board. They have given me an excellent road bike and I will be working on my fitness.”

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