Challenging weekend for Hawkey
Challenging weekend for Hawkey

Esmee Hawkey endured a tough visit to Silverstone in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB as she suffered further bad luck at the circuit, on her second visit to the Northamptonshire venue this season.

Being caught out on the wrong tyres, along with most of the field, for race one, she took fifth in Pro-Am, but was taken off in race two, suffering another DNF after an Am driver made contact with her into the fast Copse corner.

In an extremely tight qualifying session, the Chiselhurst-based racer finished fourth in class, albeit just one tenth away from second place, leaving her optimistic for her chances in race one on Sunday morning.

However, with rain covering the circuit overnight and into the morning, it was a gamble as to which tyres would be best for the 28-lap contest. Esmee and her GT Marques team went for slicks, as did most of the grid, expecting the track to dry out.

But cool ambient temperatures kept the track damp and those on wet tyres raced to commanding advantages, while Esmee and those on slicks struggled for grip. She snuck past title rival Karl Leonard, but he made a bold move on her with a little contact on the final lap, taking valuable championship points in the process.

Unfortunately, while looking to rebound later that afternoon, Am driver Adam Knight tapped her into a spin and then hit her radiator, causing it to break and forcing Esmee to retire from the race.

It was a disappointing end to the day and leaves the 21-year old 16 points behind Leonard with two races of the season left to run (11th – 13th October) at Esmee’s home circuit of Brands Hatch. She will enjoy considerable local support in the final rounds of the 2019 season, and hopes to end the season on a high in front of family, friends, and sponsors.

Having showed considerable speed around the Grand Prix circuit when she raced there in August at the W Series finale, qualifying third on the grid, she will be looking for a repeat performance. The Pro-Am title is still within her grasp and, armed with her natural talents and abilities, she will give it her all.

Speaking after the weekend, Hawkey said: “It wasn’t the best qualifying session we have had because we’ve been on pole for the past few rounds. I wasn’t best pleased but there wasn’t much time between second and myself in Pro-Am. Karl definitely deserved pole because third overall is pretty amazing, but we knew we could move up the order in the race.

“Sunday was difficult because we didn’t know what was going on. It would rain and then dry up, but before the race it was 50/50 for whether we’d take slicks or wets. We made the call for slicks because we thought no more rain would come and the track would dry up, but the track temperature was too cold to dry out and the wet tyres were much quicker.

“Most of the guys I am racing with in Pro-Am were on slicks too. It was tricky but I made some passes. I caught Leonard and passed him but on the last lap he made a dive into Brooklands, gave me a tap, and got through, so I didn’t beat my rival which was frustrating, but it’s one of those things.

“Tyres were critical for race two, but everyone saw how well the wets lasted in race one, so we didn’t gamble. The setup of the car just wasn’t right for the conditions though and we weren’t quick enough. We had an Am behind us who went for a move which wasn’t there into turn one, he lost control and it pushed him into me. I spun but thought I would get going again, but he hit me on the front right which pieced a hole in my radiator and that ended my race.

“A second DNF is going to make it tough for me to get back in the championship so we won’t look at the points anymore. Going to my home race at Brands Hatch is just about taking maximum points; getting pole, two wins, and fastest laps: the same as we did at Thruxton. Silverstone hasn’t been kind to us this year, but Brands is one of my favourite circuits.”

Images courtesy of www.pspimages.co.uk

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