Round 2 of the 2011 Time Attack series saw the Garage Awesome team make an epic road-trip up north to Scotland as the cars and drivers make the annual stop at the home of Scottish motor racing; Knockhill. Being in Scotland, we excepted to see some new faces and cars, and challenging weather conditions as the drivers took on the shortest track on the calendar, setting us up for some real nail-biting, close-battling action and we weren’t disappointed!

As ever, we start our look into the round by bringing you the day’s action from the Pro cars and drivers and those competing in the Club Pro Category and although to the vast majority, Knockhill is a long way from home , the only car that we saw at Round 1 who didn’t make the trip was David Jackson in the Escort Cosworth.

Gavin Renshaw

Right from the word go the tight, twisty, complex corners of Knockhill and the long adjoining straights would see all the drivers tested and the cars really put through their paces, although none so much as Paul Doyle in the KSport Impreza, who had the team working on the car late into Saturday night at the circuit and at the crack of dawn Sunday morning only for the car to be stricken on the exit of the Real Radio hairpin on the first lap of the first warm up session and unfortunately that would be the last we saw of the car leaving Paul failing to add to his podium position he managed at Oulton Park last month.

Warm up saw the #24 Marcus Webster Nissan Skyline top the pile making the most of the dry track gaining a half second advantage over Michael Mahoney, with Marcus clocking up the most laps in the session and leaving it close to the end before putting in his quickest time! With Doyle out of the running, it left the door open to five drivers to take the advantage and secure a podium place and in practice the 3 Evos dominated with NR Autosport’s Gavin Renshaw leading by only the slightest 0.03 second advantage over Mahoney, who himself was only just under half a second clear of Russ Paton’s Evo 6 although worryingly for Mahoney, he pulled the car off the circuit at the end of the pit straight where it remained for the rest of the session.

Beautiful Scotland

With the small entry numbers leaving qualifying not so crucial, both early chargers Renshaw and Mahoney took it fairly steady with only 4 and 8 laps recorded respectively, this saw Webster back on top for the second time of the meeting, again putting in a high number of strong laps, the quickest again being his penultimate. Duncan Graham qualified 3rd in the Subaru and Paton managed to claim second despite a close call as he lost control of the car exiting Scotsman Corner. The final saw all 5 drivers really upping their game; the 3 previous sessions had been used wisely to perfect lines and learn where the car works best! Michael Mahoney was the early pace setter and his speed trap on the second sector was an unbelievable 135mph, a good 7-8mph more than anyone else managed all day but unfortunately for him, lap 6 saw his car off the track and resulting in some front end damage and a red flag on the session. After his two table topping performances during the day, Webster was rewarded with a podium position with what was by far his quickest lap of the day, but not quick enough to match the pace of Russ Paton who missed the top step by just 0.137secs leaving Evo driver; Gavin Renshaw to undo the bad luck he suffered at Round 1 and take the victory up in Scotland in the Pro Class.

Moving on to the Club Pro, and again we saw a battle of five drivers with the big advantage going to the Skyline of Fiona Kindness, representing Track Scotland who was on home soil and must know Knockhill like the back of her hand! That said, warm up saw Warren kelly’s Cosworth come in quickest, another driver getting over mechanical problems that put him out of contention at Round 1. Ameon Racing driver; Rob Cowling was finally out in the Evo, but it wasn’t long before he ran into problems with lap 6 seeing him pull into the pits with a large plume of smoke following him – something you will read all about in the coming weeks on Garage Awesome!

Neil Robertson's Evo on Full Chat

Practice saw Walter Morris run into problems, disappearing back to the pits having completed only two laps and Neil Robertson also appeared to be fighting with the car despite putting a good number of laps in. Then the home advantage shone, with Fiona Kindness putting her car almost 2 seconds clear of Kelly. Qualifying again wasn’t too much of an issue as all the drivers would automatically go through, leaving Cowling to nurse the Evo through and Kelly to do the same with the Escort, but before most had put in their quick times the session saw a red flag with Cowling pulling off into the gravel at the exit to Scotsman corner. Fiona again was head and shoulders clear of the field leaving both Morris and Roberston trailing in her midst.

Final time, and with Rob Cowling only taking the Evo out to run the minimum laps to gain points it left four drivers to go after the top spot, and despite Kelly, Robertson and Morris all putting in fast times there was just no catching Kindness, who had driven without fault all day and was rightly rewarded with top honours and points ahead of Kelly and Robertson.

Top action from some top drivers at a top circuit, all we need to add is a few more drivers to really mix it up and this is definitely the one to watch. Hopefully we will see Doyle’s problems banished and Jackson making the trip to Brands Hatch in just over a month, leaving us with a fantastic championship battle in the top two tiers of the 2011 MSA Time Attack Championship.

Words – Ollie // Pictures Ollie & Rich