Team Viking produced some of the best driving of their careers in the Zandvoort double-header that took place over the weekend of 29 June – 1 July, including a sixth place finish and their second podium of the season.
Planning was part of the team’s success story in the Netherlands as they had been testing at the tricky track in the past and had learnt some of its secrets. “Being there earlier in the year was key,” explained Mark Holme, the Team Manager. “There was a big crash during testing on the Friday and the track time was halved, so less experienced drivers were at a disadvantage,” he added.
Race one on Saturday brought with it blistering conditions, and Team Viking found itself sitting P19 on the grid. The three-hour race was to consist of 27 teams.
Disaster stuck early in the race at Scheivlak Corner, where a tight right-hander forced a rival car to brake early, causing a huge crash, which saw several cars retire. Holme had to take evasive action and T-boned another car, but survived with very little damage and was able to continue.
Occurring on lap two, the crash saw the safety car enter the track. Unfortunately for Team Viking, the car was out for 30 minutes in order for the marshals to remove debris and rebuild the tyre wall.
When the safety car entered the pits, Team Viking found itself at the back, but both drivers put in solid performances and were making progress for the rest of the race. They moved their way through the pack and finished in P6 – claiming the Team of the Day award for their efforts.
This result gave the team great confidence going into Sunday’s Race. Nick Nunn started the second race 11th on the grid. Nunn’s first stint was lightning quick and, keeping up with the professional drivers in the series, he was able to pull away from the pack. This impressive performance was boosted with a near-perfect pit stop. When Holme pulled out onto the track for his first stint, the team had made up four places.
The team found themselves in sixth place with 90 minutes left. Nunn’s rotator cuff injury that he picked up in Oulton Park started to cause problems, with him struggling to keep pace due to the pain, the team decided to let Holme do longer stints so Nunn could rest.
Car 110 was in P5 with fifteen minutes to go, and its team were able to battle their way through up to third. Holme had built up a 30 second gap between him and the car in fourth place, but then it came across the radio that the team had received a stop and go penalty. When Holme came back out, that lead had reduced to just eight seconds, and the driver behind was lapping at 1.5s faster than Holme. However, Holme was able to keep in front and brought the car home in third to claim the team’s second podium of the season.
“I knew that if I kept it clean – kept it honest – out there, we had enough to finish third,” said Holme. “It was a fast race; there was no safety car, so nobody was able to bunch up with other drivers. It was great to keep up with the front runners from early on – that put us in a strong position early, and we’ve come away with another podium,” he concluded.
Next up for Team Viking is a four-hour race at Silverstone on the National Circuit, taking place on Saturday 28 July.
Fastest Lap: 2.06.34
Championship Standings: 4th