Will Burns continued on his way to challenge for this season's Ginetta GT4 SuperCup title with a further podium score and high-placed finishes at the latest rounds at Donington Park in Leicestershire last weekend.
The Weston-super-Mare racer headed into the weekend on the back of two third-place finishes at the championship's opening rounds at Brands Hatch earlier this month. With HHC Motorsport team-mates Carl Breeze and Jamie Orton also standing on the podium in Kent, Burns was keen to continue to take the fight to his rivals for race victories.
Burns had bad memories of Donington Park after he suffered a number of woes at the circuit 12 months ago, but he quickly began to make up for that disappointment, setting the fourth quickest time in Saturday's qualifying session.
With rival and fellow second row sitter Tom Oliphant storming to the opening race victory, Will enjoyed a great dice with team-mate Breeze for third place, with the former champion hanging on to the final podium spot by only 0.3 seconds by the flag.
Starting race two in the position he finished the opener, Burns once again had an entertaining battle with all those around him, with the top five separated by only 1.7 seconds by the chequered flag. Former British GT champion Michael Caine managed to pip Will to fourth place by 0.2 seconds by the race end; the leading group some 10 seconds clear of the chasing pack.
When the reversed grid draw was made for the weekend's final race, to be broadcast live on ITV4, Caine was selected as the pole sitter, meaning Burns missed out on the opportunity to demonstrate his pace from the front row of the grid.
Will therefore had to settle for a fifth place start, but he certainly made up for his disappointment at missing out on pole, by driving a storming race in front of millions. On tyres which were now three races old, he scythed through the frontrunners, to comfortably sit in second position, just too far behind team-mate Orton to challenge for the victory. It was a result which merited Burns' weekend performance.
"This has been a bit of a bogey circuit for me in previous years," explains Burns. "I've also only had limited testing at Donington Park compared to other circuits on the calendar. So I knew that I was slightly on the back foot.
"But I knew that I had the pace heading into qualifying as HHC Motorsport had set the car up fantastically. Unfortunately I couldn't quite get the best lap in which meant I had to start fourth on the grid. That disappointment shows just how far I've come in the last 12 months though.
"Looking at the data of my team-mates, I knew that I had the pace to push into the opening race. I had opportunities to pass for a podium spot in race one, but my target this year is consistent points finishes, and not to risk a move which may end in difficulty."
For race two, Burns and the team switched his tyres around, from one side of the car to the other in order to attempt to gain as much traction from the one set of rubber as possible.
"I felt that being in the same outfit, my team-mates wouldn't be into giving each other that much contact but after race two, it looks like it's going to be a tough, intra-team fight rather than a scrap with anyone else! It's going to be entertaining for the rest of the year!"
Will was keen to ensure that his tyres were in good shape ahead of the final skirmish, live on national television. "I was a bit disappointed with the race two result, and so I wanted to make up for it to the team, as I feel that I've stepped up this season," Burns says. "I just had to go for it in the third race. I had a brilliant start, better than my team-mate Carl [Breeze] who usually makes great getaways.
"I went up Carl's inside at turn one, Redgate at the start, although he kept his foot down. I therefore had to go past him on the outside around the Craner Curves. Once I was ahead of Michael Caine for second, I tried to hunt down Jamie but I was consistently as quick as him. So despite not being able to battle for the lead, I was happy that my pace was as fast as a more experienced driver, and the championship leader.
"Second place was therefore cracking! I'm already looking forward to the next rounds at Thruxton. We had our pre-weekend test there earlier this month, and I'm targeting a hat trick of top five results to bank more crucial title points. But it's a crazy place to race at and conditions may have changed by the time we get there."