Richardson roars to another podium finish

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ANDREW Richardson celebrated his 21st birthday in fine style by taking a podium finish for Castle Bytham-based Richardson Racing at the weekend.

The team added more silverware to its growing collection during the latest rounds of the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup at the Knockhill circuit in Scotland.

Buoyed by an impressive showing at Snetterton earlier in the month - where he clinched two top three finishes and broke the lap record - Andrew continued his charge up the G55 standings with his fourth podium of the year, which came on the same day he turned 21. There was further success for the team with a double victory for Mark Davies in the G50 class to help him maintain his points lead.

After a difficult start to the season - where a series of issues not of his or the team’s doing had knocked him out of championship contention - Andrew went into the weekend eager to maintain a strong run of form that had seen him rocket up the G55 standings in the previous two rounds.

Qualifying sixth, Andrew was then faced with an extra challenge for race one when rain arrived at the circuit prior to the start. Making light of the conditions, Andrew made up one place on the opening lap before battling ahead of Hunter Abbott on lap four.

Having lost time behind Abbott, Andrew found himself nearly four seconds away from the podium places but set about closing the gap with a series of impressively quick lap times.

Heading into the final lap, Andrew had closed right up to third-placed Nathan Freke and, as the pair went into the final corner, Andrew made his move – diving up the inside and beating Freke in a race to the line to secure his place on the podium by just 0.040secs.

The second race on Sunday morning started with Andrew aiming to repeat his podium result but his hopes of a top three finish were ended on the opening lap when contact from rival Jake Hill left him with a damaged right rear wheel and knocked the tracking on his car out of alignment.

Andrew battled on and was rewarded with sixth, still setting a best lap time just three-tenths of a second away from the fastest lap despite the damage sustained.

The final race saw Andrew start from sixth and he avoided being caught up in a start-line accident that caused the race to be red-flagged.

When the race was then restarted after a delay, Andrew made up places to fourth on the opening lap and held his position all the way to the flag for his third top six result of the weekend.

As a result of the Knockhill races, Andrew has moved up another position to sit fourth in the championship going into the next two rounds of the season at Rockingham next month.

He said: “Knockhill is a unique circuit when it comes to getting the car set-up right and the team did a great job.

“When the weekend started, we were probably about half a second off the pace as we hadn’t been here before, but by the end of it, we were right on the pace and one of the quickest cars out there.

“Although I hoped to qualify higher, we had a strong car in the wet for Saturday’s race and it was also strong in the dry on Sunday. We really got it dialled in and we seemed to get stronger as each race went on.

“Race one was really good and I proved how good the car was to catch up with the top three and I was pleased to make the move on Nathan stick to get on the podium.

“Race two was frustrating as the contact didn’t need to happen but we’ve come away from the weekend with three top six finishes and have moved up to fourth in the standings, which is another indication of our pace.”

In the G50 class, Huddersfield-racer Davies was left to fly the flag alone for the Richardson Racing squad after sponsorship issues sidelined Louise Richardson for the weekend.

Qualifying on class pole in 11th, Mark continued his recent run of dominant wins to take the G50 victory for the 11th time – leading from start-to-finish and finishing ahead of three of the more powerful G55 machines.

Another comfortable victory followed in race two to further strengthen his championship lead but he was forced to retire from the final race of the weekend – marking his first DNF of the campaign.