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Triumphant weekend for Taylor at Donington

Posted onPosted on 16th Aug

Taylor’s Trucksport Racing Team’s enjoyed a superb weekend in the International Truck Prix at Donington Park, writes Paul Horton.

The Huthwaite-based Goodyear FIA European Truck Racing Championship team came back to race its new truck in front of UK fans in style, getting on the podium twice with a third-place and an outstanding first place during the weekend.

Thursday saw two test sessions. Mark Taylor, the 36-year-old pilot, was fast on Donington’s 1.97 miles of Tarmac, however the truck was losing traction going through Craner Curves, so set-up was adjusted.

Saturday’s Free Practice session went well with Taylor taking second fastest in the session and only 0.006secs off top.

Qualifying was tense but just as good and on the last lap he sealed third place with a time of 1:27.045s and a second row start for race one.

With dry settings for race one, a torrential rainstorm met the team whilst waiting to start. A delayed start saw the team change everything to a wet set-up whilst sat on the grid.

Conditions were bad and Taylor remained cautious, as did John Newell and Jamie Anderson in front, and he remained third to take the flag in the nine-lap race.

Race two saw Mark fifth on the grid. He made a brilliant start and pulled away in P1. On lap two the red flags were out; the race stopped, there was a regrid and restart. For the second chunk, Taylor battled hard on lap 4 with only 0.7 seconds separating 3rd, 4th and 5th spots, when he was heavily knocked off track by another truck coming out of Craner Curves into the gravel, managing to recover for a lap.

It soon became apparent the truck was undriveable due to a rear tyre, which had come half off the rim, and Taylor had to retire, leading to a DNF for the race.

Work on the damage-stricken truck commenced , working till late to repair the damage and the usual full service to get it ready for racing on Sunday.

Sunday’s warm-up session again went well in dry conditions with only 0.35seconds separating first, second and third, confirming no major damage had been sustained.

Sunday’s qualifying saw the heavens open again and set up for wet, with 25 minutes to go, the clouds dissipated, and the track began to quickly dry. A quick change back to dry by the team took place.

Anderson, Newell, and Taylor maintained first, second and third throughout with Mark achieving the fastest lap time of the session of 1:26.674s. However, due to clipping the white line several times, Taylor was given a time penalty, demoting him to 4th overall.

Race four went flawlessly with the truck and driver performing to their very best, coming from P5 to P1 on lap one and growing a lead of 2.73 seconds over Anderson by lap two. Taylor maintained a lead of over one second for the next seven laps with Anderson slowly closing the gap – by lap 10 it was down to 0.3 seconds with Taylor nibbling at his heels. Taylor maintained his cool, defending well and bringing the truck over the line P1, 0.177 seconds ahead of Anderson.

Overall it was a brilliant weekend with a P1, a P3, a P4 demoted from P3, and a DNF after being knocked off track – clearly the ETRC European experience is starting to show significant results with the driver, team and truck.

Taylor said afterwards: “It’s been a great weekend to be here with all our fans, the first ever Truck Prix and a podium in race one was topped off by a personal best and first place in the last race. It was a battle with Jamie and a great race. The truck performed well, and the team did a great job.”

The team are back to Europe this weekend at Autodrom Most, Czech Republic in the Goodyear FIA European Truck Racing Championship.

PHOTOS: Paul Horton Motorsport Photography