Team Viking ended their 2017 season in fine style with a podium finish at the final stage of the year, Portimao in Portugal. The one-off stage included two four-hour races, which saw the team finish third in the first race and ninth in the second.
Before the trip to Portugal, the team finished off the UK season at Oulton Park with a four-hour race at the Cheshire circuit. The weekend began well for the team, with all three drivers setting a good pace in testing and free practice sessions.
Race day saw car 110 starting eighth on the grid. Team Manager Mark Holme was to take the first stint. Holme was setting a fantastic pace and soon found himself in third. It was looking to be one of the best performances of the season, until a brake issue ruined any chance of a podium finish.
“It was a faulty batch of brakes,” said Holme. “It changed the bias of the breaking and the back wheels locked up as I was heading into Shell Oils Corner. I spun and then ended in the gravel trap,” he explained.
There was a delay in getting the car out of the gravel and they were two laps behind when they returned to the track. Never ones to give up, the drivers kept pushing and battled their way back up to ninth… out of 32 cars! This was enough to see Team Viking finish ninth overall in the season standings– their highest ever season finish.
The final race of the season, which was a stand-alone event, saw Team Viking regulars Mark Holme and Nick Nunn head over to Portimao, along with Colin Kingsnorth as their third driver. Kingsnorth drives for the Trumans’ team in the UK Fun Cup, and was a valuable addition for the weekend that would see a four-hour day race and a four-hour day/night race.
Chosen to take the first stint in race one, Kingsnorth set a blistering pace. As he was driving, the door latch broke and the drivers door swung open, resulting in a black flag. Kingsnorth was forced to return to the pits to resolve the problem. The door was taped up and when the car returned to the track Team Viking had dropped to sixth. “Due to the door fix we had slower pit stops, but we managed to fight our way back up the pack and finish in third,” explained Holme.
The day/night race saw Nunn take the wheel for the first stint. The team was second from last on the grid and Nunn managed to battle his way up to fifth, before he spun in a high-speed corner and clipped another car. Although the performance of the car wasn’t compromised, the bodywork was damaged and the team had to return to the pits.
Nunn also failed to spot a yellow flag in the bright sun and overtook a rival car, meaning Team Viking had to have a stop and go in the pits. All the drivers kept fighting and brought the car home in ninth.
“It’s been our best season to date,” explained Holme. “We can really see how far we’ve come in two seasons of racing. It’ll be fascinating to see what next year will bring.”
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