HEMEL racing driver Michael Epps endured a disappointing time at the Formula Renault BARC Championship meet at Thruxton as a high-speed collision ended his race.
After struggling somewhat in qualifying, Epps had cut through the pack in the final and was sitting pretty in 11th place, having overtaken 12 rivals in the space of just six laps.
“I was finding racing around here really easy,” he said
“It’s all slipstream, tactics and keeping your foot in – I think I did more passes on the outside than on the inside, thinking about it.”
Not only was he set for his best result of the season, Epps was also on course to record his JWA-Avila team’s best ever result, too, being new to the Championship in 2011.
However, following Fortec’s Martin Cao out of the infamous Church corner at more than 130mph, he pulled alongside his rival at the exit – and that is when disaster struck.
“I got a great run on him through Church and went for the inside,” said Epps.
“I was taking a risk and knew he would defend, but wasn’t ready for what he did.”
Cao squeezed Epps over to the inside at the fastest point on the circuit, and kept moving over until the Adeyfield man was almost completely off the track.
A swipe from Cao caused contact between the two cars and pushed Epps into a monumental spin on the grass.
The car bounced sideways across the rough ground on two-wheels, ripping the underside of the machine off and destroying the right rear suspension, – ending Epps’ involvement in the race.
“It’s the last thing you want at Thruxton,” said Epps. “The grass has big ruts and the car can dig in and roll over.”
Later discovery of drive-shaft and potential gearbox damage meant that he couldn’t compete in the second race that afternoon, leaving Epps to rue what might have been.
“I can’t believe how much bad luck I seem to be having this year,” he said.
“You are supposed to leave room, but he (Cao) just forced me straight off.”
The next rounds of the championship will take place at Croft circuit in North Yorkshire, and Epps will undoubtedly be hoping for a change of fortune as he looks to kick-start his 2012 campaign.
“The only thing I can do from here is just try to have a much better second-half of the season,” he said.
“It’s been so tough, but hopefully we can finally make a decent show for ourselves at the next one.”