Frustrating home round for Santander Salt TAG Racing
It was a challenging weekend for the Derbyshire based Santander Salt TAG Racing outfit at Donington Park with tricky weather conditions playing a part throughout the three days, Dan Linfoot crashed out of race one on Sunday and finished race two in 19th, teammate Shaun Winfield enjoyed a solid weekend posting his personal best lap in Saturday’s qualifying and collecting a 24th and 25th place finish in both races on Sunday.
Following a positive set of free practice sessions in tricky conditions, both Dan and Shaun headed into Saturday afternoon’s three tier qualifying session high in confidence.
Qualifying saw Dan progress in to Q2 after a solid Q1, but he just couldn’t barge his way in to the final session missing out by three tenths of a second to line him up in 12th for Sunday’s opening encounter.
Shaun enjoyed a strong session in dry conditions posting his fastest lap of the weekend, and a new personal best around his home circuit, a 1:31.325, which would line him up in 25th and ahead of James Ellison.
Under cloudy skies on Sunday the opening Bennetts British Superbike race got underway with Linny and Shaun making tough starts, dropping to 14th and 26threspectively.
Dan quickly regrouped though and began to move his way through the pack, and two laps later he’d made his way into 11th on the back of the leading group.
However, just three laps later when he was pushing to catch Danny Buchan who lay ahead he lost the front end at the final corner, crashing out of the race.
After regrouping from his tough start, Shaun started to post consistent lap times as he chased the pack that were ahead of him. But as he pushed harder he made a mistake at the last corner and ran on, losing the tow to the group ahead, riding a lonely race to the flag, crossing the line in 24th place.
By virtue of their lap times from the opening race Dan would start race two from 17thon the grid with Shaun 28th.
Under sunny skies the second race got underway with both riders making good starts until Dan was boxed in at turn one forcing him to pick his way back through the field. Shaun held on to his grid position following the opening lap.
On the third lap the safety car was deployed due to an incident at the Foggy Esses, and when the race got back underway three laps later Dan looked to make his way through the pack ahead.
Unfortunately, he struggled to make his softer SC0 rear tyre work due to a drop in track temperature, which forced him to ride around the issues, taking the flag in 19th.
Following the safety car Shaun began to battle in a group of four for 21st place, however mid race he started to lose grip with his softer SC0 rear tyre, which forced him to drop off the group. He was then forced to ride a lonely race, taking the flag in 25th.
The team’s sidecar outfit of Chris Walker and Ashley Hawes enjoyed a strong weekend. After qualifying seventh on Friday evening they picked up their first podium since Knockhill finishing Saturday’s first race in third place after a hard fought battle. Sunday’s second race saw the pair battle through the elements to take a strong fifth place finish, rounding out a fantastic weekend for the duo.
Dan Linfoot: “I’m walking away scratching my head because our performances haven’t been exceptional this weekend. We lost out on a lot of time on Friday due to the weather conditions and that put us on the back foot because we had a few things to try and test out.
“We’ll have to go back to the drawing board and asses where we can improve really, 19th isn’t what I expect, it’s not where the team or I should be, but we’ll come out fighting at Brands. I want to end the year as strong as I possibly can.
“We both deserve better, we will have to take the positives from this weekend and go to Brands with our heads held high.”
Shaun Winfield: “It’s been a frustrating weekend really, the conditions haven’t helped us because we lost a fair bit of track time on Friday which didn’t help things. I qualified ok but I wasn’t best pleased with my position, but I was happy with beating my personal best time.
“Both races were difficult, we struggled with rear grip because of the conditions and the cooler temperatures but I suppose it was the same for everyone. We’ll take the positives from this though and move forward to Brands with a smile on our faces and go out and enjoy the final round.”
Team manager Gary Winfield: “It has been a tricky weekend for us really, we have had a lack of dry track time this weekend and that set us on the back foot on Friday. Both qualified well on Saturday, especially Shaun because he collected his personal best lap time.
“In both races we struggled slightly to be honest, it’s a real shame because both Dan and Shaun have been extremely professional all weekend, but we’ll re-group for Brands and enjoy the final round.”
Dan Linfoot now sits 15th in the Bennetts British Championship on 81 points.
The team will now travel south to Brands Hatch for the final round of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship on October 18/19/20.