Cam Walton fought back from mechanical issues to salvage a top six result at the most recent Toyota 86 Racing Series round at Sandown.
The Sydney based British racer overcame not one but two mechanical failures to finish the weekend with a solid sixth place in the highly competitive field during the final race of the weekend.
"We came into the weekend incredibly motivated after a promising showing at The Bend, as well as bringing on DPO as a major sponsor," said Walton.
"Being the halfway point of the season we gave the car a bit of an overhaul ahead of Sandown in order to stay competitive in the highly competitive series".
"Unfortunately one of the replacement driveshafts failed on the out lap of our first practice session, leaving me a difficult job for the remainder of the day, having never done a lap of the circuit before."
"My crew promptly got the car sorted and we shot straight out of the blocks to end the second practice session with the seventh fastest time"
Walton backed up that pace as he continued to learn the circuit to qualify of the front row of the grid for the opening race of the weekend. Missing out on pole position by just 0.06s.
Pulling away in the lead before unfortunately for the British racer, mechanical gremlins struck again eventually resulting in a DNF (Did Not Finish) in the opening race which left him with 0 points and a lot of work to be done in the final two races to salvage points for his championship.
"I had a great launch off the line to take the lead into turn 1 and start to pull a gap through to Turn 4 before something went wrong." Walton continued.
"What felt like a loss of power which meant I lost the lead immediately down the straight heading into Turn 6"
"As the race went on the issue got worse and I dropped down to seventh as smoke started to appear in the cabin, but we didn't know if it was a tyre rubbing or engine failure, so we carried on until the penultimate lap when a catastrophic failure left me in a cloud of thick smoke/fire at Turn 6 travelling at 190kph."
"I managed to pull off the circuit safely at Turn 9 and retire from the race. Thinking it was an engine failure and assuming our weekend (and championship) was over."
"I was taken to the medical centre for checks and kept under observation for a quite a while because of the smoke inhalation"
"By the time I got back to the garage, Luke and Terry had already stripped the car back and as it turned out, luckily, it was the diff, not the engine!"
"With the assistance of fellow competitor Kane Baxter-Smith - who donated a replacement diff - and a huge amount of work, we got the car back on track to start the second race from 31st."
"I'm thankful for having such a great team and I do honestly believe it's the best in the paddock at the moment. The team spirit is incredible and that makes my job easy. The way that we've grown from the start of the year is astonishing. The results reflect that."
"Rolling out with a perfect car again, a wet second race allowed me to pick my way through 19 places in just six racing laps to finish 12th without a scratch on the car."
"It was my first time driving the 86 in the wet and I loved it! There's nothing more rewarding than dancing a car around in the wet in a field of 30 and I have no doubt that if we saw the race go its full distance, a top 5 result was within reach"
"Better weather for the third race probably should have favoured my more experienced rivals and made it harder to work my way through but I gave it my best crack, moving forward to sixth place in another shortened race after a series of crashes."
In terms of damage limitation, Walton maintained sixth place in the championship standings heading into the next round of the Toyota 86 Racing Series in just three weeks time at the famous Mount Panorama circuit in support of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championships SuperCheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Cam would like to thank all his supporters for their continued assistance, including:
•Greenthumb Lawn Treatment Service
Toyota 86 Racing Series 2018 Schedule:
•Races 1, 2 & 3 WD-40 Phillip Island 500 April 20-22
•Races 4, 5 & 6 Watpac Townsville 400 July 6-8
•Races 7, 8 & 9 The Bend SuperSprint August 24-26
•Races 10, 11 & 12 Sandown September 14-16
•Races 13, 14 & 15 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 October 4-7
•Races 16, 17 & 18 Coates Hire Newcastle 500 November 23-25