Garda Winter Cup – February 17/19, 2017
Jonny was in top form once again after travelling back to Italy for the prestigious Garda Winter Cup. On an unfamiliar circuit, his overall speed gradually improved over the weekend and he was able to return home on Sunday evening having secured a very satisfying 4th place finish from 55 runners.
Things didn’t look too promising after Thursday morning’s first practice session when he was classified 13th in his group, more than 1.5secs slower than the quickest driver. Next time out, though, he reduced the gap down to a couple of tenths. In Friday’s timed qualifying he ended up 11th overall leaving him with quite a fight in his three Heats.
Fortune didn’t appear to be favouring him in Heat 1 when he was struck from behind by another driver on the opening lap. He was forced onto a kerb but recovered to 4th position at the end. However, this incident had displaced a corner of his front bumper and he incurred a ten seconds penalty that dropped him down to 16th. Remarkably, the real culprit’s front bumper remained intact.
Jonny recorded another 4th place finish in Heat 2 and followed up with 8th spot in the next one. Those positions left him lying 14th overall as Saturday’s racing drew to a close. Instead of the normal Pre-Final there was a “Super Heat” on Sunday morning with starting positions determined by Saturday’s rankings. He fought his way up to 2nd spot in this one. After points from all the heats were collated Jonny knew that he’d be starting Sunday afternoon’s main final from grid 11.
“All the drivers in front of me were very quick and I found it difficult to overtake,” said Jonny. “For quite a long time in this race I was lying 8th but then managed to pick up places later on. I was very happy with my performance and believe that we’ll be even more competitive further into the season.”