• Milltek Sport-backed Josh Caygill stars on Audi TT Cup return
• Sensational overtaking in race two delivers impressive P5 finish
• Yorkshire driver turns focus back to Blancpain next weekend
Audi Sport TT Cup returnee Josh Caygill produced a real star performance on his first weekend in sprint racing for the best part of a year at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on Sunday, 24th September, with some outstanding overtaking helping the Yorkshire racer secure a terrific top five finish.
Netherton-based Caygill, who is making two late-season appearances in the championship thanks to a key partnership with sponsor Milltek Sport, took no time at all to get back into the swing of things in the TT Cup, having spent 2017 to-date competing in the Blancpain Endurance Cup.
After finishing sixth in race one on Saturday, 23rd September, he provided some true highlights in the second encounter on Sunday with a series of sensational passes at the wheel of his 310hp Audi, delivering one of the very best race performances of his career.
“To be fair, I’m pretty chuffed with how the weekend went and I really did enjoy the racing – it’s been great being back in the TT Cup”, said the 28-year-old Yorkshireman, “I absolutely loved it, I had a smile on my face the whole time as it was non-stop action and we were never out of the top six all weekend which was fantastic for me and for Milltek Sport, huge thanks to them for their support.
“I feel I’ve learnt a lot from Blancpain, and learning more and more all the time, so coming back into the Audi TT meant I was able to take a step back from the situation and not just get caught up in everything. When you’re in a championship full-time it’s easy to get involved on track, but coming from something different gives you another perspective. I’m really happy with the results.”
Making an impact immediately in free practice, Caygill posted the second fastest time of 1m39.421 seconds (156.353 km/h) and in a very hotly contested qualifying session he secured sixth on the grid for race one with a lap of 1m39.508 seconds (156.217 km/h) – just 0.2 seconds shy of pole position.
Caygill slipped to seventh on a busy first lap in Saturday’s race and was then edged back to eighth on lap three as the fast-paced action continued. Hitting back into seventh the next time around, the Yorkshireman then set about trying to work his way into the top six once again.
The lead seven cars remained unchanged for the next nine laps, but as the contest entered its 14th and final tour Caygill set about trying to get ahead of Drew Ridge. Making his pressure count, the championship returnee grabbed the place and took the chequered flag half a second clear.
Lining-up eighth on the grid for race two on Sunday, Caygill made a good start and maintained the placing into Turn One. Sandwiched between Yannick Brandt and race one rival Ridge, Caygill came under a lot of pressure and Ridge managed to get ahead into the final corner on lap two.
Dramatically, race leader Mikel Azcona was served with a drive-through penalty for a jump start and so Caygill moved back into eighth when the penalty was taken at the end of the third tour. On lap five, he moved ahead of Ridge once more to claim seventh position and as the two drivers ahead battled fiercely on the sixth tour the action really closed-up.
At the halfway point of the race, there was nothing to separate fifth to eighth place and Caygill maintained a watching brief behind Brandt and Fabian Vettel – younger brother of four-time FIA Formula One World Champion Sebastian – while also keeping an eye on his mirrors.
Biding his time, on the penultimate lap Caygill saw his opportunity and with an absolutely outstanding move around the outside at Turn Two he managed to grab sixth from Brandt – a very impressive pass.
Immediately on the tail of Vettel, he continued to push hard and on the final lap Caygill again chose the second corner to mount an attack. Going around the outside again, he got alongside Vettel and although not able to make the move stick at Turn Three the British driver then served up an even better pass than the one from the previous lap.
Getting his nose in front on the brakes into the right-hander, Caygill kept his foot in around the outside of Vettel and on the exit he held his line to complete the move into the next left-hander to seal fifth, a sensational piece of driving, and he stayed there to the flag.
“I’m pretty happy with the job I did in the second race”, reflected Caygill, “I was able to keep the cars behind at bay while trying to challenge the ones in front, and we did pull off some good moves. It really was bumper-to-bumper stuff and it was nice the guys from Audi said how pleased they were. I can’t wait for Hockenheim now, I like it there and we’ve gone well there in the past.”
Caygill now returns to the Blancpain Endurance Cup for the final round of its season next weekend, 30th September/1st October, at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. His second appearance in the Audi Sport TT Cup will follow on 14th/15th October at Hockenheim in Germany.
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