• Hockenheim finale concludes with top six best for Josh Caygill
• Frustration in race one with first lap contact forcing retirement
• Strong drive in Safety Car impacted second race ends with P6
• Caygill ‘coaches’ Le Mans ace Tom Kristensen for ‘Race of Legends’
Yorkshire racer Josh Caygill encountered a mixed outing at Hockenheim in Germany over the weekend, 14th/15th October, with a best result of sixth place during the final round of the all-action Audi Sport TT Cup season – the last ever event for the one-make championship.
While a strong start to race one on Saturday came to nothing when the Netherton driver was barged into on the first lap at the hairpin, forcing retirement, Caygill hit back with a strong and competitive drive in the second encounter to bring a positive conclusion to his two-meeting outing in the series.
Through a key deal with Milltek Sport, the category podium finisher returned to the Audi Sport TT Cup for the last two events of 2017 which fitted around his commitments in the recently concluded Blancpain Endurance Cup.
While disappointed not to have signed-off his return with some silverware, particularly with the pace having been there to challenge for the podium, the British racer was nonetheless very happy with his speed and racecraft throughout the weekend.
“I’m pretty gutted we couldn’t come away with a podium, but I’m happy with the job I did over the weekend and I have to say a huge thank you to Steve from Milltek Sport for his support”, said Caygill, “Qualifying didn’t go how I wanted, on my quickest lap the slightest error proved costly in terms of time, but I was happy enough we could come through in the races.
“In race one there genuinely was nothing I could do, when we looked back at the video I did everything right and the contact wasn’t something I could avoid. It started well, I did a couple of cars around the outside at Turn One and another at Turn Two but then the incident at the hairpin was a bit of a ricochet and the car that hit me broke the bottom suspension arm and upright.”
He added: “We were in the podium fight in race two, I’d got P4 and P5 battling just ahead and I was happy to just sit where I was in sixth. As soon as the Safety Car had gone in, though, the car didn’t feel as fast so I don’t know if it over-heated slightly. In the end sixth was OK, but we definitely had the possibility of fighting for the podium without the Safety Car.”
Despite lapping only 0.6 seconds shy of pole position in qualifying, Caygill had to settle for a slot at the head of the sixth row of the grid in 11th place for the first of the weekend’s two races. Making a clean start, he maintained position off the line and swiftly broke into the top 10.
In a pack of cars running four abreast towards the hairpin, Caygill entered the right-hander on the outside line but as he turned for the corner he was the unwitting victim of contact after a tangle between several cars at the apex.
Initially held out wide, the right-hand side of his Audi was then hit heavily by a rival trying to avoid the incident and Caygill was forced to park his car moments later with suspension damage taking him out of the encounter at the next corner where he was unable to turn the car.
Beginning Sunday’s race from eighth on the grid, his second fastest time in qualifying just 0.3 seconds shy of pole for the second contest, Caygill made a great start and after moving into seventh on the run from Turn Two to the hairpin he then set about challenging for sixth.
Swarming all over the back of Drew Ridge’s car for the next few laps, on the fifth tour as two rivals battled door-to-door just ahead, and ran wide off circuit as a result, Caygill was able to profit from their delay to sneak past into sixth place at the beginning of lap six.
On the very next lap, though, the Yorkshireman lost some ground and a Safety Car period was triggered when the Audi of Kevin Arnold pulled out to try and pass Caygill in the stadium section, and only succeeded in losing control and slamming into the car of Fabian Vettel.
When the action resumed on lap 10, the Milltek Sport driver held seventh but he soon broke back into the top six. Another cautionary period late on interrupted the flow of the race again and the chequered flag was ultimately waved with the cars line astern behind the Safety Car.
‘Legend’ Kristensen coached by Caygill for grand TT Cup swansong
At the conclusion of the Hockenheim race meeting, Audi Sport held a special ‘Race of Legends’ in the TT Cup cars to sign-off the championship in style. Caygill’s No.14 Audi was taken over for the contest by nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen who qualified third fastest but was tipped into a spin and retirement at the very first corner of the race!
“The Legends race was a great way for the TT Cup to end and it was fantastic for Tom [Kristensen] to be in my car for that – he’s a proper legend and such a top bloke, genuinely one of the nicest guys you could meet”, reflected Caygill.
“The regular drivers had to sort of ‘coach’ the Legends, so I had to go through everything with Tom, sort his tyre pressures and do his pit-board. It was a lot of fun and a real honour to spend some time with such a giant of motorsport. It’s sad to see the TT Cup come to an end, it’s a great championship with fantastic racing and Audi has done an outstanding job with it over the years. It’ll be missed.”
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Copyright free images courtesy Audi Motorsport
Caption - Top Footer Image: Josh Caygill with Tom Kristensen
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