• Blancpain Sprint's Josh Caygill battles odds in Italy during Rd3
• Catalogue of misfortune hits Bentley racer’s points potential
• Caygill crestfallen with maiden visit to Misano World Circuit
Round three of the Blancpain Sprint Cup season at Misano in Italy over the weekend, 23rd/24th June, proved to be an event to forget for Yorkshire’s Josh Caygill with a series of luckless incidents having a negative impact on his points scoring possibilities in the ‘Silver Cup’.
Heading to World Circuit Marco Simoncelli off the back of claiming a maiden class victory last time out at Brands Hatch with team-mate Aron Taylor-Smith, the halfway point of the 2018 season was, unfortunately, far from favourable for the Bentley Continental duo.
In race one on Saturday evening, Holmfirth driver Caygill took the opening stint and despite contact, which resulted in a spin, and also a penalty linked to a yellow flag infringement – a legacy of radio communication troubles – he and Taylor-Smith finished seventh in Silver, 15th position overall.
Race two on Sunday afternoon, though, was even more disappointing for the Team Parker Racing drivers when an unfortunate excursion, and resulting contact with the pit wall, led to an early race retirement at the end of lap one for Taylor-Smith,
“You couldn’t make this weekend up to be honest”, said Caygill, “If it could go wrong it pretty much did go wrong unfortunately, which is really frustrating as we had high hopes. We weren’t there with the car this weekend, then I had contact in race one and the penalty after the yellow flag issue. Our radio wasn’t working, so the team couldn’t let me know where it was – just one of those things.
“Then race two was over almost as soon as it started, the car just got away from Aron and then he was a passenger really. After the high of race one at Brands Hatch, this has been a big come down but we’re determined to hit back after the summer break when we head to Hungaroring.”
Starting off the Misano weekend with the seventh fastest Silver Cup time in second free practice, the first session having been a wash-out, qualifying for Saturday evening’s race didn’t go to plan with Caygill ending the session an uncharacteristic 22nd overall and eighth in the Silver class.
Taking the opening stint of the first encounter, the British racer held station through the first few corners before starting to make up ground mid-lap. Gaining three places, Caygill moved up into 19th position overall and ran close behind the BMW M6 of Andrew Watson into lap two.
Coming under some pressure from the No.21 Audi, Caygill was passed by his rival but around the same time the race-leading Mercedes-AMG retired, so the Team Parker Racing driver still ran in 19th place as the race passed the 10-minute mark. Then, though, he was pitched into a spin after the rear of the Bentley was hit but Caygill did recover.
Due to the aforementioned Mercedes being stranded on track, racing fell under a ‘Full Course Yellow’ period for a brief spell before the action resumed. Notably, though, the ship-to-shore radio in the Bentley wasn’t working and so Caygill wasn’t informed of the cautionary period. As a result, he mistakenly failed to slow sufficiently and was subsequently given a drive-through penalty.
After again pitting mid-race for the mandatory driver-change pit stop, Taylor-Smith joined the track and when the order settled with around 20 minutes to go the Irishman held 16th place, albeit a lap down on the leaders. Before the chequered flag at the end of the hour he moved up into the top 15, seventh in the Silver Cup.
Taylor-Smith took the first stint for race two on Sunday, starting in 20th overall and seventh in class, and he quickly gained a place following an excursion for one of the Lamborghinis. At the end of the opening lap, though, there was major drama for the No.31 car when Taylor-Smith went wide out of the final corner.
Pitching him into a spin, the Bentley speared back across the track into the pit wall and the contact led to significant rear-end damage. Eventually able to get the car moving again, Taylor-Smith had to complete another lap before being able to pit – retirement a foregone conclusion.
There is now a lengthy summer break for the Blancpain Sprint Cup, with the fourth event of the season taking place over the weekend 1st/2nd September at the Hungaroring near Budapest.
2018 Blancpain Sprint Cup ‘Silver Cup’ Driver Standings:
5th Josh Caygill & Aron Taylor-Smith, 33pts
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