- Simon Paice
Sebastian Priaulx Battles For The Podium In Virginia
Sebastian Priaulx and team-mate Scott Maxwell were back in the podium battle in the Michelin Pilot Challenge as they secured a hard-fought fourth place finish at Virginia International Raceway this past weekend (22/23 August). Following a tough couple of outings since the season resumed in July, the duo enjoyed a return to form behind the wheel of their Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 with an impressive display around the picturesque 3.27 mile circuit. Priaulx was tackling the Virginia track for the first time, so two free practice sessions were crucial to allow the Guernseyman to get up to speed. Alongside his team-mate, the #22 squad put in a competitive showing across both sessions to put them in positive spirits for race day. Maxwell took the reins for qualifying on Sunday morning and put their Mustang fifth on the grid for the two-hour race that afternoon. The experienced Canadian started behind the wheel and produced a fantastic opening lap to emerge in second position. After running in the podium places through his stint, a bold strategy call by the Multimatic team put Priaulx behind the wheel earlier than anticipated. As the race fell into a number of yellow flag periods, they then elected to leave him on track as his rivals pitted around him. The 19 year old talent hammered in a run of fast, consistent lap times to move him to the front of the field and build a healthy advantage over the chasing pack. Pushing forwards, he then had to head to the pitlane for one final ‘splash and dash’ for fuel to get to the finish. Narrowly losing the race lead as he returned to the track, Priaulx fought valiantly in the closing stages to try and keep the Mustang in the podium positions on double-stinted tyres. His spirited defence eventually netted them a brilliant fourth place result. Sebastian Priaulx: “It was a tough race out there and we fought hard right to the finish. While it’s a shame we missed out on a return to the podium, we’re happy with our performance and know that we gave it everything we had. “We knew we were on the back foot in performance compared to the others, so we had to fight harder for it. Scott did a fantastic job getting the car up into the podium places and I was pleased to have been able to stay in the battle throughout. A positive weekend all round.” The 2020 Michelin Pilot Challenge season continues in two weeks’ time with the longest race of the year, a four hour encounter at Watkins Glen International (3-6 September).