James Pull was determined to take the positives away after narrowly missing out on a podium at Donington in the MSA Formula Championship.The 16-year-old Carlin driver finished in fourth place twice and was pushing hard for the win in the other race when he suffered a gearshift failure with four laps to go.
After three podiums on the opening weekend at Brands Hatch, he was unlucky not to add to his tally.
But the ADD Motorsports-supported racer remained upbeat after some fast lap times in practice and excellent racing across the weekend.
He said: “Everything is so tight that the smallest things can impact your whole weekend. We were unlucky with qualifying, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. We were the fastest in practice but left it a little too late in qualifying and did not get the pole we were aiming for.
“There wasn’t a lot I could do with my fourth places in the races, I drove well in both, made up places, but couldn’t get into a position to challenge the leaders. I was in second with four laps to go when my gears stuck in third, leaving me unable to continue. I was quick and had a good chance for the win so it was frustrating.
“We could be leading the Championship now, but we are still fourth and not far away, so we will have to come back even stronger in the next race.”
James - the English driver, born in Singapore, now living in Herts, again posted the fastest time in practice - after doing the same at Brands Hatch earlier this month.
The team kept to the same strategy in qualifying that worked very successfully at Brands Hatch two weeks before, but the cold weather and Donington track meant it was difficult to warm the tyres up sufficiently and with the clock running down he struggled to get a good lap time in, qualifying in sixth and ninth place.
A hail storm made conditions difficult and visibility poor in race one. But James got off to a good start and drove well, getting into fourth place where he remained for the rest of the race. With the leading three drivers consistently fast and not making mistakes, James was unable to push on further for a podium, despite setting the fastest lap of the race.
James started the second race in fourth place and did well to overtake to get into second place during an incident-packed race that saw several collisions.
A perfect restart after a safety car saw him stay in second and in a good position to take on the leader, when his gears stuck in third gear leaving him unable to finish.
He started the final race in seventh and had moved into fifth by the first turn after another confident start.
He got into fourth, but again was unable make up time to the leaders to take a podium.
However, James drops just two places to fourth in the standings thanks to his fourth place finishes and heads to Thruxton just 20 points off the leader.
He added: “I felt I did as well as I could throughout the weekend, so I was happy with my overall performance.
“My driving and restarts were good and I was very pleased with my overtaking.
“It’s a shame I didn’t come away with at least a podium, but we feel that if we continue like this we will still be really strong and up there fighting for the title at the end of the season.”