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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Caitlin May scores podium finish at Brands Hatch

After qualifying within the top-10 of the overall classification, Caitlin May enjoyed an excellent start to the AIRTEC Motorsport Fiesta ST240 Championship campaign at Brands Hatch by scoring her first Am class podium of the season.

Caitlin May, 2024 Airtec Motorsport Fiesta ST240 Championship, Brands Hatch
Photo credits: BRSCC

Caitlin May began her AIRTEC Motorsport Fiesta ST240 Championship campaign with an Am class podium at Brands Hatch. After qualifying within the top-10 of the overall classification, third in class, May finished fourth in class in race one, before securing a maiden podium in race two. A track limits penalty put pay to a third top-5 result of the weekend, however it was still an excellent start to the season for the young racer.

Returning for another season in the AIRTEC Motorsport Fiesta ST240 Championship, Caitlin was aiming to use her experience to fight for the newly re-categorised Am class title. Previously known as the Club class, May finished third in this category during an excellent 2023 campaign in which she displayed good consistency in her performances, retiring just once across the 18-race calendar.

Although the championship did not visit Brands Hatch during the 2023 season, Caitlin had fond memories of the circuit. In her debut season in the ST240 class in 2022, she achieved an excellent sixth place overall result in just her third meeting in the car. May was looking to carry forward this speed into the debut meeting of 2024, with three races to come on the challenging Indy circuit.

Caitlin’s pace in Saturday morning’s qualifying session was strong as the JRW Motorsport driver set a best time of a 54.465 which placed her third among the Am class runners, while setting the ninth fastest time overall. She was comfortably ahead of a number of drivers competing in the Pro class, underlining her speed at a circuit which she has shown good speed at in the past.

Lining up third in the Am class, it was a good start to race one for May who remained within the top-10 of the overall classification while dropping one Am class position. Applying pressure to Henry Howarth for the final spot on the class podium, the drivers were running nose-to-tail throughout the midfield. On lap six, Caitlin dropped behind Archie Johnson but remained a close fight with just over one second covering the drivers in eighth through twelfth overall.

On lap 15, the safety car was deployed after Morgan Kidd became stuck in the gravel trap at druids, with May continuing to run fifth in the Am class. This gave Caitlin a chance to attack in the final three laps following the restart as she targeted her first podium finish of the season. Taking advantage of the late race restart, May passed Johnson on the final lap to claim a hard-fought fourth place finish in class, while taking the checkered flag in 12th position overall.

Grid positions for race two were based on the results of race one, with May lining up fourth in the Am class. It was an action-packed start to the contest, with drivers going four-wide into Paddock Hill bend. Inevitable contact occurred as a result, with the red flag being displayed. Caitlin avoided any damage and this allowed her to take advantage of the fifteen-minute restart.

Gaining three overall positions as the race resumed, May remained fourth in the Am class but was running directly behind Henry Howarth. On lap five, a fantastic pass at Druids saw May move ahead, before the pair ran side-by-side during the second half of the lap.

Attempting to make a move around the outside of Paddock Hill bend, May ran wide and lost out to Charlie Ellis. Howarth then encountered an issue, with Caitlin moving ahead of Ellis on lap seven to secure a podium position. Running personal best times, May pulled away from her Am class rivals to claim a maiden podium of the season, while finishing in eighth place overall.

The third and final race of the weekend featured a partial reverse grid which saw Caitlin line up fourth overall, third in the Am class. Despite losing five overall position on lap one, May remained in a class podium position and knew her fight was not with the more experienced Pro class runners. After falling to tenth, May was then under attack from both Archie Johnson and Henry Howarth, with her rivals demoting her to fifth in the Am class on lap four.

Caitlin then enjoyed an excellent battle with Howarth as she aimed to regain positions, before Pro class driver Luke Warr overtook the pair. Setting a series of personal best times which came close to matching her qualifying effort, May was pushing hard for a second podium finish of the weekend. Her enthusiasm however, led to a track limits penalty and although taking the checkered flag in 12th overall, fifth in class, the additional five seconds dropped her to 16th overall, seventh among the Am class drivers.

It was a positive opening weekend of the season for Caitlin who quickly asserted herself as a leading competitor in the Am class. May continued her strong form at Brands Hatch by securing her first podium of the season, while competing well against the more experienced Pro runners. Consistent trips to the rostrum will be the target as the season progresses, with the next round of the AIRTEC Motorsport Fiesta ST240 Championship taking place at Snetterton on the weekend of 18th/19th May.



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