Charlotte Birch makes Milltek Sport Civic Cup debut
Charlotte Birch returned to front-wheel-drive competition for the first time since 2018 as she made her debut in the Milltek Sport Civic Cup at Brands Hatch. The Vinna Sport driver achieved a best result of 18th in a weekend which saw her complete valuable mileage in the Honda Civic EP3.
Charlotte Birch returned to front-wheel-drive competition for the first time since 2018 as she made her debut in the Milltek Sport Civic Cup.
The former Junior Saloon Car Championship podium finisher announced pre-event that she would compete in the highly competitive one-make championship full-time in 2024 and used the weekend to gain familiarity with the new car. The Vinna Sport driver achieved a best result of 18th in a weekend which saw her complete valuable mileage in the Honda Civic EP3.
Qualifying on Saturday morning was held in cold conditions, with a predominantly dry track however it was still damp away from the racing line. Charlotte hoped it would be a session to gain familiarity with the car, however technical issues prevented her from setting a representative lap time. Despite a valiant effort from the Vinna Sport team to rectify the issue, Birch was only able to complete a number of in and out laps during the session.
Following a fantastic job from the team to diagnose and fix the technical issues, Charlotte lined up on the grid for race one in 21st position. With this being the first laps turned in anger in the car at Brands Hatch, Birch took a measured approach at the start and was able to gain two positions on the opening lap.
After passing Rhys Lewis, Charlotte battled with Jack Ruddell and kept in close contact with her rival during the middle portion of the race. This allowed the Vinna Sport driver to improve on her lap times and stay in contention with the midfield runners. Taking the checkered flag in 18th, it was a solid debut race for Charlotte in the Milltek Sport Civic Cup who drove smartly while gaining valuable experience.
Charlotte started the second and final race of the weekend from 18th position courtesy of her result in race one. It was another good start for the Vinna Sport driver who kept the car clean while remaining inside the top-20.
Building up her speed slowly, Charlotte remained in contention with the drivers ahead and although dropped behind Sam Nicolaou on lap five, was able to tuck in behind her rival and set personal best sectors.
Completing race two with no issues, while gaining much needed experience, her primary goal was achieved with Birch ending the fifteen-minute contest in 20th position.
Charlotte should be encouraged by her performance at Brands Hatch in which she was able to gain vital experience ahead of a full time campaign in the Milltek Sport Civic Cup. Birch has now driven in three different championship in the past five weeks and this versatility will stand the young driver in good stead.
Charlotte and Vinna Sport will now look to complete a program of testing over the off-season in preparation for a 2024 assault on the Milltek Sport Civic Cup championship.