Blancpain GT: Melton racer Craig Dolby thrilled by Misano pace

Craig Dolby is raring to go at Spa EMN-150729-145921002
Craig Dolby is raring to go at Spa EMN-150729-145921002
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Melton racing driver Craig Dolby and his JRM team-mate Sean Walkinshaw continued their resurgent form in the Blancpain Sprint Series at Misano, Italy last weekend.

The pair emerged as the fastest drivers during the course of the weekend and were only denied a certain brace of podium finishes when a wheel nut became jammed during their qualifying race pitstop on Saturday night.

The British pair came into the weekend buoyed by a strong performance at the final Blancpain Endurance round at Nurburgring last month where they qualified third, led for the first hour and ultimately finished eighth.

Dolby qualified the Always Evolving Motorsport-run Replay XD Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in a magnificent second. And the 27-year-old was in imperious form when Saturday night’s floodlit qualifying race got underway as he matched the pace of the leading Ferrari for his entire stint.

He was just 0.3secs off P1 when he handed over to Walkinshaw, but the team’s podium hopes were dashed when the front-left wheel nut got jammed.

The delay dropped Walkinshaw to 15th in the pits, but Walkinshaw tore through the field, overtaking six cars in the closing 25 minutes to secure ninth place finish.

Overtaking was always going to be a challenge on a tight circuit during Sunday’s main race, but Dolby and Walkinshaw managed to climb to a stunning fifth at the end of the hour-long race. They also clocked fastest laps time in both races.

Dolby believes they can go even better at the Blancpain Sprint series finale at Zandvoort, in the Netherlands, this weekend.

He said: “What we’ve done in the last two Blancpain rounds has proven what the car is really capable of at two circuits where we didn’t expect to go too well.

“We carved out a 12-second lead at Nurburgring and qualified on the front row at Misano.

“I think we’ve shocked a lot of people and left a few in the paddock scratching their heads.

“It would be fantastic to finish the season with a podium and there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t do that.”