08/04/2015

KNAPP CONFIDENT AFTER BRANDS HATCH MASTERS CUP WIN

While all eyes focused on Ant Whorton-Eales’s and Ashley Sutton’s race for the flag in Brands Hatch’s Renault UK Clio Cup race last Easter Sunday there was high drama behind as a late twist enabled Team Cooksport’s Paul Knapp to steal the Master Cup honours...
  • Clio Cup Paul-Knapp.jpg

Ben Seyfried looked to be on course to finish as the highest-placed runner in the class for the over-38s. With just over a lap to go he was seven seconds clear of Knapp who had become embroiled in a battle with JamSport’s George Jackson.

But then came the moment that decided otherwise as Seyfried was sent spinning in a collision with, of all people, his SV Racing team-mate Jack Mitchell.

As he recovered Knapp drove past for the win, although he admitted: “I didn’t know I’d won until I got to parc ferme and I was handed the cap to wear on the podium!

“Sure I didn’t have Ben’s pace on Sunday and he should have won but to come first you have to finish. In my eyes I deserve the win.”

The fact Knapp had only completed his deal to race with Cooksport in the week leading up to Brands – meaning he went into the event with minimal testing – made his class win even sweeter.

He added: “I think things will be different at Donington. I started to feel at home in the car on Sunday – it had taken me the two test sessions on Friday just to get the seating position right – and at Donington I’m aiming to qualify inside the top seven outright.

“On fastest lap times at Brands I was only seven tenths of a second off the fastest (set by Ash Hand) and I think Ben and I are going to have some good battles this year. I’m very optimistic for the rest of the season and the team thinks I could be on for a top five in the outright championship.”

Seyfried would clearly relish an on-track battle with Knapp. “I’ve not raced him before – at Brands we were a bit apart on track – but I’d look forward to that,” he said.

“Brands Hatch was obviously highs and lows for me. I had a great qualifying in slippery conditions and in the second race was looking really good.

“I was always going for the overall result but it’s disappointing to find out I would have been on the podium in my first Clio Cup race up until the moment with my team-mate. We’ve chatted about it and are OK now but obviously it also meant I lost points and so did he because of his time penalty afterwards and of course it also cost the team points.”