Will Burns has been left battered and bruised after a massive 100mph incident capped off the toughest meeting of his maiden Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season so far at Knockhill this past weekend (12/13 August).
Following one of the best moments of his racing career last time out at Snetterton when he stepped onto the BTCC podium for the first time after winning the Jack Sears Trophy, Burns would suffer one of his worst in Scotland as he encountered a high-speed brake failure.
The Weston-Super-Mare racer headed north with a superb record of eight podium finishes in his previous ten races at Knockhill in the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup, however there were lower hopes for this visit with the circuit historically being one of the worst for his Volkswagen CC.
There was some cause for optimism for Burns on Saturday as he enjoyed some positive running in wet conditions during the opening free practice session, however changing weather throughout the day would present a challenge for Burns and the rest of the Team HARD squad.
A drying circuit in qualifying meant the session would boil down to a frenetic last few minutes, with Burns losing out in the lottery as he was one of the first drivers to take the chequered flag, meaning he had to watch on as others improved their times and pushed him down to P26.
The opening race on Sunday wouldn’t go his way either as a lack of pace and traction in his Auto Aid/RCIB Insurance Racing machine meant he struggled to make an impact in front of a bumper Scottish crowd, eventually taking the chequered flag in a lowly P29.
Burns’ best result would come in the second race of the day as the Cases Ltd, Eurocams and Weston College supported driver benefitted from a number of drivers in front hitting trouble to climb through the order to twentieth place at the finish.
The 27 year old would initially charge to sixteenth position on the opening lap of race three, before contact from a rival sent him across the gravel. Emerging at the back of the field, Burns would pick his way up to 26th place before disaster struck.
Approaching the final hairpin, Burns would receive no response as he hit the brake pedal. Immediately swerving left to avoid his team-mate in-front, he was a passenger from there as he hit the barriers and came to an immediate and painful halt.
Fortunately, Burns was able to walk away with only minor bruising, but with the car sustaining extensive front-end damage the team are in a race against time to get it back on track for the next rounds at Rockingham in Corby next weekend (26/27 August).
Will Burns: “After a really good Snetterton weekend where I was on a massive high, this is our car’s bogey circuit and while we knew as a team we’d have a tough weekend, it’s been much harder than we anticipated and ended in the one of the worst ways imaginable for me.
“The brakes failed on the car at one of the fastest points of the circuit and ended up causing substantial damage to the car. The pain on my body will go away, but this will cause a big pain financially and is likely to put us on the backfoot for the rest of the season.
“I tried to make the best of a bad situation all weekend and kept pushing, so I’m proud of myself for that, and we’re confident that our car will be much stronger in the final three rounds, so hopefully we be back on the grid at Rockingham in a couple of weeks.”