Motorsport: Audi drivers lament late mistake
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Evans: “I was just gutted, I couldn't say sorry enough”
Jamec Pem Audi pilot Jaxon Evans has lamented a mistake in the late phase of yesterday's Highlands 501 that cost him and co-driver Tim Miles the 2017 CAMS Australian Endurance Championship.
Evans sat in second as the end of the race approached; enough to seal the championship crown. But while swapping lap records with race leader Dominic Storey and the third-placed Tony D'Alberto, the Kiwi ran wide through the Southern Loop and clipped the outside wall early in the turn.
He and Miles ended the season with 598 points; 62 less than the 660 points of title winners Storey and Peter Hackett.
“I was comfortable in the car and I was just sort of pushing on, maybe a bit too hard in hindsight. I made a bit of a mistake coming out of the bus stop heading into the loop, and unfortunately lost the rear,” Evans told Driven.
“Once I was trying to gather it up I was off the racing line and out in all the marbles, and I made contact with the fence.”
After regathering himself, Evans pressed on only for his left-rear wheel to crack and come completely off at the next corner. The three-wheeled Audi sat stationary next to the bridge for several laps while the race was under the control of the safety car; losing several laps in the process.
Evans then spent a lengthy period in pit lane as his team tried to fix suspension damage on both the left front and left-rear corner. They managed to mend the issues, but couldn't get the car restarted and subsequently retired from proceedings.
“When I got on the radio to the guys I thought it was a lot worse than what it really was. Once I got back into pit lane they got straight into work and actually got the car rolling and were pushing me back out into pit lane. And then unfortunately the car wouldn't fire.
“So we knew if we could get back out and just circulate, we would've maybe been able to clinch the championship. But it just wasn't to be.
“I was just gutted. I couldn't say sorry enough. It's just a sour way to end the whole year. More so gutted for Tim, he's done an awesome job all year, and the team. They've given me an opportunity to go out and win races in the car and it's been faultless.
“I can't thank them enough, and I'm just sorry that I couldn't end up grabbing the championship for them.”
With attention now turning to 2017, Evans is uncertain whether he will return to the series amid a plan to launch another attack on the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia series.
“I think obviously everyone wants to grab that championship. All things depending, maybe we'll be back next year. Not sure at this stage, we've got some other plans for doing Carrera Cup again.
“But I'd love to come back, any opportunity to drive one of these cars at tracks like this is pretty special. While it's not the result we wanted, we'll just learn from it and move on.”