It’s a DOUBLE podium for Hughes & Milner!
Torrential rain through the night and into the early hours of Saturday morning meant the circuit was extremely wet and puddled, with more rain forecast throughout the day.
Katie Milner took to qualifying first and set a time of 2:06.306, putting the Merlin International car on the 4th row of the grid for race 1.
Mike Jenner Photography
Following the team’s agreed strategy, Milner drove first, using her experience of rolling starts to get straight on the pace. The hour mark came, and she came in for a swift driver change during a safety car period, handing the car over in P6. Alice Hughes did one lap (still under safety car) and then pitted to complete their three required pit-stop driver changes. Hughes continued into her 2-hour stint to finish the race in a solid P2, reeling in the leading car by 4 seconds a lap.
Half an hour of downtime between the two races was plenty of time for the Merlin International team to complete their checks while Milner got ready for Race 2.
The second race was a reversed grid from tenth, meaning Milner started from P8. Another early safety car allowed Milner to utilise the time to get her two pit-stop driver changes out of the way very early on in the race. An almighty solid performance from Milner allowed her to hand the car over to Hughes in P3. By lap 68, Hughes took the lead of the race down the pit straight where the pit wall had “never felt so alive”. A late pit-stop on lap 74 for a fuel splash-and-dash meant the duo fell back to P3 but finished the race in P2.
“I’ve had a great feeling about teaming up with Katie for a while now and the results speak for themselves,” said a delighted Hughes. “The Merlin International team put together a fantastic car which allowed us to showcase our ability.”
“We certainly opened a lot of people’s eyes to both of our capabilities on track. It was so much fun teaming up with Alice and working together,” agrees Milner. “We really pushed each other to be quick and more importantly, consistent.
Peter Scherer Photography
This brand new, quick and consistent team really complements each other. We’re excited to welcome two more female additions to the Merlin International team for the 24hr endurance race at Silverstone on April 27th & 28th.