Cassey WatsonOver the Easter weekend Evesham’s Thames’ backed female driver Cassey Watson helped make history at Oulton Park, when she took part in the first ever Abarth 500 race series in Great Britain.

Cassey had only driven her car in wet conditions prior to the race meeting and with heavy rain forecast for the entire weekend she was feeling very confident. However the forecast couldn’t have been more wrong and the circuit remained dry for the entire time turning the event into a learning experience for the team.

Problems with the timing transponder in qualifying meant Cassey had to pit to fix it which left her in 10th on the grid.

Despite Watson’s limited testing in the Abarth, she was quick to demonstrate her driver-talent early on in the first race (round 1) after managing to claw back six places to take up fourth position during the third lap. However with the track temperature rising the lack of dry testing started to have an effect and she eventually finished eighth, with clear signs that both driver and car have more to give, which bodes well for the season.

“When you look at the drivers who have registered for the GB series, it’s clear to see just how competitive this series will be,” explained Watson.

“Overall, I thought there were a lot of positives to take from Saturday’s race, particularly as it’s only the fourth time I have been out in the car, and the first real opportunity I have been able to drive in dry conditions.”

“I’m pleased that I managed to record a best time of 200.320, which is over a second faster than my best qualifying lap time. But I know that I have more to give and, with a bit more testing and tweaking to the car, I feel that there’s good scope to make up the additional couple of seconds over the course of the next race meeting at Silverstone (17/18 April) to place me in sight of the leading pack,” added Watson.

On Monday, a tyre failure caused by the hard chicanes at Oulton Park forced Watson to limp the car back to finish in 10th place – despite once again managing to break into the top 5 for some of the race and taking another second off her laptimes, after starting 8th on the grid.

Ex BTCC driver Gareth Howell won both inaugural rounds of the Zing Trofeo Abarth 500 GB to currently top the driver championship.