Liz HallidayA stirring performance helped Liz Halliday overcome damaged rear bodywork, which caused two additional pit-stops, to take 2-Eleven class honours in the penultimate round of this year’s Lotus Cup UK championship at Donington Park last weekend (October 6/7).

The 90-minute enduro that ran into darkness always looked likely to suit the most successful female driver in American Le Mans Series history, and so it proved as she displayed much experience and speed during her feisty fight back.

Halliday’s stunning qualifying lap hinted at what was to come after taking third overall and class pole by an impressive 1.5 seconds in her John Danby Racing-run Lotus 2-Eleven.

That pace was also evident over the opening laps of Sunday’s contest as the professional dual sportswoman built a healthy advantage over her pursuers. But with less than 30 minutes on the clock the complexion of her race changed dramatically when the car’s rear-end was damaged, which began to badly affect its handling.

With the problem only worsening and her lap times suffering as a result, Liz elected to make her mandatory fuel stop early in the hope that the team could address the problem. Despite the JDR mechanics working quickly to rectify the damage during the short pit window, Halliday re-joined knowing that an additional pit-stop would probably be required.

Flat-out was now the only way to ensure a strong result and Halliday duly set about doing just that while the diffuser and undertray held together. Ultimately she would give away an additional two stops to her rivals over the 90-minute race as the full extent of the issue became apparent.

But despite the various dramas, with just a handful of laps remaining Halliday had clawed her way back up to third in class, a commendable result given the circumstances. Then, out of nowhere, an even more unlikely turn of events helped her assume the lead when both cars ahead hit trouble.

The result wasn’t assured though as the Lotus, all-but out of fuel due to the unscheduled early pit-stop, began to splutter on the final lap. Fortunately there was just enough in the tank for Liz to coast over the line and secure her maiden victory in the 2-Eleven class.

Liz Halliday: “What a crazy race! There were so many twists and turns throughout so it’s a relief, as well as a surprise, to have taken the win. But I don’t think this was a fluke. Yes, we got some luck at the end with the two leaders retiring and the car just making it around, but we were on pole by a big margin and able to comfortably build an advantage at the start before the diffuser began to badly affect the car’s handling. It generates a lot of the rear grip so losing that has a big impact on performance. The team worked very hard at each stop to find a lasting solution, and they did very well to eventually figure out a way to hold it all together through to the end. I am extremely proud of the job they’ve done to develop the car into a class winner over the season and hopefully we can repeat the result, if not the manner of it, at Snetterton!”

The final round of this year’s championship takes place at Snetterton on October 28.

For more information on Liz Halliday, please visit www.lizhalliday.com.