Walkinshaw makes mark at Monza in the opening round

Sean Walkinshaw put in an impressive stint in the opening round. Photo: NISMO Global
Sean Walkinshaw put in an impressive stint in the opening round. Photo: NISMO Global
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Sean Walkinshaw produced an outstanding race drive during the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Cup season at Monza in Italy on Sunday.

His drive put the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN entry into a position to challenge for a top six Pro-Am finish.

It’s just a shame we couldn’t hold on to the top six in the Pro-Am in the end

Sean Walkinshaw

Although eventually ending the three-hour championship curtain-raiser in 12th position in Pro-Am, a couple of issues later in the race not helping the team’s challenge, the 22-year-old, along with team-mates Romain Sarazin and Matt Simmons, clearly underlined the competitiveness of their Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.

Facing a tall order in the race after a challenging qualifying run, which resulted in 37th overall on the 56-car grid and 14th in class despite only being roughly one second shy of pole position, the trio of NISMO Athletes each performed strongly.

Walkinshaw was very happy with his own performance during the first hour of competition – a drive in which he gained over 20 positions.

The Chipping Norton driver said: “I was really happy with my stint and it was a really good race to be fair, it’s just a shame we couldn’t hold on to the top six in Pro-Am in the end.

“At the actual start it was like a traffic jam with so many cars into the chicane, so you couldn’t do much, but after that I got into a rhythm early on and made up a lot of places.

“We couldn’t quite hook it up in qualifying, we could possibly have broken into the top 20 overall, but there was so much traffic and it was very hard to get a clear lap in. Qualifying was ridiculously close, though, we were only 1.1 seconds off pole but 37th on the grid.”