VIDEO NEWS: Liam shows driving potential
PUBLISHED: 15:05 26 April 2007 | UPDATED: 20:01 01 June 2010
ROUNDS three and four of the Blaupunkt SEAT Cupra Championship were eventful ones for Wisbech s Liam McMillan but once again, the Wisbech driver showed phenomenal potential and was unlucky not to pick up two top-six finishes. The 17-year-old impressed thr
ROUNDS three and four of the Blaupunkt SEAT Cupra Championship were eventful ones for Wisbech's Liam McMillan but once again, the Wisbech driver showed phenomenal potential and was unlucky not to pick up two top-six finishes.
The 17-year-old impressed throughout the weekend. In the spotlight of live television cameras, McMillan scored championship points in Sunday's first race and only a dramatic high-speed crash robbed him of a top-five finish in the second race.
McMillan and his 300bhp, 165mph Maxtreme SEAT Leon Cupra were very competitive in Saturday's qualifying and he posted times that were less than half-a-second behind second place on the grid.
But Sunday's third-round race began badly and starting from 10th, McMillan was involved in a first lap collision with Tim Bevan at the right-hander at Yentwood and both Carl Breeze and Daniel Welch sustained damage that ended their races.
McMillan was able to continue and moved up to sixth as the safety car was deployed. At the front of the field, Alan Blencowe led at the end of the opening lap, ahead of Gareth Nixon, Jonathan Adam and Oli Wilkinson.
Having sustained damage to the front of his car, McMillan bravely battled with drag and understeer to fend off the challenge of Neil Waterworth.
As the Wisbech youngster lost time to the leaders, Waterworth forced his way through and in a thrilling duel, McMillan resisted the challenge of seventh-placed Fulvio Mussi.
But the pressure finally told and Colchester-based Mussi capitalised on a mistake from McMillan who went wide at Tarzan.
Blencowe pushed on from the front and took the chequered flag ahead of Nixon and Adam and 35 seconds ahead of McMillan who held onto seventh place and five championship points.
Blencowe had a nightmare start to the round four race when gear selection problems on the start line forced him to drop from second to the back of the grid.
Waterworth made a flying start to go from sixth and take the lead going into the flat-out turn one and McMillan, in ninth place on the grid, once again was unlucky to suffer from a first-lap crash.
A collision with Welch not only dropped the Wisbech driver down to the back of the field but also damaged his car's steering.
After an investigation, Waterworth was served with a drive-through penalty for a false start that dropped him to ninth and Adam took advantage to lead the field ahead of Nixon and Breeze.
Wilkinson was charging through the field and got up to the rear bumper of Breeze but a coming-together of the two CMS Motorsport team-mates at Deene hairpin on lap nine, pushed Wilkinson into the tyre wall and crippled Breeze's car.
McMillan, meanwhile, stormed back into the race and recovered superbly to get back into sixth but the joy was short-lived when the youngster was robbed of a superb top-six finish on the very last lap.
As he made a move for fifth place, McMillan's car was hit by another car and the youngster ended the weekend in spectacular style, smashing into the barriers and sustaining damage that cruelly ended his race.
Adam held his lead to win and set a fastest lap with Nixon in second and Mussi third. Blencowe recovered well to finish fourth.
LIAM said: "The more I drive the car the more confident I am, so overall the race weekend at Rockingham was very good.
"I was very pleased with the first race, because I was able to challenge for a top six position and was one of the fastest drivers through the speed trap.
To score two sevenths and a tenth place finish in the opening three rounds of a new championship is quite good."
He added: "We were going well in the second race as well, until I got hit off the track and into the crash barriers. It was quite a big impact, as I hit the wall head on.
"We will try our best to get it fixed in time for the next race but it won't be easy, as we have less than two weeks to repair it."
Liam's father Paul was full of praise. He said: "He was desperately unlucky not to get into the top six in the second race.
"He was superb all weekend and his recovery to get back into contention with a damaged car in the second race was fantastic. As he went for fifth place another car hit him and spun him out - he didn't see it coming and there was nothing he could do to avoid the crash.
"We were over the moon with the result of the first race. He held off the challenge of Fulvio Mussi who is a very experienced driver, but in the end Liam was struggling with his front tyres and Mussi got through."
Looking ahead to the next round at Thruxton on May 5 and 6, Paul said: "That will be a tough round for Liam. It is a very fast track and if he gets into the top 10 it will be a very good result.
"The important thing is that he gets laps under his belt at the tough tracks this season and picks up as much experience as possible.