Midlothian based racing driver Colin Noble kept his Michelin Le Mans Cup and European Le Mans Series title hopes alive at the weekend.
The 22-year old was in action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where he recorded a second-place finish in Le Mans Cup and a fourth-place finish in the 4 Hours of Barcelona.
The first encounter for BRDC member Noble and his teammate Tony Wells on Saturday was the two-hour Le Mans Cup race. The pair started fourth on the grid in the 20-car class in the #7 Merit Holdings-backed Norma M30 after Wells’ strong performance in qualifying.
He then took the start, and fell to fourth at the first corner, but quickly recovered back to third in the opening 15 minutes. By staying out of trouble and staying consistent in the 30+ degree heat trackside, he handed over the car to Noble in a strong position.
The young Scotsman then took the wheel, emerging from the pit stop in third and proceeded to reel in the leaders and conserve tyres as best he could, which was key towards the end of the stint.
He took second as a result of a penalty handed out to the lead car towards the end of the race, and crossed the line 16 seconds behind the eventual winner.
With a second-place finish, Noble is still very much in the title hunt and now sits third in the points standings with two races remaining at Spa and Portimao.
“It was a good race, it was hard as a driver because of the heat which caused a drop off in tyre grip,” said Colin. “The pace was great, we were just unlucky to get caught out by full-course yellows. We were both amongst the quickest during our stints. We’re happy with it as we scored valuable points in the championship.”
Later in the day he and Tony were then back behind the wheel for the four-hour European Le Mans Series into-the-night race, presenting Noble with his first chance to drive a sports prototype under floodlights.
Noble started the race sixth on the grid in LMP3, and during his first stint in the race climbed as high as second by lap 35, despite the car taking a knock from another car at the start which ripped off a front dive-plane.
Wells then took over on Lap 40 and maintained a strong position throughout the middle portion of the race which was interrupted by a safety car period. When Noble climbed back in on Lap 91 he rejoined the race fifth, and spend the final portion of the race hunting down the two cars ahead.
A podium finish was in sight, though he had to serve a drive-through penalty which cost him valuable time.
Determined to make up the lost ground, Noble went on a late charge and in the dying moments of the race took fourth.
By finishing fourth, Noble is sixth in the points standings, 30 points off the lead, but with 78 points still up for grabs.
“The end of that race was frantic trying to get P4 as I knew we had the pace,” he said.
“My first stint was ok, but I lost a dive plane, we would have been as quick as anyone on track but I got held up behind a Ligier.
“Tony got in and during his stint he didn’t have great tyres, when he put a new set on he began to maintain the gap.
“When I got in at the end the car felt quick, but unfortunately we got a drive-through which cost us 20-30 seconds. I made the time back up and got fourth back.
“That was my first ever stint in the dark and I enjoyed it.”