Returning 2016 Champion claims first blood at Donington

Class S and A Round 1 Race Report

  • Returning 2016 Champion claims first blood at Donington


Class S and A Round 1 Race Report

Qualifying was a close fought affair with many teams sitting in the top spot during the course of the session. The early pace was set by the BMW’s with M3F’s Mark Flower, RJ Developments Jim and Ryan Gibbs, and Autorevive London pair Chris Mills and David Gardner all within tenths of a second. As the session went on however the times started to tumble, with the Porsche Cayman of Team ALN’s Warren Allen taking pole only for it to be snatched away by the Frugal Racing pair of Ben Simons and Callum McDougall in the Caterham. Allen responded however reclaiming the top spot later in the session. As qualifying went on the session started coming back to the Seats with OMG’s Steve Gales pipping Allen’s Cayman by just one tenth of a second. With the chequered flag out it looked like a formality, but the RJ Developments BMW was not done, claiming pole at the flag to take the top spot from Gales.

In Class A the early pace was set by Britton in the White Rose Racing BMW, this was a lap time that proved too much to topple, and despite best efforts from the field was enough to claim pole. Second place, seemed to be secured by 1 tenth of a second by the Jordan Car Storage duo or Troy Dunlop and William Norman, ahead of Lakeland Motorsport’s Ryan Steel. Steel managed to find space and claim the second place in Class A just as the flag came down, jumping the Jordan Car Storage BMW by half a second. With the top eleven cars covered by just a couple of seconds, it was going to be close.

As the cars lined up on the grid for the race the rain came. From the start it was the Caterham of Frugal Racing that took the early lead closely followed by the Team ALN Porsche, as the RJ Developments BMW struggled to get away. As the two leaders traded lap times, it was the Class A leader of James Britton who was making noises. Up from tenth on the grid to fifth over the opening lap and relishing the wet conditions. Brittons climb through the field was halted by the BMW M3 of Team Meanest’s Ty Boothroyd and Michael Pensavalle as then managed to find a way past on lap four. Also going well at this point was the Lakeland Motorsport Saxo or Ryan Steel up from 12th on the grid to 8th on the opening lap, climbing further to sixth before the pit stop window.

As the pit stop window drew close, a big moment at the back of the circuit caused the Team Meanest BMW to become immobile on the side of the circuit by starkys bridge. This lead to a safety car late in the first half of the race. The cars rounded the Esses with seconds to go, with the leaders past the pit entry, the pit stop window opened! The Mangoes Racing sister Seats jumped into the pits, closely followed by the M3F BMW and the OMG Seat. Pitting behind the safety car was the way to go and the following lap the pit lane was alive with vehicles. Unfortunately for the Mangoes Seats an early stop didn’t allow the cars to come out before the safety car rounded the circuit so the advantage was minimised, the latter vehicles were much luckier with them appearing from the pit lane before the safety car had appeared.   

Once the dust had settled it was the later pit stopping vehicles who had managed to work their way to the front, with the yet-to-stop Porsche Boxster of Team Bacon Butty leading the way, from the Frugal Racing Caterham and a still hard charging WhiteRose Racing BMW. Further down the field the RJ Developments BMW was fighting off an attack from both the Lakeland Saxo, and the Goblin Seat Cupra R of Barrie Culley. Just behind this battle was the Cayman of Team ALN. Both the Saxo and Seat managed to find a way past the BMW, bringing the Porsche along with it. The Team ALN Porsche also managed to pip the Seat of Culley.   

With the track still slippery, the M3F BMW got into strife at coppice corner, and found itself stick on the grass on the side of the circuit. This triggered another safety car period. As the safety car backed up the field and waived past the back markers, the last of the released vehicles had a massive mechanical failure, dropping oil on the wet circuit. This unfortunately brought out the red flag and stopped the session, handing James Britton and the White Rose BMW the overall and Class A win. Frugal Racing also took a Class S win but had to settle for second overall behind the Class A BMW. Ryan Steel and the Lakeland Saxo came home in second in Class A and third overall with the  fast finishing Porsche of Warren Allen and Team ALN coming second in Class S and fourth overall.



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