AND THE WIN­NERS ARE... ROLLCENTRE GIVES ITS BMW A DOU­BLE

SIL­VER­STONE: CREVEN­TIC 24 HOURS BY PETER SCHERER

Motor Sport News - - BTCC Report: Brands Hatch - Photos: Ol­lie Read

The Team ABBA with Rollcentre Rac­ing BMW M3 V8 of Richard Neary, Martin Short, Darren Cox and Charles Lamb came from last on the grid to take vic­tory in the re­mod­elled 24 Hours of Sil­ver­stone af­ter the Bleeke­molen SEAT Leon suf­fered en­gine fail­ure hav­ing led for 15 hours.

Rollcentre’s win marks the sec­ond for its BMW M3, which also tri­umphed in the 2012 run­ning of this race when it was the Brit­car 24 Hours.

Phil Quaife’s Memac Ogilvy Duel Rac­ing SEAT Leon had roared into the lead at the start, but once Se­bas­ti­aan Bleeke­molen had ousted pole­man Bob Her­ber’s JR Mo­tor­sport BMW E90 M3, the Bri­tish driver’s ad­van­tage was quickly re­duced.

They had a num­ber of ex­changes and, at the end first hour, Bleeke­molen had a 2.78-sec­ond lead over Quaife, with Her­ber third.

The first driver changes fol­lowed into the sec­ond hour. Dave Robin­son, in the Saxon Mo­tor­sport BMW 135D took the lead from Melvin de Groot in the Bleeke­molen car. They were in front of Ramzi Moutran’s Memac Ogilvy en­try and Martin Lant­ing for JR Mo­tor­sport.

Al­though the lead four con­tin­ued to change places they had had eased clear of the chasers, which af­ter three hours were headed by the Rollcentre BMW M3 of Neary and Cox. As dark­ness fell there was rain in the air and a num­ber of crews made early stops for wets.

The Bleeke­molen car be­gan to make the break at the head of the field and, six hours in, Team Bleeke­molen driver Pim van Riet was two laps up on Sarah Bovy’s Team Al­tran Peu­geot 208 GTI with the Red Camel Jor­dan SEAT of Ivo Breuk­ers third and Neary fourth in the Rollcentre car af­ter a ster­ling stint from Martin Short.

The Memac Ogilvy SEAT was still in fifth but los­ing ground, while Martin van den Berge’s NKPP SEAT com­pleted the top six.

De­spite the heavy rain and ap­palling vis­i­bil­ity, Bleeke­molen’s lead in­creased to three laps in the early hours of the morn­ing over Red Camel Jor­dans, with NKPP and Team ABBA Rollcentre con­test­ing third. The Saxon team that led ear­lier had lost time with a gear­box change and the lack of trac­tion con­trol.

By the half­way point Rollcentre was into third, but two laps adrift of sec­ond-placed Red Camel, only to usurp them within the next hour.

As the rain stopped around 0630hrs, Short was the first to go for slicks. “I was 10 sec­onds slower un­til I got the tyres warm, then I knew it was the right de­ci­sion,” he said af­ter con­sol­i­dat­ing sec­ond place.

NKPP Rac­ing had been hold­ing a clear fourth but when Harry Hilders went off at Abbey the car was out, which promoted early leader Memac Ogilvy to fourth. The Team Al­tran Peu­geot had also lost fourth ear­lier af­ter be­ing held in the pit­lane over a noise prob­lem.

There was fur­ther drama when, hav­ing led for 15 hours, van Riet came around Club Cor­ner with smoke pour­ing from the Bleeke­molen SEAT, forc­ing him to pull off. That handed the lead to Neary in the Rollcentre BMW, four laps up on Bert de Heus’ Red Camel SEAT.

Charles Lamb had his first stint in the lead car with five hours to go, but de Heus was back to two laps down. Quaife was third for Memac Ogilvy. The lead grew fur­ther af­ter Rik Breuk­ers had to serve a cou­ple of penal­ties for Red Camel, which brought Quaife closer to snatch­ing a late sec­ond place. Breuk­ers started to have turbo boost prob­lems too with a cou­ple of hours left, but still had time in hand over Moutran in the Me­mec Ogilvy SEAT.

A prob­lem-free fi­nal hour gave the Rollcentre squad vic­tory by three laps at the flag, with Cox given the priv­i­lege of cross­ing the fin­ish line. “We topped up with half a litre of oil and didn’t even change the brake pads, bril­liant,” said Neary as they cel­e­brated the win.

The Red Camel Jor­dan SEAT trio of Ivo Breuk­ers/rik Breuk­ers/bert van Heus re­tained sec­ond and won the TCR class with two laps to spare over the Memac Ogilvy SEAT of Quaife and Ramzi, Na­bil and Sami Moutran.

De­spite their ear­lier noise prob­lems the Al­tran Peu­geot of Guil­laume Ro­main/thierry Blaise/bradley Philpot/sarah Bovy was fourth.

Lawrence Tom­lin­son gave the new Ginetta G57 a dou­ble win in the Dun­lop Pro­to­types. Alex Ka­pa­dia’s Rad­i­cal SR8 led race one un­til the pit­stops, from where Tom­lin­son led the way with team­mate Paul White sec­ond, af­ter oust­ing Craig Dolby’s Riley in the clos­ing laps.

Dolby led the sec­ond race ini­tially, be­fore it be­came a duel be­tween Ka­pa­dia and Tom­lin­son. While Tom­lin­son took the vic­tory spoils, Michael Mune­mann/ Chris Hoy’s Ginetta claimed sec­ond, with White and Dolby both de­mot­ing Paul Spencer/ka­pa­dia late on.

While Danny Killeen and Paul Thacker both had com­fort­able wins in the Cater­ham In­ter Se­ries, there was plenty of ac­tion be­hind. Thacker fol­lowed Killeen at a dis­tance in race one, with Andy West top­ping a four-car fight for third on the last lap.

With Paul O’reilly a se­cure sec­ond to Thacker early on in race two, it was an­other four-car bat­tle for third. West just held on by inches as Si­mon Cas­sidy and John White­house chased hard.

Hav­ing led the first half of the HRDC Coys Tro­phy race, John Spiers spun at the Vale, shortly af­ter be­ing passed by Mike Whi­taker’s sim­i­lar TVR Grif­fith. But Whi­taker then had a prob­lem with his rear sus­pen­sion. Spiers took his first win, with Whi­taker limp­ing home sec­ond, from the clos­ing Lis­ter Chevro­let of Roberto Gior­danelli.

KIRKISTOWN: 500MRCI BY RICHARD YOUNG

Over the past cou­ple of sea­sons, Jake Byrne has be­come pretty familiar with the Mo­tor­sport Ire­land Young Driver Van Diemen For­mula Ford 1600.

In the hands of prize drive win­ners such as Niall Mur­ray and Jonny Mc­mul­lan, the green and yel­low ma­chine has been part of the op­po­si­tion to Byrne’s ef­forts in his fam­ily-run Ray, but at Kirkistown last Satur­day, Byrne be­gan his own prize drive year and did so in style with a win in dis­tinctly un­friendly con­di­tions.

Morn­ing qual­i­fy­ing had been al­most dry and Alan David­son grabbed pole with Byrne along­side, but the rain had come by the time the first FF1600 race got un­der­way and Byrne wasted no time in get­ting his nose ahead. His task was made eas­ier on lap three when James Roe tan­gled with David­son at Fish­er­mans, the pair end­ing up un­dam­aged but im­mov­able at trackside. Noel Robin­son and Jor­dan Dempsey brought their Van Diemens home in the podium po­si­tions.

Con­di­tions were even worse for race two, but none of this de­terred Noel Robin­son, who re­turned to win­ning ways to lead David­son over the line with Byrne third. Not a sur­prise re­sult per­haps, but an as­ton­ish­ing race – if only be­cause of the mon­soon con­di­tions at the time. All 17 race starters fin­ished un­dam­aged.

A first Kirkistown visit by some of the His­toric FF2000 brigade pro­vided two en­ter­tain­ing races. In race one vic­tory went to Matt Dunne’s Royale RP27 af­ter the sim­i­lar car of Davy Wal­ton re­versed out of the lead and into the tyre bar­rier at the Chi­cane. Fraser Collins’ Lola T580 and Iain Row­ley’s unique Pen­fold com­pleted the podium. Dunne led the sec­ond race for a while too, be­fore a hard-charg­ing Tom Smith ar­rived from the back of the grid and swept by. Dunne placed sec­ond de­spite a last-lap lunge from Collins, which sent him into the tyres at the Hair­pin. Third spot went to Stephen Gar­diner’s Rey­nard in­stead.

A large field of Fi­es­tas pro­vided their usual fre­netic ac­tion, al­though the first race ended af­ter just six laps when red flags flew af­ter cars be­came stranded in the trackside mud. Adrian Fin­negan was lead­ing new­comer Daniel Con­lon at the time, while wa­ter polo star Eo­rann O’neill took third. Not sur­pris­ingly in the con­di­tions she also set fastest lap.

Fin­negan won the sec­ond race too, but not be­fore it had been red flagged and restarted fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent at the hair­pin. Jonny Forsyth and Con­lon took the places. How­ever, some of the mid­field an­tics in zero vis­i­bil­ity were hard to credit. Of­fi­cial­dom will be watch­ing in fu­ture.

Dan Pol­ley took the main For­mula Vee en­counter in Luke O’hara’s low­line Sheane, beat­ing early leader Colm Black­burn across the line by less than a sec­ond. James Jones took third in his Sheane.

The ear­lier race for B and C cham­pi­onship hon­ours fea­tured Joe Power vic­to­ri­ous in his Lea­s­t­one ahead of the Sheanes of Anthony Cross and Shane Mcbride.

Road­sports races at Kirkistown have been dom­i­nated of late by Jim Larkham’s Rad­i­cal, and he led both en­coun­ters this time, but on both oc­ca­sions con­di­tions caught him out and oth­ers ben­e­fited. Race one went to Paul Conn’s Crossle 47S ahead of the sim­i­lar car of John Ben­son, with Mark Fran­cis third in his one-litre Lo­cost. Race two was much wet­ter. Paul Thomp­son’s one-litre Stryker emerged from the gloom ahead of Fran­cis, with Larkham a soggy third.

Max Dren­nan was vic­to­ri­ous ahead of Alan Mackay in the two con­cur­rent races for Global Lights.

Big grid started the first Creven­tic UK race

Rollcentre’s BMW M3 takes the flag

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