RACING TRACK TORQUE TRIUMPH IN FUN CUP THRILLER
BRANDS HATCH: BRSCC BY PETER SCHERER
The opening round of this year’s Fun Cup Championship was more of a four-hour sprint than an endurance race.
Henry Dawes and Chris Hart’s Track Torque/2 Rent Dominoes car got the verdict, by only 0.187 seconds from Eco Racing’s Paul Abraham, Tom Mills and Paul Turner, after both had been chasing Anthony Reid’s PW Racing car. But with seven minutes to go Reid was given a stop-go penalty for going over his permitted driving time.
It was the closing minutes where the real drama started. Eco Racing led, while Zoe Wenham’s Apollo Motorsport car was reeled in, losing out to JPR Uvio’s Graham Roberts, Reid and Hart.
Turner’s defence cracked and all three got by before the final pitstop window. Reid had piled the pressure on Roberts but he held out, and as Farquini Deott (in for Roberts) took over the lead car he held off Reid’s challenges too until they exited Paddock on the 196th lap.
Dawes and Abrahams demoted the former leader too and closed in on Reid, before a late safety car intervention. But as the green flag was flying Reid received his stop-go penalty, which left Dawes to successfully defend the lead from Abraham for the final seven minutes. Guy Wenham was third for Apollo, with JPR Uvio, Team Honeywell and Lane Roofing completing the top six.
All four Caterham Supersport races featured lead duels from lights to flag. Henry Heaton and Christian Szaruta swapped and changed for much of race one, while Philip Jenkins did his best to split them. Heaton gradually edged clear after regaining the lead into Paddock on the 17th lap, leaving Szaruta to keep Jenkins at bay for second.
Jack Brown led a three-car break in the second race, from Chris Hutchinson and Richard Ainscough. The fight for second allowed Brown to get clear, leaving his rivals to share a number of exchanges before Hutchinson claimed second. Ainscough was excluded from third for running without a hood stick, which handed the final podium place to Max Mcdonagh.
Brown and Heaton were paired together for race three and spent most of it just inches apart. Both had a share of the lead and still managed to break clear of an eight-car battle for third.
Brown held sway for the last 12 laps but still couldn’t shake off Heaton. Ainscough stormed through from the back of the grid to secure third, with Mcdonagh left to head home the huge train for fourth.
After setting the early pace in race four, Szaruta was hauled in by the chasing pack. Despite losing his advantage to William Smith, he regained it a few laps later, only for a penultimate lap error at Paddock to hand Smith the win. Szaruta just held onto second from Mike Evans, Andrew West and Chris Hutchinson, who almost dead-heated for third. Daniel Quintero and Rui Ferreira had one win apiece in Caterham Roadsport. Russ Olivant had led from Clearways on the opening lap of race one, but Quintero had just made it into second when the safety car came out. He hit the front for the last six laps, with Olivant in his wheeltracks at the flag, as David Bevan, Rob Watts and Ferreira finished nose-to-tail for third.
In race two, Ferreira pursued the duelling Olivant and Quintero. He split the pair on lap nine and had just nosed into the lead as the safety car appeared. They stayed wheel-to-wheel for the remaining distance, while Olivant looked on from third.
Both Caterham Tracksport races featured race-long battles between Anthony Barnes and Alistair Calvert. In the first, Barnes held on to lead throughout, consolidating his advantage in the final laps as Damian Milkins took a distant third.
Calvert had his share of the lead in race two and led the final lap before losing out in the sprint to the line as Barnes took win number two. Joe Draper broke away from a huge scrap to secure third from Daniel Bremner.
Stephen Dailly led most of the first BMW Compact race, but after running side-by-side from Surtees to Paddock on the 12th lap, Richard Morris made the decisive move, heading Dailly and Declan Mcdonnell to the flag.
Mcdonnell headed the second race from the opening lap, with Ian Jones and Joe Wiggin completing the podium after Ben Pearson slowed. Dailly finally got a win in race three, from Miles and ex-gt racer James Gornall.
Steve Jones’ Mini Cooper S led for the entirety of the HRDC Academy/ A-series Challenge. Mike Koskela was closing towards the end, after retaking Julian Crossley, but he hit a backmarker on the last lap and fell back to third and was later excluded.
It was lights-to-flag win for Steve Jones’ Cooper MKXII in the Stuart Lewis-evans Trophy 500cc F3 race. Xavier Kingsland was second, with Darrell Woods picking up the final podium place after Andrew Turner barrel rolled at Paddock and brought out the red flags.
Gavin Watson’s Alfa Romeo won the HRDC Touring Greats, well clear of the Naismiths’ Austin Westminster.