Rooke gives a masterclass
Organiser: BARC/ LHMC When: July 16/17 Starters: 128
Dan Rooke asked his father Terry the moment he climbed out of his Citroen DS3 Supercar in Belgium last weekend: “Did we make it into the 37s?”.
The rising star had just gone unbeaten at the fifth round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship through the whole event; the three qualifying sessions, semifinal and final, and was feeling so comfortable on a circuit that he had never seen before that rather than consolidate his lead in the six-lap finale, Rooke was trying to better his fastest lap of the weekend.
Incidentally, the sub-38s mark hadn’t been beaten but it mattered little, Rooke headed home five-time British champion Julian Godfrey and Ollie O’donovan, the Irish driver reverting to his Ford Focus over the Ford Fiesta he has been campaigning recently in the European Rallycross Championship.
O’donovan had finished second to Rooke at the Intermediate Classification but it was Godfrey who took the upper hand over O’donovan in the first semi-final to join Rooke on the front row for the final. As the lights went green, Rooke made the best start with Godfrey tucking into second and O’donovan slotting into third place.
As the leading pair pulled a margin at the head of the field, O’donovan took his joker lap on the fourth tour and dropped behind Pat Doran. Rooke, Godfrey and Doran all saved their compulsory joker until the final lap, Doran dropping back behind O’donovan to finish fourth while Rooke won his second round of the year.
“The tight twisty nature of this track suited me, it’s very technical,” said Rooke. “I didn’t know what to expect coming here at all. I just kept my head down and pushed hard all weekend.”
Belgian drivers Jos Jansen and Johnny Verkurigen rounded out the list of final finishers. The result extends Rooke’s lead over Godfrey in the title race to 21 points.
Tony Lynch won the Supernational final ahead of Guy Corner and Paige Bellerby.
Kris Hudson won the BMW Mini final, Graham Rumsey won in Hot Hatch and Aiden Hills headed the Swift Sport final. Paul Coney was top
1 Dan Rooke (Citroen DS3) 3m55.864s; 2 Julian Godfrey (Ford Fiesta) +0.701s; 3 Ollie O’donovan (Ford Focus) +6.402s; 4 Pat Doran (Citroen C4) +7.400s; 5 Jos Jansen (Ford Fiesta) +8.189s; 6 Johnny Verkuringen (Subaru Impreza) +14.090s.
1 Tony Lynch (Ford Ka) 4m16.145s; 2 Guy Corner (Peugeot 206) +8.805s; 3 Paige Bellerby (Lotus Exige); 4 Mike Howlin (Ford Fiesta); 5 Brian Jukes (Audi TT); 6 Vincent Bristow (BMW E36). BMW Mini (6 laps) 1 Kris Hudson 4m27.073s; 2 Keifer Hudson +6.957s; 3 David Bell; 4 Andrew Hawkes; 5 Martin Hawkes; 6 Frankie Helliwell.
1 Graham Rumsey (Citroen Saxo) 4m43.432s; 2 Tomasz Wielgosz (Peugeot 106) +6.679s; 3 Mark Henrey (Alfa Romeo 147); 4 Michael Labedz (Citroen Saxo).
1 Peter Vingerhoets (Peugeot 206) 4m13.952s; 2 Davy Van Den Branden (Citroen DS3) +3.732s; 3 Gerji de Brouwer (Suzuki Swift); 4 Paul Coney (Vauxhall Corsa); 5 Dennis Remans (Ford Fiesta); 6 Tristan Ovenden (Suzuki Swift). Suzuki Swift (6 laps)