OULTON PARK: MSVR BY IAN SOWMAN
James Clink got out of jail with the help of two safety car periods and recovered to win the fifth Trackday Trophy race of the season despite spinning his Renault Clio to the back of the pack on the first lap.
Clink had started sixth, but emerged on the approach to Cascades in third only for a cold-tyre inflicted spin to put him into the gravel. He made his escape, but not before the safety car had been scrambled, which allowed him to catch back up to the pack.
Another caution period was required on lap four after Neil House (Clio) spun at the top of Clay Hill and involved David Scarborough (Lotus Elise) in his incident. The last lap under the safety car coincided with the opening of the pitstop window and Clink, already back up to 17th, took advantage. Other leading contenders spread their mandatory stops over the following racing laps, so by the time they were completed Clink cycled through on top.
“I dived in as soon as I could,” he said. “The team on the pit wall were telling me where I was and when I saw I was first I couldn’t believe it.”
For a time it appeared that Glen Broster (Ginetta GT5) may threaten Clink’s victory, but he ultimately finished a distant second. The pole position Mini of Keith Gibbs and Martin Amery completed a trio of class winners on the podium.
Polesitter Alistair Stenhouse (BMW E36) built up a lead after passing Mark Flower’s E46 M3 at Old Hall on lap two of the Trackday Championship encounter, which he maintained after the mandatory stops. Steve Darbey had briefly taken over in front until Flower reeled him in, although it took several laps for the decisive move to come at Cascades. A late-race shakeup at Shell allowed Kester Cook to claim third in his Fiesta.
An incident in the planned Sprint race led to a delay ( see Racing News, page 9), and meant there was only just enough time for a solo GT Cup Feature race. Predictably Jordan Witt (Bentley Continental GT3) scored his 11th win of the season, despite having to serve ever-longer mandatory pit stops due to his success. He was stationary for 25 seconds longer than the John Dhillon/aaron Scott Ferrari 458 GT3, but still won by more than half a minute.
Tom and James Webb took Class B victory and third overall even though their car was heavily damaged in the earlier accident. “We robbed some bits off Dad’s [Martin] car,” explained Tom of the rapid rebuild. “To come away with full points is unbelievable.”
The quartet of BMW E36 M3s at the head of the Racing Saloons doubleheader was perhaps too evenly matched to produce thrilling racing. Stuart Waite led from pole to two race victories, while Karl Cattliff made a sluggish start from second to drop back to fourth in the opener, behind Nigel Innes and Stephen Pearson, where he stayed. Cattliff gave himself more to do in race two by bounding over the grass exiting Old Hall at the start, but he soon climbed back up the order to fourth with the rest finishing in the same order as before.
Ex-saxmax and Clio exponent Will Davison made it four Production BMW wins from four, twice overcoming Matthew Wileman in the woodland section. Matt Swaffer extended his points lead with two third places as rival Harry Goodman claimed ninth and fourth as he recovered from a first lap off.
Clink spun on lap one, but won
Jordan Witt topped GT Cup... again