Speak win helps ti­tle at­tack

BRISCA F1: Sh­effield

Motor Sport News - - Sporting Scene - By Colin Casser­ley

Or­gan­iser: Star­trax When: July 31 Starters: 40

Rob Speak took a gi­ant leap to­wards re­tain­ing his world cham­pi­onship ti­tle when he won the first semi fi­nal on Sun­day at Sh­effield.

Speak will now start the world fi­nal at Coven­try in Septem­ber on the front row. He will be joined by the win­ner of the sec­ond semi race at Bux­ton on Au­gust 14.

Pole­sit­ter Mat New­son grabbed the lead from the drop of the green flag with Dan John­son fol­low­ing closely.

Just be­hind them, Speak tan­gled briefly with Craig Fin­nikin which caused a traf­fic jam be­hind them and re­sulted in a multi-car pile-up that elim­i­nated sev­eral drivers. Fin­nikin’s car was dam­aged but he was able to con­tinue for a few laps un­til he was side­lined with a flat tyre.

At the halfway stage Speak be­gan to close in on John­son for sec­ond place and, with five laps to go, he nudged his way into sec­ond spot and be­gan to close on the race leader. On the penul­ti­mate lap, Speak made his move on New­son and barged his way into the top spot.

New­son re­sponded and tried to nudge Speak wide on the fi­nal cor­ner but was un­able to use enough force to shift the leader.

Stu­art Smith Jr made a late-race surge to claim third place just ahead of John­son.

“The car was han­dling well and to­wards the end of the race I be­gan to catch New­son,” said Speak. “I saw him get a lit­tle side­ways and I closed in on him, so I thought I would give it a go to get past him. I have to thank my team as I blew the en­gine last week and we have a bor­rowed one in this week. It’s a great way to try and de­fend my ti­tle, I am in the race, and to be on the front row is even bet­ter.”

“I am a bit gutted,” said run­nerup New­son. “To lead 19 laps and not win is dis­ap­point­ing, but I guess I shouldn’t feel that way. To be on the sec­ond row of the World Fi­nal is still good, and peo­ple tell me the sec­ond row is the best place to start. I hope they are right.”

Speak took a bat­tling vic­tory

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