Speak win helps title attack
BRISCA F1: Sheffield
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.”