AND THE WINNERS ARE... WILLIAMS LEADS EUROPEAN INVASION
BRANDS HATCH: MSVR LOTUS FESTIVAL BY BRIAN PHILLIPS
Marque veteran Steve Williams won both races for the Lotus Cup Europe on the championship’s second and final visit to the UK this year.
Apart from a slow start in race two, the Evora GT4 driver looked in control, even when rain brought changing conditions on different parts of the Grand Prix circuit.
Harry Woodhead (Exige) spent much of the first race making up for a poor start from fourth on the grid. He recovered to a class-winning fifth, less than 3s short of a podium place. JeanBaptiste Loup (2-Eleven) was the closest challenger to Williams, with Jonathan Packer’s Evora third.
Woodhead’s start in race two was even worse, which came to an early end when he skated off at Clark Curve in the rain. None of this bothered Williams, who finished well ahead of the younger Loup, joined on the podium by father Philippe to the joy of
CROFT: DDMC BY GRAHAM READ
Peter Morris, champion in 2014 and 2015, and Mike Johnson shared the spoils in the brace of Porsche Club races, in which both were made to battle hard in their 996s for success.
First time out, Morris sprinted from pole into an immediate lead and had to call on all his experience as the chasing championship leader Mark Mcaleer kept him honest from start to finish. Behind, Kevin Harrison (996) had to resist pressure from Chris Dyer in his Cayman S before Richard Ellis joined the scrap for third place in another 996, with Harrison claiming the final podium place.
Morris looked set to lead Mcaleer home again in the second race, but Johnson had other ideas as he set about improving on his initial fourth position.
The 996 driver moved up to second place exiting Tower just past half-distance, and swept into the lead approaching the same corner a lap later when Morris missed a gear. Johnson then held off Morris and Mcaleer to the close, whilst Harrison and Ellis had a superb fight for fourth position.
Polesitter Colin Simpson romped to an unchallenged victory in the initial Northern Saloon & Sportscar encounter for Classes A & E in his mighty Marcos Mantis. In his wake the seven-litre Ford Falcon pedalled by Andy Robinson looked set for the runner-up position until a charging Barry Smith got the better of him in his Caterham 7 with a move at Clervaux on the penultimate lap.
Conditions were wet for the subsequent contest, which Paul Brydon dominated throughout in his BMW M3. Finlay Crocker finished second on track ahead of former champion Mike Cutt, but a 5s track limits penalty for the former dropped him to third position.
After Kirk Armitage qualified his M3 3.7s faster than the best of the rest Peugeot 205 GTI of David Cox for the first contest for Classes B,C,D & H, the outcome of the race was never in doubt. Reigning champion Armitage blasted home 44s clear of the pursuing Sierra XR4X4 of Stephen Kell, who won an entertaining battle with Martin Whitehouse (BMW 328) and Cox for second place. The following day, Armitage was even more dominant on his way to his second victory of the meeting as the distant Kell and Whitehouse kept Alan Thompson’s BMW 328 out of the podium positions.
Crocker made a tremendous save from a very sideways moment in his Honda Civic TCR early in the opening Battle of Britain Trophy event and went on to take the honours despite another track limits penalty. Subsequently Matthew Kirkby held an early lead, as did Crocker, very briefly, ahead of an agricultural moment at Tower, leaving Cutt to lead the Caterhams of Smith and Kirkby home.
James Drew-williams swept past early frontman Russ Giles at Tower on the opening lap of the initial Monoposto Tiedeman Trophy encounter, but the race was to become a battle of attrition as Drew-williams and then Giles retired. This left Bryn Tootall to bring the small field home in his Van Diemen RF99 well clear of Mark Smith and Geoff Fern. Later Tootall made the early pace before a flying Giles caught him and hit the front at Tower. The Dallara F398 racer was kept honest by Tootall to the close as they left Mark Smith in a distant third place.
1 Peter Morris (996); 2 Mark Mcaleer (996) +0.215s; 3 Kevin Harrison (996); 4 Chris Dyer (Cayman S); 5 Richard Ellis (996); 6 Michael Price (996). CW Andy Toon (Boxster S). FL Mcaleer 1m31.709s (83.42mph). P Morris. S 16. 1 Mike Johnson (996); 2 Morris +0.775s; 3 Mcaleer; 4 Harrison; 5 Ellis; 6 Dyer. CW Steve Cheetham (Boxster S). FL Johnson 1m31.605s (83.51mph). P Morris. S 16.
1 Colin Simpson (Marcos Mantis); 2 Barry Smith (Caterham 7) +3.602s; 3 Andy Robinson (Ford Falcon); 4 Andy Wilson (Holden Monaro); 5 Paul Brydon (BMW M3); 6 Finlay Crocker (Honda Civic TCR). CW Crocker; Matthew Kirkby (Caterham C400); Mark Leybourne (Westfield FW); David Brewis (Suzuki SC100). FL Smith 1m28.817s (86.13mph). P Simpson. S 24.
1 Brydon; 2 Mike Cutt (BMW M3) +10.828s; 3 Crocker; 4 Andrew Morrison (SEAT Leon Cup); 5 Wilson; 6 Robinson. CW Crocker; Scott Hubel (Peugeot 205 T16); Simon Mayne (AB Performance Arion); Kirkby. FL Brydon 1m35.570s (80.05mph). P Brydon. S 24. (Peugeot 205 GTI); 5 Alan Thompson (328); 6 Dave Botterill (Porsche 944). CW Whitehouse; Cox; Andy Wilson (Ford Escort RS); Simon Baker (Ford Fiesta). FL Armitage 1m33.657s (81.68mph). P Armitage. S 18. 1 Armitage; 2 Kell +47.884s; 3 Whitehouse; 4 Thompson; 5 Cox; 6 Lee Underwood (Honda Civic). CW Whitehouse; Cox; Clive Cooksey (Fiesta). FL Armitage 1m36.016s (79.67mph). P Armitage. S 18.
1 Crocker; 2 Cutt +7.839s; 3 Robinson; 4 Kirkby; 5 Armitage; 6 Hubel. CW Cutt; Kirkby; Hubel; Cooksey. FL Crocker 1m28.608s (86.34mph). P Cutt. S 18.
1 Cutt; 2 Smith +0.505s; 3 Kirkby; 4 Robinson; 5 Hubel; 6 Ron Harper (Triumph Spitfire). CW Kirkby; Hubel; Crocker; Gary Bowers (BMW E46); Cooksey. FL Robinson 1m30.491s (84.54mph). P Crocker. S 16.
GTI Mk2s. Poleman Christopher Sanders had missed second gear at the start and had to fight back. Hance was in second from Brooklands early on, with championship leader Chris Webb taking third, both at the expense of Tim Hartland.
But as Hartland fought back to rechallenge Webb, Sanders caught them both and finally grabbed third around the outside of Brooklands four laps from home, while Hartland got the better of Webb for fourth.
Just staying on the track was an achievement in race two, with standing water on the circuit. Hartland was off at Brooklands on the first lap, while Porter and Sanders got away. Sanders had the lead when Porter went straight on at Copse shortly after, but Porter closed the gap again and got by at Luffield in the closing stages, only for Sanders to surge back through Woodcote.
On the final lap Porter was ahead again at Copse, but Sanders found the outside line at Luffield and that move was decisive. Webb finished third and Matthew Petts took fourth and a class win, taking David Aldridge around the outside of Woodcote as the flag was readied.
It was honours even between Nicholas Reeve and Bradley Burns in the Fiesta Juniors. Although Burns had the edge into Copse at the start of the first race, Reeve soon snatched it back before a multiple shunt at Becketts brought out the safety car. When it went green again, the duel continued which allowed championship leader Harry Gooding to close.
Side-by-side from Brooklands to Woodcote with a lap to go, Burns was back ahead only for Reeve to snatch his maiden victory in the dash to the flag, the pair well clear of Gooding in third.
Burns led from the start of race two and took a lights-to-flag win over Reeve. They had escaped early on as a six-car battle ensued for third. Gooding again headed the charge, briefly losing out to Lochlan Bearman, only to claim it back and just hold out to the chequered flag.
The top six were fairly spread out in the first multi-class Fiesta race, with Alastair Kellett well clear from the start. Stuart Robbins and Jamie White then both ousted John Cooper from second and Robbins began to close Kellett’s lead. They were nose-totail onto the last lap with Robbins making the winning move into Copse, while Cooper completed the podium after three track limit penalties dropped White to fifth.
Robbins made it two having led from the start of the second race, with Kellett second throughout and White retaining third after a duel with Cooper ended when his rival pitted.
Intermarque championship leader Malcolm Blackman took his Vauxhall Tigra to a seventh victory in heavy rain, with Steve Burrows’ Peugeot 206 securing second when Lewis Smith’s Tigra spun. Simon Smith’s BMW Z4 completed the podium as the deteriorating conditions brought the red flags out.
The second race built up to a terrific final lap shoot-out with Simon Smith leading out of Woodcote after Keith White’s BMW Z4 had earlier demoted Blackman. Burrows rounded off the podium, with early pacesetters Blackman and Lewis Smith dropping to fourth and fifth.
Aaron Thompson and Samuel Priest engaged in an early duel in the first Fiesta Class C race, but as the rain came down again, third placed Myles Baker lost it on the pits straight, clipped Jay Daniels and piled into the pit wall. The safety car was out again, leaving a two-lap sprint to the flag when the race restarted. Thompson just held on after a massive challenge from Alfonso Skriczka came up short by just 0.019s, with Priest third having earlier lost out to Skriczka at Copse. Simon Horrobin won race two, from Nathan Edwards and Priest.
Charlie Cudlipp took a double Production GTI Mk 5 win over Andy Baylie and Martyn Walsh.
1 JPR Uvio (Graham Roberts/ Farquini Deott); 2 Track Torque 2 Rent Dominos (Henry Dawes/ Neil Burroughs) +1m07.449s; 3 CCS Media (Nigel Greensall/ Ciro Carannante/ Robert Tomlinson/alan Honarmand); 4 Eco Racing 209 (Tom Mills/ Paul Turner/ Paul Abraham); 5 Despatchbay.com (Andy Bicknell/james Littlejohn); 6 Eco Racing 61 (Rory Brown/ Alan Brown). Fastest lap Apollo Motorsport (Harry Mailer) 1m17.886s (75.82mph). Pole Team Viking Self Storage (Jim Hadfield/ Nick Nunn/ Mark Holme). Starters 24.
1 Nick Porter; 2 Adam Hance +0.941s; 3 Christopher Sanders; 4 Tim Hartland; 5 Chris Webb; 6 Paul Foreman, Class winner Paul Cowland. FL Hance 1m12.019s (82.00mph). P Sanders. S 18.
1 Sanders; 2 Porter +0.408s; 3 Webb; 4 Matthew Petts; 5 David Aldridge; 6 Alistair Miles. CW Petts. FL Miles 1m26.347s (68.39mph). P Porter. S 16.
1 Nicholas Reeve; 2 Bradley Burns +0.410s; 3 Harry Gooding; 4 Callum HawkinsRow; 5 James Hillery; 6 Danny Harrison. FL Reeve 1m11.425s (82.68mph). P Reeve. S 16.
1 Burns; 2 Reeve +1.555s; 3 Gooding; 4 Lochlan Bearman; 5 Lewis Kent; 6 Hillery. FL Bearman 1m15.235s (78.49mph). P Reeve. S 14. P Kellett. S 14.
1 Robbins; 2 Kellett +2.109s; 3 White; 4 Youhill; 5 King; 6 Jones. CW DendySadler; Chris Horne. FL Robbins 1m17.141s (76.55mph). P Robbins. S 14.
1 Malcolm Blackman (Vauxhall Tigra); 2 Steve Burrows (Peugeot 206) +2.351s; 3 Simon Smith (BMW Z4); 4 Lewis Smith (Vauxhall Tigra); 5 Chris Ayling (Vauxhall Tigra); 6 Ray Harris (Mercedes SLK). CW Anthony Bennett (Caterham R300; Mick Linnett (Caterham R400). FL L Smith 1m15.063s (78.67mph). P Blackman. S 18.
1 S.smith; 2 Keith White (BMW Z4) +0.113s; 3 Burrows; 4 Blackman; 5 L Smith; 6 Mike Thurley (Vauxhall Tigra). CW Bennett; Linnett. FL Philip Blackford (Peugeot 206) 1m06.226s (89.17mph). P Thurley. S 18.
1 Aaron Thompson; 2 Alfonso Skriczka +0.019s; 3 Samuel Priest; 4 Ryan Faulconbridge; 5 Scott Robertson; 6 JJ Ross. FL Robertson 1m19.710s (74.08mph). P Simon Horrobin. S 18. 1 Horrobin; 2 Nathan Edwards +0.395s; 3 Priest; 4 Myles Baker; 5 Robertson; 6 Jamie Going. FL Priest 1m10.370s (83.92mph). P Horrobin. S 18.