Silverstone, 27-28 June 2009

We were gutted to miss this race, Silverstone is where we expected the kappa to have its best chance of recording its first LMA Euro Saloon and Sports Car championship and having watched the race, we still it might have been possible. But we did not get there, so we will never know!

Round four of the 2009 LMA Euro Saloon and Sports Car Championship took place on what was the hottest weekend of 2009 to date.

Laurence Kilby was the talk of qualifying setting the first ever sub-minute lap for the LMA Euro Saloon and Sports Car championship with a 59.632s lap, fully 1.3 seconds below the outright LMA lap record and almost 2.3 seconds clear of the next driver. Benji Hetherington was up next guesting in a Ginetta G50 similar to those which race on the TOCA package followed by 10 cars separated by just 1.3 seconds. Peter Challis (Nissan Primera) was 3rd overall and headed Class B in this round which qualified for the Super Touring Cup with Class A Mal Davison (Noble M400) 4th, then the Class B Super Tourers of David Jarman (Nissan Primera) and Derek Hale (Honda Accord).

Class C was closely contested with 3 of the 4 protagonists qualifying together in 20th-22nd with Kevin Wendt (BMW M3) just getting the better of Olly Allen (Ford Escort Mk II), Nick Hayes' Seat Leon right behind them. Ian Craig (BMW M3) led Class D while championship leader Brett Walker (Renault Clio) was over a second clear of his nearest competitor Joe Walton (Renault Clio).

Race 1 (Saturday):
The gasps of the crowd said it all! While Kilby's qualifying lap was sensational, it wasn't obvious on the track how much quicker he had been than the others. The crowd based up at Woodcote were audibly stunned when Kilby's Mitsubishi Evo came into sight with nothing following - he crossed the line at the end of lap one already FOUR seconds ahead of second place Hetherington (Ginetta G50) with Challis (Nissan Primera), Derek Hale (Honda Accord) and Mal Davison (Noble M400) taking the next places and another second further back. By lap two the lead was 6.3 seconds, by lap 3 it was 8.4 and by lap 4 with a 10 second plus lead, the race was effectively over. Kilby was already lapping the back of the pack by the end of lap 4, but despite busy laps from that point on, his pace was relentless. On lap 18 he recorded 60.840 to set a new official lap record and only slowed on the final lap to win from Hetherington by over 30 seconds with 10 lapped cars between and all cars from 7th backwards had been lapped.

Davison's challenge lasted just four laps, coming onto Luffield on lap 5 his Noble and Challis' Nissan touched leaving the Noble spinning and blocking the track. Tony Soper (Harrier) went left and just as he looked to have avoided any trouble, the Harrier spun on the grass relegating him to 20th - Davison had recovered to end lap 5 in 9th place but would be forced to retire on lap 12. Worse was to befall Derek Hale who in avoiding Davison found his Honda beached in the gravel on the outside of Luffield, his race over.

With 34 cars having started the race, it was hard to know where to look - do you watch Kilby blasting around at the front, watch the battle for 3rd place between Challis and Andy Harvey (Subaru Impreza), or further down the pack with Jasons Newman (Peugoet 306) and Tarling (Renault Clio) swapping places over and again as they squabbled over what finished as 21st place? Or did you watch the front three Class C rivals; the first lap ended with Hayes leading Allen and Wendt two places behind. On lap 4 Wendt had caught and passed Allen but Hayes still led the class by 3.5 seconds. Wendt was chasing down hard and moved into the class lead on lap 6 after which point the gaps between the three slowly stretched out so joker-playing Wendt won from Hayes by 19 seconds with Allen 14 seconds further back - it never seemed that far while watching. Ian Craig took a comfortable win in the Class D BMW M3 from Yaser Almaghrbi (Daihatsu Charade), the latter only just locating replacement brake pads in time for the race. Brett Walter played his joker in Class E and justified his confidence by winning the class by 8 seconds from Joe Walton.

The heat unsurprisingly meant a high number of retirements - 11 in all including Simon Deaton whose Mitsubishi Evo gave conflicting fuel level information so Deaton droned around slowly in the hope of finishing, Doug Ellwood (Marcos Mantis) who suffered timing sensor failure possibly caused by losing the alternator belt in qualifying, and Mark Harrison (Mitsubishi Evo) who retired after the 20 minute mark but before the winner had crossed the line.

Race 2 (Sunday):
Race two looked like being more of the same; Kilby got a flying start and led by almost 3 seconds after the first lap, but this time from Harvey and Challis who had both got past Hetherington. Again Kilby was pulling away by 3 seconds per lap, but on lap four Hetherington got by Challis after 3 laps of them being nose-to-tail, if not side-by-side, and just second behind second placed Harvey - Kilby was already 12 seconds clear beating his own new lap record on lap 2. A high number of non-finishers in race one occupied grid places at the back so the drama was in watching then cutting through the slower cars. Doug Ellwood (Marcos Mantis) and Derek Hale (Honda Accord) were making best progress, but Mal Davison's Noble was struggling to run even at Class E pace, the turbochargers not supplying more than 0.5 bar boost in the opening laps. Gradually the Noble started to work again and Davison laboured through the pack up into 15th place, well off his normal pace.

Kilby continued to attack, setting another new lap record (60.641) on lap 14, almost beating it again on lap 15 (60.717) by which time he was 19 seconds clear of Hetherington in second place, with Harvey third and 1.5 seconds ahead of Challis. It all went wrong on lap 16 as Kilby's Mitsubishi started to sound flat and was visibly slower than before. A lap of 68 seconds let Hetherington move to 13 seconds behind, the following lap he had closed up and followed Kilby across the line just 5/100ths behind, passing him on the entry to Copse and off on his way to win the race. Next up were Harvey and Challis who started the final lap 0.8 seconds apart and about the same behind Kilby. They got by quickly enough, but the drama still wasn't over as they came round Luffield and Brooklands together. Challis looked like he might catch Harvey in the sprint to the finish line, but one of the Clios was trying to stay out of the way on the inside, Harvey cleverly ensued Challis had nowhere to go and crossed the line 1/10th ahead of Challis with the lapped Clio finishing between them. More pain for Kilby as David Jarman also caught him on the final lap, relegating Kilby to 5th. Ellwood and Hale were rewarded for strong drives from the back finishing 6th and 7th, 3rd and 2nd in classes A and B respectively.

Kevin Wendt recorded his second class C win of the day but had to work hard for it as he fell behind Olly Allen on lap 3 and took an further 5 laps to catch and repass. Nick Hayes was unable to reproduce his Saturday form and finished 3rd in class 9 seconds behind Allen. Yaser Almaghrbi recorded his first ever LMA Class win in Class D while Brett Walter continued his winning streak in Class E finishing 17 seconds ahead of 2nd placed Antony Sullivan (Renault Clio). Chris Boon got lucky retiring his Honda Civic on the last lap with a puncture only to cross the finish line in the pit lane thus scoring the points after all.

Brett Walter still leads the championship with 166 points, but a similar 66 point haul takes Kevin Wendt up into second on 146 from Andy Harvey (132) and Peter Challis (128). Brett Walter also leads the Mark Fish Clio Cup on 158 points from Antony Sullivan (102) and Jason Tarling (72). Renault scored a massive 170 points over the weekend and now lead the cup for manufacturers with 524 points from Ford (378). A good Nissan turnout combined with a heavy Subaru DNF list leave them equal third on 280 points. With two more wins, Peter Challis maintains his perfect record within the new Super Touring Car Cup and leads with 120 points from 6 races from Bernard Hogarth (88) and John Hammersley (80).

Visit the LMA site for details of the LMA Euro Saloon and Sports Car championship and standings so far.

Check out the current points standing.

Send comments to: