Brands Hatch, 15-16 August 2009
Round six of the 2009 LMA Euro Saloon and Sports Car Championship took place over the weekend with qualifying and race one on Saturday, the second race on Sunday.
Star of qualifying was Richard Hawken (Nissan Primera) with his first ever LMA Euro Saloon and Sports Cars pole position by over half a second from Colin Davids (Noble M400) who was a late replacement driver for Mal Davison who had been taken ill. Peter Challis was looking to close out the DKMLabour.com Super Touring Cup and was 3rd in qualifying with Andy Harvey (Subaru Impreza) and Simon Deaton (Mitsubishi Evo) close behind.
In Class C, Mark Cripps (BMW M3) narrowly held off Nick Hayes (Seat Leon), while the Class D pole sitter Gary Whitehead (BMW M3) was ahead of both of them, up in 9th place overall. Championship leader Brett Walter (Renault Clio) was first in Class E but Joe Walton (Renault Clio) was only narrowly beaten into 2nd.
Race 1 (Saturday):
Colin Davids made the best start in Mal Davison's Noble as both he and Andy Harvey (Subaru Impreza) used Class A turbo power to push past the Class B Nissan Primera's of Richard Hawken and Peter Challis. Two laps in and Davids had a lead of 1.5 seconds over Harvey before Harvey started to reel off some faster laps. The gap was closed to just 2/10ths by the end of lap 4 and Harvey got past Davids on lap 5 while at the same time pulling Hawken and Challis along so they too were closing in on Davids. As Harvey started to pull out a small lead, Hawken and Challis moved up past Davids on lap 8. Challis set the then fastest lap of the race on lap 9 to get past Hawken and on lap 10 moved past Harvey to take the lead. Once out front, Challis strung together a number of 51s laps to pull away from Harvey, eventually taking the chequered flag with a 12 second gap back to 2nd place. Hawken was 3rd, 3 seconds further back, while Davids just held onto 4th place from a hard charging Simon Deaton, one more lap and surely Deaton would have taken 4th place.
Three laps before the finish, Bernard Hogarth went off hard at Paddock in his Ford Mondeo hitting the wall at an estimated 80mph. He was later heard to be praising the HANS device for saving his from possible injury in this very big accident.
Newcomer Gary Whitehead (Class D BMW M3) was running in close formation with the Class B cars of John Hammersley (Honda Accord) and Ilsa Cox (Seat Leon), just narrowly losing out to them but taking a comfortable Class D win and 10th overall. In Class C, Nick Hayes got a better start than Mark Cripps, the two ran together for 11 laps before Cripps hit the wall hard at Druids, ending his race and badly damaging his BMW M3. In Class E Brett Walter suffered a rare defeat, Joe Walton got by on lap 2 and was able to hold off Walter gradually pulling away to take the class win by 4 seconds.
Race 2 (Sunday):
Six cars from Saturday failed to make the grid on Sunday, although the surprise inclusion was Mark Cripps, his team having done sterling work to repair the BMW M3 overnight.
Challis, Harvey and Deaton occupied the first three positions on the grid and it looked liked this would be the finishing order as they maintained these positions for the first 20 laps of the race, with Challis pulling away at over half a second a lap, while Harvey was only able to eke out a smaller gap over Deaton. But Gary Furst (Mitsubishi Evo) who had been running as low as 8th for the first couple of laps was moving up and started to close in on Deaton. With just two laps to go, Furst got by Deaton to take the final podium position. Class D winner was Gary Whitehead who had been running as high as 4th overall and finished a very creditable 5th, just holding off Class B 2nd place driver Ilsa Cox.
Mark Cripps started from the back of the grid and looked to be taking a few laps to build up confidence in the repairs to his BMW before getting faster later in the race. It was not enough to prevent Nick Hayes from taking his second class win of the weekend. All change in Class E though, Brett Walter was able to get the better of Mark Walton in their Renault Clios.
Brett Walter still leads the championship with 230 points but double winner Peter Challis played his joker in race 1 for double points and now moves into second place with 194 points to Andy Harvey's 192 points in third. Take away the two dropped scores though, and there are just two points between Walter and Challis which could make for an exciting last three rounds. Walter looks unassailable in the Mark Fish Motorsport Clio Cup challenge with a lead of 212 points to second placed Jason Tarling's 116 points, while Renault now have a massive lead (720 points to 404) over Ford in the MSE-Performance.com Manufacturer's Cup.
The DKMLabour.com Super Touring Cup is only played out over the double header rounds, so Peter Challis has won the cup with a perfect score of 160 points (8 wins out of 8), with John Hammersley 2nd (110) and Bernard Hogarth 3rd (88)
Visit the LMA site for details of the LMA Euro
Saloon and Sports Car championship and standings so far.
Check out the current points
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