Results and Happenings

Round 6 – Brands Hatch Circuit – Kent, UK 2013

Brands Hatch is a relatively short and technical circuit. So the Time Attack classes had been split-up to allow all drivers the best chance of hitting a traffic-free hot lap. To that end, Club Challenge is split into two and Club Pro is separated from Pro. As a result there are technically four Final sessions. There is a buzz up and down the pit lane. This is the last chance for us to experience the 2013 Time Attack cars in action, and there are still several class Championships up for grabs.

Brands-hatch

Round 6 Finals:

CLUB CHALLENGE FWD & N/A

Marc Donnelly has pretty much had things his own way this year in Club Challenge FWD. However, today he’s involved in a real tussle with Will Watson and Jonny Fletcher. Marc goes fastest (55.331), but Will is close behind (55.992) when Jonny Fletcher goes faster than both of them (54.875).

Neil Holden tops the N/A leaderboard (56.7), then beats his own time (56.554). His rivals are both in the 57s, Neil Bamford with a 57.047 and Procter with a 57.383. The OHWs are having their own battle, all in the 1-minute range. Neil Bamford is going quicker with every lap. Every time he goes quicker however, Neil Holden responds. With six minutes to go, Holden is leading the way with a 56.395.

Jonny Fletcher goes faster again (54.528), beating his own time and increasingly his lead at the top of the FWD class. Three minutes to go in the session and Procter goes second in N/A with a 56.706.

After winning Qualifying and closing the Championship points gap, Astra driver Will Watson sets a new Personal Best in FWD (55.348), but it’s only good enough for third at the moment.

In the final minute OHW Antonio Giovinazzo sets his own PB in the Alfa Romeo 155 (1:01.688). The FWD class seems settled, it’s the N/A class where things are going down to the wire. Neil Bamford sets a new PB on his penultimate lap (56.345), followed by James Procter who does exactly the same thing (56.635). Can either of them improve on their final laps? They cross the line after the chequered flag, Holden in 56.768 and Procter in 56.754. Bamford is just tenths behind too, after finding some late pace in his Vauxhall Corsa (56.874).

No-one improves their PBs and Holden ‘holds on’ to his victory! It’s a worthy climax to their 2013 season, and shows just how closely matched and hard-fought the N/A Club Challenge class has been this year. While Marc Donnelly loses out to Jonny Fletcher on the day in his Focus RS-powered Mk3 Ford Escort, but scores enough points to become 2013 Club FWD Champion!

CLUB CHALLENGE FWD FINAL RESULTS

POSITION

NAME

CAR

LAP TIME

POINTS

1

Jonny Fletcher

Vauxhall Astra GSI

54.528

100

2

Marc Donnelly

Ford Escort

55.082

90

3

Will Watson

Vauxhall Astra VXR

55.348

80

4

Gerry Atkinson

VW Golf

59.630

OHW

5

Antonio Giovinazzo

Alfa Romeo 155

1:01.688

OHW

CLUB CHALLENGE NATURALLY-ASPIRATED FINAL RESULTS

POSITION

NAME

CAR

LAP TIME

POINTS

1

Neil Holden

Honda Civic Type-R – TDI North

56.345

100

2

James Procter

Honda Civic Type-R – Velociraptor Racing

56.635

90

3

Neil Bamford

Vauxhall Corsa

56.874

80

4

Jeff Alden

Vauxhall Astra

1:03.337

OHW

CLUB CHALLENGE 4WD & RWD

Lee Bullen jumps straight to the top of the leaderboard (52.873), as is fitting for a driver who already has the Club Challenge 4WD class mathematically won. He’s closely followed by Jason Ogg (53.180), who is having a strong finish to the season. The bright yellow Evo of Gary Searl is unmistakable. Which is a shame in a way for him, as he spins at Druids and gets temporarily beached. As concern grows it could halt the session, Gary somehow manages to wiggle his way out. Good work Gary, that isn’t an easy trick to pull off.

Ten minutes remaining and everyone is on a PB. Dave Coe is having a much better weekend after the misfire issues he suffered at Donington Park. He goes third in 4WD with a 53.313. In the RWD class Umar Masood continues to lead the way (53.321), while championship leader Ronnie Amis is some way back (55.623), and is in danger of being beaten by Dave Jackson in the Lotus (55.653).

Finally Ronnie finds a chunk of time and improves (54.879), while Lee Bullen is in a class of his own once again, beating his previous best (52.696). Jason Ogg and Dave Coe are keeping him honest though, both in the low 53.1 second range, closely followed by Gary Searl (53.657). Ogg goes faster but the time is disqualified for all four wheels off the circuit limits. He’s not alone as drivers across all sessions fall victim to this rule. Neil Clark is the worst offender in this session, with two laps disqualified in his FC3S Mazda RX-7. At least we know he’s trying!

The bottom line is Umar is too good for the rest of RWD, Bullen the same in 4WD. Umar stretches his lead out further and it’s clear that Ronnie’s tyre issues remain. He later tells us his “newish” front tyres aren’t giving him the confidence to push on, but second is enough to win the title. Dave Jackson (Lotus), Robert Dixon (300ZX) and Darron Wall (VX220) are having a giant scrap. All three set their fastest times on their 9th lap of 12 total laps, and all are in the 55-second range with just tenths between them. Dave Coe is the only driver to make a late charge, going second right at the end of the session and the entire season (53.108).

CLUB CHALLENGE RWD FINAL RESULTS

POSITION

NAME

CAR

LAP TIME

POINTS

1

Umar Masood

Mazda RX-7

53.227

100

2

Ronnie Amis

Ford Sierra Cosworth

54.744

90

3

Dave Jackson

Lotus Elise

55.347

80

4

Robert Dixon

Nissan 300ZX

55.469

70

5

Darron Wall

Vauxhall VX220

55.714

60

6

Gordon Wright

Nissan Skyline GTS-T

56.214

OHW

7

James Morgan

Nissan 300ZX

57.357

50

8

Neil Clark

Mazda RX-7

58.904

40

 

CLUB CHALLENGE 4WD FINAL RESULTS

POSITION

NAME

CAR

LAP TIME

POINTS

1

Lee Bullen

Subaru Impreza – SD Motorsport

52.696

100

2

Dave Coe

Subaru Impreza STI

53.108

90

3

Jason Ogg

Subaru Impreza – RA Motorsport

53.177

80

4

Paul Martin

Subaru Impreza – Bright Green Detailing

53.217

OHW

5

Gary Searl

Mitsubishi Evo – GMS Design

53.657

70

6

Damien Bradley

Subaru Legacy

53.894

OHW

7

Matthew Lawson

Mitsubishi Evo – Wallace Performance

54.090

OHW

8

Stephen Moore

Mitsubishi Evo

57.436

OHW

9

Mark Flook

Mitsubishi GTO – Eurospec

1:06.305

OHW

CLUB PRO & CLUB PRO 2WD

With only six cars out on the circuit, there should be plenty of space for our Club Pro competitors to get a clean lap. However, the headline news from this session is the seventh car out on track. Somehow a breakdown in communication has allowed Pro OHW Andrew Gallagher out on track. It doesn’t help that the bottom pulley on the YB Cosworth engine failed at the end of Qualifying. As a result the alternator won’t be charging the battery, which in turn means Andrew only has a couple of good laps in theory, before the battery voltage drops and the ignition begins to weaken, resulting in a misfire and slower lap times.

 

So with the red mist descended and Andrew’s determination to make those laps count, he’s missing the waved black flags trying to recall him to the pits. While Andrew circulates, the Club Pro 2WD class has turned into a ‘survival of the fittest’. Romain Levesque is out there in his Honda CRX, minus it’s supercharger so down on power. Richard Marshall is trying to drive around his gearbox issues, while Bo Nielsen’s ruined clutch sadly means he’s a spectator.

Amongst the battle-weary, Mike Cantelo’s bright red Vauxhall VX220 is zipping around happily enough. Mike eventually drops down in the 51s with a 51.951. The reward for Mike’s pace and the VX220’s reliability is the 2013 Time Attack Club Pro 2WD Championship!

Meanwhile, one of the closest dogfights in UK Time Attack is taking place. Brad Sheehan is top dog in the early stages, eventually recording a 51.900. Andrew Barbour is in second (52.840), when Marc Kemp shows his raw pace once more, going top with a 50.248. Over the next few minutes the Evo guys battle it out. At one point Kemp crosses the line in 51.425, followed by Sheehan in 51.466. This is ridiculously close. Barbour is catching them too, but still in the 52s. As the session draws to a close things get serious. Kemp blasts in a 49.968 to extend his lead. Brad Sheehan finds a chunk of time from somewhere, setting a new PB of 50.465.

However, no-one can stop Marc Kemp. He’s been on it all day, even completing more laps in the previous sessions than his team would have liked on the new NR Autosport engine. He couldn’t help himself, and the times reflect how much he’s enjoyed today. We’ve enjoyed watching these Evos be so competitive all year, despite being tuned in very different ways.

CLUB PRO FINAL RESULTS

POSITION

NAME

CAR

LAP TIME

POINTS

1

Marc Kemp

Mitsubishi Evo – Panic Link Motorsport

49.968

100

2

Brad Sheehan

Mitsubishi Evo – M.A.Developments

50.465

90

3

Andrew Barbour

Mitsubishi Evo – NR Autosport

52.221

80

 

CLUB PRO 2WD FINAL RESULTS

POSITION

NAME

CAR

LAP TIME

POINTS

1

Mike Cantelo

Vauxhall VX220 – Elise Parts

51.951

100

2

Romain Levesque

Honda CRX – Eurospec

53.222

90

3

Richard Marshall

Vauxhall Astra – Milltek Sport

53.465

80

PRO & PRO 2WD

The Pro cars line up in the pit lane but the NR Autosport car stays in the garage. Driver Gavin Renshaw tells us he’s going to get the “banker” lap that will secure him and the NR Autosport team a third, successive Time Attack Pro Championship title. A stunning achievement. Once he’s got that under his belt, he’s going to [insert expletive here] the [expletive] out of it. Meanwhile the SVA Imports Evo appears from it’s pit garage to cheers. We’re going to get a proper climax to our 2013 Time Attack year. SVA’s gearbox issues might have put the final nail in their championship challenge coffin, but there’s still pride at stake. Some would argue that’s at least as valuable.

First, lets get the Pro 2WD out of the way. Not because we aren’t interested, but because it’s all sewn up. Simon Deaton and his Porsche Super Cup racer first met at the start of the year. Driving such an unforgiving, rear-engined car after big-power 4WD cars, it’s been a steep learning curve for Simon but he’s made serious progress. He’s capable of pushing the car to it’s limits. And beyond, if his spin at Paddock Hill in Qualifying is anything to go by. Scary place to go off! On the day he’d finish behind Marcus Clutton. There’s no shame in being beaten by a British GT Champion. Marcus won his Championship in a X-Bow. He knows the car and Brands Hatch very well, and it shows. The fact this one has 300bhp, it’s scary to think what the car would be capable of with double the horsepower, something that is, relatively speaking, pretty straightforward to do!

Returning to the Pro shoot-out between Renshaw and Lloyd, you can feel the anticipation in the air. As both cars hit the track it’s difficult to know whether to watch the timing screens giving live updates on sector times and speeds, or the movement of the cars on track. Are they hitting the apex? Are they running into the corner too hot? How do they look, too twitchy, too much understeer? As everyone tries to second-guess the winner of this final battle in the year-long War between Renshaw and Lloyd, NR and SVA, there’s a gatecrasher. BTCC and British GT driver Phil Glew is trying his hardest to spoil the party, despite having to run with less power as a result of that liner movement in the engine. He sets a 49.989 to top the charts. With Clutton’s X-Bow hitting a 50.407, and Morris’ 1000bhp R32 GT-R a 50.447, Glew’s time looks decent.

That is until Gareth Lloyd crosses the line. First hot lap all day, old brake pads and a ton of untried and untested variables, Gareth wrestles the car around in 48.481. It’s stunning. Spectators cheer before turning their attention back to Gavin Renshaw as if to say, “your turn – what have you got?”

By now Gareth has returned to the pits. A quick check for tyre pressures is the routine, but Gareth’s there long enough to hear the gasps and cheers as Gavin Renshaw smashes the rest of the day’s times with a 47.947. It’s not only the fastest time of the day, it’s a new Time Attack lap record!

Gavin has risen to the challenge, and then some. Excited words are exchanged up and down the pit lane while Gavin rolls back around into the pits for the same tyre pressure and lap-time checks. It’s hard to know what either driver is thinking. How much lap time are they leaving on the track, if any? It’s almost as if there are no other cars on the track. Although there is a mighty fight going on for third place in Pro with OHW Mark Biggers (50.365), Marcus Webster (50.442) and Paul Doyle (50.593) all setting these personal best times within seconds of each other. Perhaps they’re feeding off the energy of this duel? Or maybe it’s the end-of-season, throw-everything-you’ve-go-at-it mentality? Either way, everyone is going faster.

The bonnet is off the SVA car and a laptop is attached. What are they doing? Checking logs for engine detonation? Downloading another 100bhp? At this point we don’t care. We just want to see if both drivers can go faster still. Gareth Lloyd leaves the pit lane, followed by K-Sport Impreza driver Paul Doyle, who has overcome his own problems today and it’s incredible he’s still out there. Some ‘foreign objects have travelled through the turbo and engine. His K-Sport team have performed a series of temporary repairs, helped by Garry Plant of GR Performance. They’ve Paul out in the hope it all holds together.

Gavin leaves the pits too.

Gareth Lloyd rounds Clearways on his first flyer back out – 47.517! There follows a couple of laps with both drivers in the 47s but not improving; Renshaw 47.956, Lloyd 47.553. Both drivers are within tenths of each other. Gavin goes closer with a 47.855. It’s his fastest of the day. As both drivers pull into the pits, we wonder if that’s everything they have to give. They’ve both broken the record, they’ve pulled clear of the chasing pack. Surely there’s nothing left on the track?

Three short minutes remain in the 2013 Time Attack Championship. We know NR Autosport have won the Championship, but who will emerge from this bar-fight of a Final the victor? Suddenly our Commentator Maz yells in excitement: “Gareth Lloyd has crossed the start-finish Speed Trap at 151mph, the fastest speed of the day!” – It’s going to be his last effort. He couldn’t go quicker again, surely? After all, he’s spent all day in the garage. The most driving he and the car have done is up on the air jacks this morning before Warm Up. The SVA Imports Evo sounds angry. Gareth shoots deep into Druids and has to tip-toe around the outside, being patient with the throttle. He’s neat rather than aggressive though Graham Hill bend. Every movement of the white and blue Evo is being analysed by the crowd. He screams round Clearways and onto the straight. “46.869!!” Gasps. Cheers. Clapping. It’s an awesome time.

Gavin has to settle for second place today, but then the 2013 Time Attack Pro Championship title isn’t a bad consolation by any stretch! It’s the third successive Pro title for Gavin Renshaw and NR Autosport too. A Time Attack record.

What a fantastic crescendo to the 2013 Time Attack season. Made even more special by the fact Paul Doyle somehow fires his poorly K-Sport Impreza into third place, beating Glew in the BC Racing Impreza by the smallest of margins – 0.003 seconds. There’s something in the air today. Gavin Renshaw/NR Autosport win the Championship, but the day belongs to Gareth Lloyd/SVA Imports. It’s been a fitting way to end 2013.

PRO FINAL RESULTS

POSITION

NAME

CAR

LAP TIME

POINTS

1

Gareth Lloyd

Mitsubishi Evo – SVA Imports

46.869

100

2

Gavin Renshaw

Mitsubishi Evo – NR Autosport

47.855

90

3

Paul Doyle

Subaru Impreza – K-Sport Racing

49.542

80

4

Phil Glew

Subaru Impreza – BC Racing

49.545

70

5

Mark Biggers

Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R –

MGT Racing

49.972

OHW

6

Marcus Webster

Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R –

Midlands Performance

50.072

60

7

Walter Morris

Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R –

Midlands Performance

50.134

50

8

Michael Mahoney

Mitsubishi Evo – Wallace Per4mance

50.222

OHW

PRO 2WD FINAL RESULTS

POSITION

NAME

CAR

LAP TIME

POINTS

1

Marcus Clutton

X-Bow Clubsport

48.945

100

2

Simon Deaton

Porsche Super Cup – Motor Shop Stop

50.681

90

Thanks Brands. See you all again next year?

Report by Dan Goodyer

rich-sams-photography

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