John Seale and Jamie Stanley once again swept the board in Race 2, their JMH-run Lamborghini Huracan crossing the line a lap ahead of the Fox Transport Nissan GT3 of Richard Wheeler and Danny Harrison (far-left of photo).
The race, though, was marred by second corner carnage which eliminated seven mid-field cars and caused a Safety Car period for the best part of 20 minutes. Out on the spot with damage were the Ferraris of Craig Davies and Chris Goddard, the Cupras of Martin Byford and Danny Krywyj, the BMW GTR of Nathan Wells, and Maximum Motorsport team-mates Stewart Lines (Ginetta G55) and Tim Docker (Golf TCR). Through the mayhem, Richard Wheeler’s Nissan emerged at the head of the Safety Car crocodile, with Franck Pelle’s Lamborghini the next of the Endurance runners, ahead of Seale’s similar car, Mark Cunningham’s fast-starting Porsche, Bon Grimes’ Ferrari, Dave Scaramanga in the Motus One McLaren, and Will Foster, well up the order in the Class 4 Cupra TCR.
Once the field went green again, there were barely a few minutes before the pit window was open, and sticking to their plan, Wheeler, Seale, and Scaramanga made early stops to make the most of their faster co-drivers. Also in early were Woodrow Motorsport stablemates, lone driver Chris Murphy’s Aston Martin, and Matty Evans, who had missed the first race, handing his BMW 1M to Kevin Clarke, who had played a big part in developing the handling of the new machine. This left Pelle in the lead, ahead of the battling Cunningham and Grimes, the pair barely half a second apart.
Sadly, once again, the timing screens went down for around 12 laps – by this point most of the mandatory pit stops had been taken, and as before, Jamie Stanley, fifth on the road amongst the Pragas and a smattering of late-stoppers, was the "virtual" overall leader. During this period, Dave Benett, who had relieved Marcus Fothergill in the newly-liveried Bespoke Defenders Porsche 991, was observed struggling around with a left rear wheel problem.
Once the timing screens were up again, there were just 13 minutes of the race left to run, and Stanley’s Lamborghini was 41 seconds head of Danny Harrison, who was now in the Nissan, with Will Powell, who taken over the McLaren from Scaramanga, third, ahead of lone-driver Pelle. Next up was Class 3 leader Johnny Mowlem, now in the Ferrari started by Bon Grimes, Kevin Clarke in the Woodrow BMW 1M, and Class 4 leader Sacha Kackad’s Audi TCR.
And so Stanley took the flag in the JMH Lamborghini again, a lap ahead of the Wheler/Harrison Nissan, with, interestingly, a best lap time of one-second faster than Abbie Eaton’s in a Praga, and two seconds better than Harrison’s in the Nissan. "I think we’re slowly getting the hang of this car" joked a trophy-clutching John Seale. The Endurance Class1 finishers were neatly alternated on the road between the three leading Pragas – Seale/Stanley, Wheeler/Harrison, Scaramanga/Powelll and Pelle being first, third, fifth and seventh respectively. With no Class 2 finishers, next up was Class 3 victors Mowlem/Grimes, their FF Corse-run Ferrari 458 two laps ahead of the Matty Evans/Kevin Clarke BMW 1M, and the Porsche 997 of Mark and Peter Cunningham, while the 991 of Marcus Fothergill and Dave Benett finished down the order following the left rear wheel issue.
A spirited driver from the TeamBRIT Aston Martin
Class 4 went to Hugo Cook/Sacha Kakad, in the Simpson-run Audi TCR, with past Britcar race-winner (with Franck Pelle) Peter Cook delighted for his son’s success; they finished 16 seconds ahead of Bobby Trundley/Aaron Morgan’s Aston Martin, the Team BRIT pair having a more spirited race this time, with Trundley seizing the Class runner-up spot from Peter Erceg’s Porsche Cayman in the closing laps. Perhaps stymied by the first lap midfield incident, there was a change of fortune for some of the Class 4 contingent, – though Nick Hull and Richard Avery improved in their Race 1 result in the Cupra, as did Chris Murphy’s Aston Martin, the Alex Day / Will Foster Cupra, class winners last time, slipped back, as did Nathan Hanslip / Lee Frost in the Simon Green-run Cayman, though this car was a hastily-procured rental after testing issues in the original race machine. Mark and Dale Albutt persevered with their errant Aston Martin, gamely finishing the race 12 laps down.
The fact that they finished is significant; aside from the seven cars lost in that unfortunate first-lap incident, there were no other retirements, and each Endurance finisher took the flag at the full one-hour mark.
The Championship moves to Snetterton in just a fortnight’s time, the weekend of May 8th/9th.
Photos: Paul Cherry