At the front, the Sprint element of this race panned-out much as Race 1, with Ross Wylie flying away in the FF Corse Ferrari 458, and gentleman driver Laurent De Meeus in the same team’s 488 holding second place; after the mandatory pit stops the roles reversed, and veteran David Mason took the Class 1 458 over to go head-to-head with seasoned professional Jamie Stanley, who made short work of seizing the lead and taking another win, nearly a lap ahead of Mason, who had no further threat from behind, and Wylie stamped some authority by posting the race’s fastest lap this time. But again, behind this winning pair, what a story…
Here, both in the Sprint and Endurance races, we have some zero-to-hero stories. Starting the race in the midst of the Class 5 cars were the two Track Focused KTMs, on the penultimate row was the DAT Racing SEAT of Guy Colclough and starting driver Max Coates, and stone last was the Team Hard Ginetta G55 of Sam Randon and Britcar returnee Angus Dudley, having totally missed the first race due to driveshaft failure.
At the rolling start is was the usual story, the two Ferraris out front and drifting away, with Ollie Willmott’s Porsche third, but this time it was Sarah Moore who made a fast start, up into fourth place in the Tockwith Ginetta G50. Alex Day, too put in a stormer in the Audi, and kept it up, even passing Simon Rudd’s G55 on the second lap. Cutting through progressively, though, was Max Coates in the SEAT; by lap five he had got up to sixth place, then took fifth from Kristian Prosser, then fourth from Sarah Moore. All was not well with Prosser’s BMW, though, and he pitted with overheating issues. He continued, though having to keep an eye on the engine temperature, which rather hampered progress.
Alex Day’s Audi was proving a nuisance for Simon Rudd, the faster Ginetta taking a while to finally get back past the former BTCC machine, and allowing team mate San Randon, who had rapidly picked his way up the order from the back of the grid, to close up.
As the Sprinters took their mandatory pit stops around 25 minutes in, the Endurance contingent assumed the leading positions, with three Ginetta to the fore, and in close formation, just over five seconds covering Sarah Moore, Simon Rudd and Sam Randon. And fourth? Mike McCollum, with everything now OK with the KTM.
Stanley’s Ferrari assumed the overall lead once again, with a buffer of Ginettas between him and Mason’s 458, though Colin Willmott, now in the Porsche started by son Ollie, was being pursued by Guy Colclough in the DAT Racing SEAT, no doubt inspired by Max Coates’ earlier guards van-to-vanguard opening stint.
And so, after 50 minutes the board with the chequered edging signalled the end of the Sprint race – Stanley and Mason finishing as in Race 1, but then Guy Colclough, who had got past Colin Willmott’s Porsche and hung on to a four and a half second advantage, claiming the final overall podium place and the Class 4 victory, ahead of a cautious Jon Watt, who had one eye on the temperature gauge of the Moss Motorsport BMW M3, with lone driver Tim Docker third in class in the Maximum Motorsport VW Golf, then Chris Bentley/John Clonis SEAT, and Rob Day’s Audi, the father having taken over after the son’s storming start, which earned Alex the Sunoco Driver of the Day award. Class 5 this time was turned around, with the Smart 4/4 of Rob Baker and Lucas Nanetti finishing a lap ahead of Andy Napier’s Lotus Elise.
So now the Endurance runners had the track to themselves. Simon Rudd made an early-ish stop, just as the Sprinters were finishing, and handed the #24 Ginetta to Tom Barley, resuming in seventh place, behind Sarah Moore, Sam Randon, Mike McCollum, Ben Seyfried (giving the EDF Aston Martin one of its best outings yet), Marmaduke Hall’s Ginetta, Chris Brown’s BMW M4, and ahead of Sandy McEwen’s KTM.
All pit stops were taken around the halfway mark, Marmaduke Hall being the last, from the lead, and after posting stint twice as long as he is normally used to. It had now, too, started to rain slightly, with lap times rising accordingly for a short while. Angus Dudley, by dint of having less of a pit-stop penalty, now held the lead in the G55 started by Sam Randon, a fitting position for the young returnee, though Sean Cooper, who had taken over from McCollum in the #262 KTM, was nibbling away at the 35 second gap to the leader. Mika Brown, too, having now taken over the Jackpot Racing BMW from Chris, had his sights set on Mal Sanford’s Aston Martin. To add to this action, an internecine battle between the two Tockwith G50S was brewing – with Ed Moore in the #15 car chasing Matt Greenwood’s #25, which Sarah More had placed well in contention in her opening stint, though this would be short-lived, as Moore’s car was smoking lightly and leaking fluid, and it was sadly retired. Ross McEwen, mounting a recovery in the family-crewed KTM, passed Sanford’s Aston, while at the front of the field, Cooper’s pursuit of Dudley continued unabated, while Tom Barley’s Ginetta, once a threat to the leading pair, slipped back to a comfortable third place, having seen the best of its tyres.
Sean Cooper – with Mike McCollum Driver of the Day – crossed the line to their first Endurance win in the Track Focused KTM X-Bow
There were just four minutes to go when Sean Cooper took the lead from Angus Dudley, the KTM making an inevitable and fairly easy move around the outside of the Agostini hairpin. That would be the last action of the race; from a disastrous Race 1, Mike McCollum had eased the KTM X-Bow up into contention (which earned him the Britcar Driver of the Day award), and Sean Cooper had consolidated the earlier effort to take a fine win. Sam Randon, a winner on his Britcar debut for Team Hard last time out, did a great job of bringing the back-of-the-grid Ginetta up the order, and Angus Dudley hung on to the lead until the dying moments of the race, while team mates Simon Rudd and Tom Barley were in the hunt until the tyres on the title-chasing G55 went off.
In a field heavy with Class 3 machinery, Sarah Moore and Matt Greenwood held their own in the Class 4 Tockwith Ginetta G50, while Ed Moore and Marmaduke Hall were still classified finishers despite the late-race retirement.
Chris and Mika Brown did a solid job in the beautiful BMW M4 GT4, and Sandy and Ross McEwen atoned for their Race 1 woes with a good finish in the #74 Track Focused KTM, while Ben Seyfried gave the newly-refurbished EDF Aston Martin the race of its life, up to third at one point, leaving it in a good place for Mal Sanford to take it to the flag.
Text: Steve Wood; photos: Paul Cherry.