Weekend in Review: 26 – 27 March 2022
Max Verstappen’s defence of his FIA Formula 1 World Championship crown was given a boost with victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after a close-fought battle between the Red Bull driver and current points leader Charles Leclerc.
Here’s our round-up of all the action from Jeddah, plus a bumper weekend of domestic action back in the UK:
FIA Formula 1 World Championship – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Reigning world champion Max Verstappen won through in a high-speed game of ‘cat and mouse’ to ignite the defence of his FIA Formula 1 World Championship title on the streets of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez led the early running from pole position – the Mexican’s first at the 215th attempt, but pitted one lap before a virtual safety car for Nicholas Latifi’s stricken Williams and dropped to fourth as those ahead pitted in response.
That left championship leader Charles Leclerc out front from Verstappen and Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz, and from there it quickly developed into a two-horse race to the chequered flag.
Verstappen briefly led with eight laps to run but fell foul of Leclerc’s tactics to position himself for DRS down the main straight. Wise to the Monegasque’s tactics, Verstappen deliberately held back on future attempts despite Leclerc’s attempts to slow into the final hairpin, and therefore be behind at the DRS detection point.
He eventually got his man with three laps to run and edged out Leclerc by half a second after a tense final few laps. Leclerc consolidated his championship lead in second, with the fastest lap, with Sainz rounding out the podium for the second weekend in succession.
George Russell led the charge for the British cohort with another solid run to fifth for Mercedes, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton recovering from the midfield to score the final point in tenth.
A late-race charge elevated Lando Norris’ McLaren to seventh in the order, a welcome boost for the team after both cars were eliminated during Q2 in qualifying.
The circus makes a long-awaited return to Melbourne, Australia for the next round of the World Championship on 9-10 April.
FIA Formula 2 – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Felipe Drugovich claimed victory in the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and with it elevated himself to the top of the Drivers’ standings.
The MP Motorsport racer made a good start from pole, moving across to fend off fellow front-row starter Richard Verschoor.
As two of Drugovich’s title rivals, Theo Pourchaire and Sprint Race winner Liam Lawson, were forced to retire in the pits, the Brazilian continued to lead out front despite Verschoor’s best attempt at an overcut, eventually taking the chequered flag 2.3 seconds clear.
Jehan Daruvala rounded out the podium for PREMA, a further 12.9 seconds back from the lead battle.
FIA Formula 2 returns to action at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in Imola, Italy on 22-24 April.
Motorsport UK Welsh Rally Championship – Rally North Wales
Matthew Hirst made the perfect start to his bid for the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship title with victory at the season-opening WKD Trained Dogs Rally North Wales.
The 2019 champion was in dominant form alongside co-driver Declan Dear, setting the benchmark time on six of the eight stages in his Ford Fiesta R5+ en route to an eventual 24-second winning margin.
Dylan Davies made an impressive return to top-flight competition, piloting his Skoda Fabia R5+ to second alongside co-driver Mark Glennerster, and 2019 Welsh Junior Rally Champion Tom Llewellen celebrated on the final step of the podium with Dale Bowen.
BARC – Silverstone (International), UK
The British Automobile Racing Club basked in the Spring sunshine at Silverstone this past weekend (March 26/27) as a number of championships kick-started their 2022 campaigns, serving up two days of blockbuster entertainment on the International layout around the Home of British Motor Racing.
Headlining the weekend’s track action was no less than eight races from the Classic Touring Car Racing Club, in particular the Super Tourers which proved to be a smash-hit as they wound back the years to a golden era of the British Touring Car Championship.
Jason Minshaw piloted the 1998 Rickard Rydell title-winning Volvo S40 to victory in the opening bout before Anthony Reid – who was reunited with his 1998 Nissan Primera – claimed the plaudits in race two after a thrilling battle with Minshaw and John Cleland.
Stephen Primett drove his Ford Escort Mk1 to the top step of the podium in both amalgamated Pre ’66 & Pre ’83 races whilst Dave Griffin did the same in the combined Pre ’93 and Jaguar Challenge encounters.
The theme of one driver reigning supreme in both contests continued in the Classic Thunder and Blue Oval Saloon Series races as Jason Davies triumphed in his Ford Sierra Cosworth.
Big grids ran throughout the Caterham Graduates Championship too, which saw two drivers lay down their markers as the early pace-setters. Jamie Winrow was in a league of his own in the 135 bouts whilst Harry Senior starred in the combined 150 and Sigmax races.
Harry Hickton enjoyed the perfect start to the new Junior Saloon Car Championship season as he charged to a commanding pair of race wins. Entering the season as one of the title favourites in the one-make series, Hickton didn’t put a wheel wrong to prevail out front.
James Card completed a clean sweep in the Kumho BMW Championship as he picked up where he left off last year, clinching pole position and then following it up with back-to-back victories in his trusty E36 M3.
Rounding off the weekend’s racing was an abundance of wheel-to-wheel action from the Mini 7 Racing Club. With the battle for supremacy going down to the wire, the Dunlop Mini Challenge supported by Mini Spares Miglia class saw Rupert Deeth and Andrew Jordan share the spoils.
There was further success for the Jordan family as Andrew’s father, Mike, produced a superlative display in the Dunlop Mini Challenge supported by Mini Spares Se7en category bagged an impressive pair of race wins.