Weekend In Review: 15-18 April
Last weekend staged a plethora of British championship events, from disciplines as varied as drag racing, rallycross, truck racing and sportscars.
From Santa Pod, Lydden Hill, Oulton Park and Brands Hatch, here’s our round-up of all the action from a packed Easter weekend of motorsport in the UK:
British GT Championship – Oulton Park, Cheshire
Balfe Motorsport’s #22 Audi R8 LMS and Paddock Motorsport’s #11 McLaren 720S claimed a victory apiece on an eventful opening weekend for the British GT Championship at Oulton Park.
Adam Carroll and Shaun Balfe marked the #22’s debut outing with pole position during qualifying on Saturday but looked to have blown the opportunity after slipping back to sixth on the opening lap of the first of two one-hour sprint races.
A combination of on-track contact and pit stop infringement penalties for those ahead – plus a move on the #93 Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari – however, put Carroll in the box seat after the GT3 pit window, albeit with GT World Challenge Europe racer Jules Gounon breathing down his neck in the #6 RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG.
Gounon’s blistering pace had elevated him through the field and, having caught Carroll with 15 minutes to run, a switch for the race lead looked inevitable. The Frenchman got close on the exit of Lodge once, but Carroll was able to stand firm to take victory.
With the roles reversed, RAM Racing’s Mercedes had another chance to visit the top step of the podium in the second contest, but the 7 and 5-second success penalties carried over from the opening race moved both down the order in the final reckoning.
In a dramatic race that featured red flags, changeable weather conditions and more besides, Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman held their nerve to take the net race win in the #11 Paddock Motorsport McLaren, a first outright win for the pairing in the category.
In GT4, Sennan Fielding and Richard Williams made the perfect start to their title bid after steering the #42 Steller Motorsport Audi to victory in the morning, with Matt Topham and Darren Turner (Aston Martin Vantage) similarly celebrating after their triumph in race two.
British GT heads next to Silverstone for a three-hour race on 7-8 May.
British Drag Racing Championship – Santa Pod Raceway, Northamptonshire
Michel Tooren (1971 Plymouth Barracuda) took the honours at the opening round of the British Drag Racing Championship at Santa Pod Raceway’s Festival of Power.
Tooren came through qualifying as the highest ranked competitor having clocked a 5.9420 time with a top speed of 243.73 mph on the famous Santa Pod stretch.
With a bye through to the semi finals, Tooren brushed aside Kevin Slyfield (1957 Ford Thunderbird) before facing Nick Davies (1968 Pontiac Firebird) in the final.
Tooren was quick off the line in the final, reacting faster than Slyfield to take an early advantage. That reaction time proved decisive as Tooren’s top speed of 230.20 mph was somewhat slower than Davis’ 237.76 mph. Tooren crossed the line narrowly ahead of Slyfield to get his season off to the perfect start.
British Rallycross Championship – Lydden Hill, Kent
Lydden Hill hosted a British Rallycross Championship double header with Oliver Bennett taking victories at Round 1 and 2 on Saturday and Monday.
Bristol-driver Bennett was the class of the field in the headline Supercar category throughout in his former World Rallycross and Nitro Rallycross Mini Supercar. The Xite Energy Racing driver led both semi finals and finals from the front to secure his first-ever overall win on Saturday.
He followed up with an equally dominant performance on Monday to make it a clean sweep in his debut weekend.
18-year-old Patrick O’Donovan delivered a stunning Supercar debut performance to qualify on the front row of the Saturday final in his Team RX Racing Ford Fiesta, then take his compulsory joker on lap one before picking his way through the field to finish second. Derek Tohill came through in third.
On the Monday final, Tohill moved up the step into second and Julian Godfrey completed the podium.
British Truck Racing Championship – Brands Hatch (Indy), Kent
Brands Hatch hosted a typically action-packed start to the 2022 British Truck Racing Championship, with four different winners from the opening five races.
Ryan Smith opened the defence of his title in perfect fashion by winning the opener, and was on course to make it back-to-back triumphs until an incident with a backmarker in the closing stages of the second contest allowed David Jenkins through.
Jenkins triumphed once more in the reverse grid contest on Sunday morning, with ten-time champion Stuart Oliver and Simon Reid the other drivers to enjoy a trip to the winner’s circle on a weekend that showcased the championship’s strength in depth.
John Powell, Luke Garrett, and Brad Smith chalked up victories in Division 2, with the series heading next to Pembrey, Wales on 7-8 May.