Weekend in Review: 23 – 24 April 2022
The penultimate weekend of April marked the start of the season for a plethora of British championships, including an action-packed start to the Wera Tools British Karting Championship, a historic chapter for both ROKiT British F4 and the BTCC and a last-gasp charge to victory in the British Rally Championship.
From Donington Park to Clacton-on-Sea, Shenington to Imola and the rolling hills of Zagreb, here’s everything you need to get up to speed on last weekend’s action.
Wera Tools British Karting Championships – Shenington, Warwickshire
The Wera Tools British Karting Championships burst back into life at Shenington, Warwickshire last weekend, with a bumper programme of action across six different categories.
Leon Frost was victorious in the first final of the day, sealing the honours in the Junior TKM category ahead of Liv Jakins and Ollie Rands. Chris Whitton was similarly triumphant in the TKM Extreme stakes, holding off Sam Johns and Kye Springfield to make his first trip of the season to the winner’s circle.
On to KZ2 and a win for James Gleinster, with Dan Kelly and Charlie Turner rounding out the top three. Harry Platten got the job done in Senior X30 despite stiff competition from Tom Fleming and Marcus Littlewood, whilst in IAME Cadet, Kit Belofsky took the spoils ahead of Jenson Graham and Jorge Edgar.
Motorsport UK’s FIA Karting Academy Trophy entrant Henry Joslyn rounded out a packed schedule with victory in Junior X30, denying Harry Burgoyne and Gabriel Stilp to open his BKC campaign in fine fashion.
To catch up on all the action, re-visit the live stream here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVBDcz0wIKo
British Touring Car Championship – Donington Park
Three different race winners kicked off the new hybrid era for the British Touring Car Championship in typically competitive fashion at Donington Park last weekend.
Having scored pole position on his debut for West Surrey Racing, Jake Hill found himself shuffled down the order early on after scrapping for the lead with team-mate Colin Turkington, Tom Ingram capitalising at Coppice to squeeze his Hyundai by the battling pair.
From there, Hill spent most of the race working his way back past NAPA Racing’s Ash Sutton and debutant George Gamble (Ciceley Motorsport), only to be disqualified from third for failing the ride height checks post-race.
He fought his way back to ninth in a second contest won by Halfords Racing’s Gordon Shedden to put himself in the frame for the reverse grid draw, and his efforts were rewarded with pole position.
Hill made no mistake at the second attempt, the ROKiT-backed racer surging to a dominant victory, the fourth of his career, with Sutton a somewhat lonely second. Dan Lloyd’s Hyundai held third spot for the majority of the race, but a wide moment at Redgate on the penultimate lap left him vulnerable to Josh Cook’s BTC Racing Honda, and the latter found a way through at the Old Hairpin to seal the final spot on the podium.
Ingram leads the standings after three rounds by a seven-point margin over Shedden, with reigning champion Sutton’s ultra-consistent front-running form enough to put him third. The series heads next to Brands Hatch (Indy) on 13-15 May.
ROKiT F4 British Championship – Donington Park
Alex Dunne put down an early marker as a title contender in the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA, after the Hitech GP claimed a double victory to kickstart the series’ new era under Motorsport UK.
The 16-year-old from Ireland was denied pole position by a slender 0.022-second margin by McLaren junior Ugo Ugochukwu but bested the Carlin racer on the run down to Redgate on the opening lap of the season opener, and from there powered clear to register the first of two wins by 4.5 seconds.
The other, scored by an even greater 6-second margin, was won largely at the first corner after successfully fending off Phinsys by Argenti’s Aiden Neate, and the result moves Dunne 37 points clear at the top of the championship standings.
Dunne’s brace of victories book-ended a thrilling reverse-grid race, with JHR Developments’ Georgi Dimitrov expertly managing the race at the head of a six-car train battling it out for top spot. The British-Bulgarian racer’s lead never peaked above 1.7 seconds, and his team-mate Joseph Loake rallied late on to put the pressure on.
Twice he attempted to wrestle the lead away at Roberts chicane, first on the inside, then the outside, with Loake forced to skirt across the gravel in avoidance. That allowed Dunne, up from ninth on the grid, to charge by at Hollywood for second, but no time remained for an assault on Dimitrov’s lead, the gap at the flag just 0.2 seconds.
The series heads next to Brands Hatch’s Indy circuit on 13-15 May.
British Rally Championship – Clacton-on-Sea, Essex
Osian Pryce secured a thrilling victory at the opening round of the 2022 Motorsport UK British Rally Championship on Sunday, overhauling four-time BRC champion Keith Cronin in the final throws of the event to net him the Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton win.
Driving a Michelin shod Volkswagen Polo GTi for a second successive season, Pryce, and co-driver Noel O` Sullivan had played second fiddle to Cronin over the opening two loops of stages before overhauling the Irishman to take the BRC maximum points haul in sensational style. It was the 2017 BRC champ Cronin who took the second spot in the Hankook backed Polo with James Williams/Dai Roberts rounding out the podium in their Hyundai i20 after a confidence-boosting weekend.
The British Rally Championship now returns to the iconic lanes in the Scottish Borders for the Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally in just over a month’s time.
The international stage
Max Verstappen gave his hopes of retaining the Formula 1 World Championship title a boost after leading home a Red Bull 1-2 finish at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in Imola, Italy.
Championship leader Charles Leclerc lost out to McLaren’s Lando Norris at the start and ran fourth, whilst the other Ferrari – Carlos Sainz – was tipped into a spin at out of the race at the first chicane after contact with Norris’ team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo.
Having shadowed the Red Bull pair, a hard-charging Leclerc made a mistake at Variante Alta in the closing stages, taking too much kerb and pitching the Ferrari into a spin. Despite making side-on contact with the barrier, the Monegasque was able to continue, but dropped to sixth in the final reckoning.
George Russell (Mercedes-AMG) was able to profit from Leclerc’s misfortune and completed a stellar drive from outside the top ten to finish fourth. Team-mate Lewis Hamilton rounded out a character-building weekend a lap down in 13th. Leclerc continues to lead the championship by a 27-point margin over Verstappen.
In the World Rally Championship, Kalle Rovanperä dug deep to overcome a downpour in the final kilometres of Rally Croatia to secure victory.
The Finn’s Toyota GR Yaris had enjoyed a trouble-free run to the top spot at the start of the three-day, Zagreb-based contest, but a gamble on softer Pirelli tyres on the wet asphalt after a storm by Ott Tänak enabled him to overturn Rovanperä and build a 1.4-second lead.
But, with the road drying, Rovanperä was able to find the performance he needed to remarkably wrestle the lead back, and in the process claimed back-to-back wins in the BRC, extending his points lead to 29 markers with ten rounds remaining.