Posted on In General
A massive 32 car grid lined up at Snetterton for 6 hours of non- stop Fun Cup action.
Julian Thomas lined up on pole for Racelogic, with title contenders Team Trooper Iron Maiden alongside, with Jake Rattenbury taking the first stint. Reigning Champions JPR Uvio lined up on row 10 with Graham Roberts starting, while Brands Hatch winners Team Sherardize started at the back with Peter Belshaw.
Thomas led the opening lap from Track Focused’s Sean Cooper and Rattenbury, before Neil Plimmer joined a four-car break for Team Honeywell.
Although Rattenbury moved into second, Thomas started to build on his lead, but closing rapidly was Roberts, having taken Mark Holme’s Team Viking car for fifth on lap five, after both had demoted Charlie Kennedy.
Roberts’s progress continued fairly rapidly, taking Plimmer for fourth on lap eight and both Cooper and Rattenbury a lap later for second.
Nigel Greensall also started to progress for CCS Media as Holme and Kennedy slipped to seventh and eighth, but behind them Anthony Dunn’s Amber 3 Team 7 car began to alternate for ninth with Chris Hart’s Track Torque 2Rent Dominos.
Before the first pitstop window opened the duel for ninth had become a six car fight, with Belshaw trying to make it seven, but back at the front Roberts had just taken the lead from Thomas into Riches on lap 14, then headed pitwards for the first change.
Over the next four it was somewhat chaotic in the pitlane, but after the stops were completed Farquini Deott had emerged as the new leader for JPR Uvio, with Racelogic’s Jon Tomlinson and Track Focused’s Neil Smith in second and third as Ciro Carannante’s CCS Media car closed in.
At the end of the first hour JPR Uvio’s lead was up to 6.317s over Racelogic, with CCS Media, Track Focused, Team Viking and Team Trooper Iron Maiden completing the early top six, but there were still 19 cars on the lead lap.
“We had built a lead of about two minutes but lost it when the safety car came out,” said Deott. “I had enjoyed leading but our car kept cutting out in various places,” said Thomas. CCS Media had a similar problem. “I think it was fuel starvation, so we brimmed it with fuel at each stop, though it could be the fuel pump,” added Greensall.
Team Viking were delighted to be in the top five however, “a brilliant first stint,” said Holme. “Just so good to be up there,” Nick Nunn added.
But Team Honeywell had started to lose ground. “The starter motor had gone so we had to push it after the stops and we lacked straightline speed,” Plimmer explained.
There was no such trouble for Track Focused who continued to fight for a podium place, “it felt really good at the start,” said Cooper. “It was like just staying in there, touring and looking after the car of course,” Smith added.
Through the two hour mark and up to halfway although JPR UVio had continued to lead, a heavy downpour and thunderstorm had brought the safety car back out and at half distance Sherardize’s Marcus Clutton had a 0.540s lead over JPR UVio having just gone green as the rain stopped. “We weren’t trying anything risky and I expected our car to feel better than it did in the wet though,” said Roberts.
Harry Mailer had proved his worth for Team Trooper, having taken over from Paul Wighton. In third they had a lap on Eco Racing’s Paul Abraham, who had fought back well with Guy Wenham after losing out early on
Racelogic were out of contention with a number of issues, while Team Honeywell’s car “just stopped.” Although Plimmer pushed the car back to the pits from Murray’s, they were out of the running too.
Henry Dawes had battled through the rain to keep 2Rent Dominos in the top five, “that was very wet and slippery and I didn’t use the wipers in case they broke,” he explained.
MAK Racing had also climbed to sixth, closely followed by Team Lane Roofing 169, while CCS Media continued to stay in the mix having worked around their fuelling problems.
Through four hours and five Deott and Roberts did just enough to keep Team Trooper at bay and went into the final hour with a healthy 23.396s lead.
Although 2Rent Dominos were still on the lead lap, the gap was just too big/ Amazingly CCS Media had climbed to fourth, but still had DespatchBay.com’s Andy Bicknell/Charlie Hollings chasing them, but down to seventh behind Eco Racing were Sherardize. “Marcus was really on it today,” said Belshaw. “I got t-boned by a backmarker though,” Clutton added after being forced to pit for a rear arm to be changed.
Also out of contention had gone Team Lane Roofing, “we had a misfire from the start, it gone worse and then we had no power,” Jordan Lane explained. MAK Racing’s luck also ran out when Chris Webster had the gear linkage break.
With 20 minutes on the clock the safety car was out for the final time, coinciding with Paul Turner being stranded at Nelson after a spin when the car cut out.
Deott was in for the leaders lasts stint, but Team Trooper put Mailer back in after Anthony Reid’s last charge. “I tried as hard as I could and used backmarkers for drafting,” said Mailer. “I just kept looking in the mirrors, measuring the gap and keeping it neat,” Deott replied after taking victory by 2.726s.
Dawes brought the 2Rent Dominos car in to complete the podium. “I was catching Harry but just couldn’t get there,” he said.
Sherardize battled back to take fourth from CCS Media in the last hour, but DespatchBay.com were disappointed not to get a chance to hunt down Greensall’s fifth place. “The safety car didn’t release me early enough, so I had no time let from the green flag,” said Hollings.
Cooper brought home Track Focused for seventh, “it could have been better if we hadn’t lost a lap early on,” he said.
Team Lane Roofing Evo’s Nigel Griffiths/Chris Weatherill also made two places in the final hour for eighth, just ahead of Track Focused 2’s Clint Bardwell/Dean Warriner, while Team Viking held on to complete the top ten after ongoing bodywork repairs. “We lost time though on every stop with belt problems,” Holme added.
1 JPR UVio (Farquini Deott/Graham Roberts) 136 laps in 6h01m39.976s (66.98mph); 2 Team Trooper Iron Maiden Racing(Paul Wighton/Harry Mailer/ Jake Rattenbury/Anthony Reid)+ 2.726s); 3 Track Torque 2Rent Dominos (Chris Hart/Henry Dawes); 4 Team Sherardize (Peter Belshaw/Marcus Clutton); 5 CCS Media (Nigel Greensall/Ciro Carannante); 7 Track Focused (Sean Cooper/Neil Smith/Mike McCollum); 8 Team Lane Roofing Evolution (Nigel Griffiths/Chris Weatherill); 9 Track Focused2 (Clint Bardwell/Dean Warriner); 10 Team Viking (Mark Holme/Mick Nunn/Jim Hadfield). Fastest lap Marcus Clutton 2m15.838s (78.68mph).
Published by Peter Scherer for Fun Cup, August 7th 2017.