Reigning Champions Back On Top
Defending Fun Cup Champions JPR UVio took their first win of the season at Oulton Park, in the second round of this year’s championship. Farquini Deott and Graham Roberts were never headed from early into the third hour of the four hour race, taking victory by just over three seconds from Silverstone winners Team Trooper.
Rob Perry started from pole for Agua Caliente, but it was Paul Turner from the third row that led into Old Hall on the first lap for ECO Racing, ending the first lap two seconds clear of the rest.
Nigel Greensall quickly made his presence felt for CCS Media, into second on lap two, before leading on the fourth. But Jon Tomlinson and Andy Bicknell had also started well for Racelogic and Despatch Bay.com respectively and were into second and third by lap seven, as Deott had already charged from 26th on the grid, to oust Turner for fourth into Cascades.
An eight car train began to develop but Deott fell to the back of it behind Scott Mansell’s driver61.com car, having damaged the splitter. “Bicknell blocked me exiting Old Hall and then the car in front twitched as I went to pass and I ended up on the grass,” Deott admitted. But Turner headed for an early stop with a driveshaft problem, “That had been a brilliant start though,” said team mate Paul Abraham.
Track Torque 2Rent Dominos Chris Hart carved his way through the order taking almost one place per lap and was into third by lap 14 at Bicknell’s expense, while Sean Cooper followed him through a couple of laps later for Track Focused, as Racelogic fell back with Tomlinson off at Knickerbrook, in his efforts to wrest the lead from Greensall.
Into Cascades for the 18th time Hart had the lead, but Greensall, Cooper, Bicknell, Mansell and Deott were still line astern, with the recovering Tomlinson next up, from Mark Owen (JPR), Tim Wheeldon (Team Honeywell) and Clint Bardwell (Track Focused 2).
The lead trio had just started to go clear, when there was a collision exiting Old Hall. “I had been a tad slow and hesitant and had to back them up, as I had more chance than against a single car. But I had a spin to avoid Turner’s ECO car, but was unaware of what happened behind,” said Greensall. “Chris Hart had to brake hard to avoid Nigel and I hit the back of him, damaging his exhaust and my radiator,” Cooper explained.
Out came the safety car which coincided with the pit stop window and completion of the first hour. So Henry Dawes took over the leading 2Rent Dominos car from Marcus Clutton in for DespatchBay.com, David Denyer (Racelogic), Neil Plimmer (Team Honeywell), Kristian Rose (JPR) and Ciro Carannante (CCS Media).
Dawes had to cope with the blowing exhaust and loss of power, but his lead grew, after Clutton went off at Lodge with a brake problem.
Two more safety car interventions came in the second hour
, during which time JPR UVio had their first taste of the lead with Graham Roberts, having taken the car over in seventh. “It was totally manic out there,” he said.
Jake Rattenbury also had a spell in front for Team Trooper as did Mansell’s Driver61.com car and both were well up as the halfway point was reached.
JPR UVio led by only 0.297s over Team Trooper, while Mansell, Dawes and Plimmer were almost as one for third, while in sixth, Trumans were flying too with Richard Webb having handed to Julian Bricknell for the second stint.
There had been the usual shuffle in the order during the stops, but only seven laps into the third hour, Deott put the JPR UVio car back into a lead they were to retain to the flag.
The chase behind was as intense as ever though, with Harry Mailer leading the pursuit for Team Trooper, from Wheeldon back in for Honeywell, Mark Burton (JPR on the Piste) and Paul Abraham (ECO) after he demoted Trumans.
Richard Baxter also lost places having taken over the fourth placed car from Mansell, “I spun at Cascades, it started to go and I just couldn’t hold onto it,” he explained,
2RentDominos were only just on the lead lap though,” we were told to come in for noise, so had to weld the exhaust and be noise tested before we could rejoin,” said Hart.
So with one hour remaining there were still seven cars on the lead lap, but Uvio’s lead had grown to 20 seconds, from Team Trooper, Team Honeywell and ECO, with 2Rent Dominos now silenced in fifth, from JPR on the Piste and Team Lane Roofing Evolution.
The fifth and penultimate safety car period came on lap 75 from where Hart pounced again from the green flag and was into third as they passed the pits. It was all over for Team Honeywell though having to vacate the final podium place. “The throttle cable broke. We had enough fuel and could have gone the distance without another stop, and won,” said Wheeldon.
It was JPR UVio’s victory and a convincing one too. “The last safety car was cruel for us, it wiped out lead again but we just kept going,” said Deott. “I was waiting for some expected pressure at the end, but just kept concentrating and keeping it tidy and nice to win at my home circuit,” Roberts added.
Anthony Reid did the last stint for Team Trooper. He got them into second with eight laps remaining, but had sustained some frontal damaged. Dawes brought 2Rent Dominos home in third. “I sat behind Graham and he didn’t put a foot wrong, but I think the safety car helped him” said Dawes. “We’ll take third,” added Hart.
Chris Weatherill and race returnee Rob Croydon had a tremendous finale to bring their Team Lane Roofing Evolution car home fourth, gaining three places in the last hour.
Despite their early problems ECO were fifth. “I had got passed the TLR car near the end at Island and then went off at Shell,” admitted Guy Wenham. Also celebrating were Trumans, “Our best ever finish. The car was just great. Nothing wrong at all and even pressed Guy into a mistake but he retook,” explained Colin Kingsnorth.
Dominic Jackson/Graham Pattle/Mark Burton brought their JPR on the Piste car home seventh, from Team Viking’s Mark Holme/Nick Nunn/Jim Hadfield. “It was hard at the end as some of the backmarkers had their quicker drivers in and the safety car just kept bunching us up,” said Holme.
Jordan Lane/Dan Gullick were ninth for Team Lane Roofing and the JPR cars of Owen/Rose and David Clark completed the top ten, all on the lead lap!
1 JPR UVio (Farquini Deott/Graham Roberts) 95 laps in 4h01m53.701s (63.43mph); 2 PW Racing Team Trooper (Paul Wighton/Harry Mailer) Jake Rattenbury/Anthony Reid)+ 3.832s) +2.539s; 3 Track Torque 2Rent Dominos (Chris Hart/Henry Dawes); 4 Team Lane Roofing Evolution (Chris Weatherill/Rob Croydon); 5 ECO Racing (Paul Turner/Paul Abraham/Guy Wenham); 6 Trumans ((Colin Kingsnorth/Richard Webb/Julian Bricknell); 7 JPR on the Piste (Dominic Jackson/Graham Pattle/Mark Burton); 8 Team Viking (Mark Holme/Nick Nunn/Jim Hadfield); 9 Team Lane Roofing (Jordan Lane/Dan Gullick); 10 JPR (Mark Owen/David Clark/Kristian Rose). Fastest lap Harry Mailer (Team Trooper) 2m00.436s (80.46mph).