Six Out Of Eight For Championship Leaders!
Two more wins for the UVio Hofmans Lotus duo of Farquini Deott and Fabio Randaccio at Oulton Park, to make it a sensational six wins from eight this season.
Farquini was straight into the lead of the one hour sprint race, with Tachosys with RAW’s Paul Rivett second, from Black Widows Dominic Jackson and DespatchBay’s Andy Bicknell.
The lead pair quickly opened a gap, leaving Jackson to head a train of cars for third, until he was tapped by Bicknell as they came into Cascades and both spun out.
Jackson was able to rejoin well down, but with Bicknell stuck in the gravel, out came the safety car for a couple of laps.
The green flag was waved as they started lap six with Farquini and Rivett quickly gapping the rest again, with EDF’s Vas Vassiliev heading five cars from third place, under extreme pressure from Stobart Sports Colin Kingsnorth.
Two laps later Vassiliev and Kingsnorth were the first to stop, handing to Matt Dorkings and Richard Webb respectively. “That was my best race, but then we lost time at the stop with a radio problem,” said Vassiliev.
Viking’s Mark Holme and PLR’s Neil Plimmer both had spells in third before the stops, but the top three of Farquini, Rivett and Plimmer all pitted together.
Rob Croydon was the new leader for Agua Caliente, from Greensall’s Sam Smeeth and Olympian’s Kristian Rose, before their stops put UVio and PLR to the fore again, with Randaccio and Ben Pitch.
The majority of the second stint was behind the safety car, however, after Chris Weatherill’s Enduro car had a rear corner breakage at Knickerbrook on lap 13.
The final stop was made under the safety car, with just 10 minutes on the clock at the green flag.
Farquini led initially from Pitch and Olympian’s Riley Phillips, with Kingsnorth, MakeHappen’s Greg Evans and Holme the rest of the top six.
“I got Neil around the outside at Shell,” said Phillips, after he was into second on lap 21 and straight onto the back of Farquini to challenge.
For the final five laps it was inches between them. “I tried everywhere, I got a nose ahead but he kept getting me back,” said Phillips.
“That could have gone either way,” Farquini admitted after taking victory by 0.238 secs.
Plimmer had remained close in third, “I just sat and waited to see if they’d take each other off,” he admitted. Similarly fourth placed Kingsnorth too, “We were pretty much there and like Neil, I was just waiting to see,” he said.
Evans and Holme completed the top six, with Sean Cooper snatching a late seventh from GCI’s Craig Butterworth.
Croydon and GT Radial’s Ellis Hadley rounded off the top 10.
All 24 cars made it back on to the grid for the four hour enduro, with Sam Smeeth and Cooper sharing the front row.
As the lead duo opened an early gap, Agua Caliente’s Paul Turner did his best to hold on in third, from Viking’s Nick Nunn, CCS Media’s Steve Johansen and GCI’s Ian Wood.
From the back of the grid, Randaccio already had the UVio car into the top 10 by the end of lap three and continued his climb through the order.
Turner dropped to seventh after a penalty stop on lap 13 and as Cooper made occasional challenges on Smeeth for the lead, Randaccio’s charge took him past Nunn for third, which then became a four way battle, with Johansen and Wood joining in.
On lap 24 the safety car made its first appearance after a heavy crash at Knickerbook, between Black Widows David Clark and Olympian’s Rose, both on their out lap after changing.
“I had just taken the GCI car into Knickerbrook, Scrappy had spun and I tried to avoid him, but he came back across and I hit him hard,” Rose explained.
The safety car coincided with the pitstop window and the completion of the first hour.
Track Focused led with Neil Smith, from Greensall’s Simon Smeeth, UVio’s Farquini, Viking’s Holme, GCI’s Butterworth and Agua Caliente’s Croydon.
But only one lap under green and the safety car was back out after the CCS car had spun at Shell, causing a collision between fourth placed duellists Holme and Butterworth.
“It was frustrating for me, as I had wanted to give Farquini a nice lead,” said Randaccio, after he had seen his 35 secs lead disappear.
It was finally green from lap 33 with Farquini quickly taking charge, as Smith slipped down the order and Harry Mailer came into second for DespatchBay.
When Mailer pitted to hand to Bicknell, Plimmer was into second for PLR, from Bicknell and Turner.
So as they reached half distance UVio were 1.853 secs up on PLR, from Agua Caliente, DespatchBay, Enduro and MakeHappen, with 13 cars still on the lead lap.
While the top three held station after three hours, MakeHappen were up to fourth, from DespatchBay, who had Bicknell double stinting, before Mailer took over for the final two stints.
MJ Tec GITI’s Scott Jeffs/Martin Gibson had also had a better second half and were up to sixth, with Enduro’s Weatherill/Jon Currie, Greensall’s Paul/Ryan Lewis, Track Focused and EDF the rest of the top 10.
Farquini took the final stint for UVio and took the flag 13.881 seconds ahead of DespatchBay’s Mailer.
“There were a few bits and bobs with the car, but overall it was sweet,” said Farquini.
“It’s hard when the gap is so big, but I just kept going for it in case there was another safety car,” Mailer added.
Plimmer and Pitch were third again for PLR, “brilliant, two podiums, just great,” Plimmer enthused.
In fourth, MakeHappen consolidated their third place in the Championship, “a good result for us, I wasn’t hearing things at the end, but it was hard seeing things when it started to get dark,” said Evans.
Jeffs took Agua Caliente’s Croydon in the closing laps to claim fifth for MJ Tec GITI, while Track Focused were seventh and a lap down, as Enduro, and the Greensall families of Lewis and Smeeth rounded off the top 10.
Published by Peter Scherer for Fun Cup Endurance Championship, October 18th 2021.