A First Win for 249 MJ Tec!

They had to wait four years for a win, but MJ Tec’s Scott Jeffs and Will Abraham made it count in the opening round of the 2024 Fun Cup Endurance Championship at Oulton Park.

The MJ Tec duo had set the pace in qualifying and drew third place for the starting grid, with Abraham taking the first stint, behind front row men Ben Pitch for PLR and Jac Constable for Skull Club Racing.

Tight race in Fun Cup Endurance at Oulton Park

From lights out it was Pitch leading the charge down the Avenue, from Constable and Mikey Porter for Morpheus Racing, but by the end of the opening lap it was all change, with Constable leading Porter, Pitch, Driver 61’s Scott Mansell, Abraham and Greenheath’s Paul Turner, as the top six made an early break.

Porter and Abraham hit the front on lap three and began to break away, as Constable and Mansell went door to door, with Pitch and Turner, “just waiting”.

Abraham then started to take charge and managed gap Porter, but now a four-car battle for third had UVio/Hofmann’s Farquini closing on them.

Having taken Turner and Pitch on consecutive laps, Farquini soon caught the Mansell and Constable duel, but on lap 13 he headed pitwards for a stop go after exceeding track limits.

With 30 minutes gone Abraham led Porter by 3.150 secs, before another nine second gap to Mansell and Constable. Pitch and Turner were back in touch too completing the top six, with Farquini still seventh, as EDF Vapeclub’s Vlad Vassiliev, Seed Data’s Mike Devlin and GCI’s Ian Wood rounded off the top 10.

“I stayed fully focused, the car felt great and the set up just suited me” said Abraham.

The first pitstop window came about four laps before the hour mark, with Porter the first of the leaders to pit, handing to Ted Bradbury. “I got a break from the others, but MJ Tec were just so quick,” said Porter.

Constable and Mansell even managed to pit together as they handed to Russell Joyce and Kevin Mansell, who both started to lose ground. “It’s tiring having to do everything, great fun and it was like doing a 50 minute sprint,” said Constable.

“Strong and enjoyable at the start, but I had to figure out what to do when I was on my own a little,” Mansell replied. “I kept looking at Scott’s time coming up, so was chasing the impossible,” said Kevin.

MJ Tec rejoined with their lead intact, but a couple of laps later Jeffs was back in the pitlane. “I had to serve Will’s track limit penalty,” he explained.GCI 111 Fun Cup Endurance Racing

Bradbury was then in front until he served a similar penalty, handing the lead back to Jeffs, as he rejoined second.

The order behind had begun to settle down with Greenheath’s Gary Bate third, from UVio/Hofmann’s Fabulous Randaccio, GCI’s Craig Butterworth and Team Olympian – GRD’s Simon Rudd.

It was soon pitstop time again, with Bate in first after 41 laps, while Bradbury followed two laps later, before Jeffs and Randaccio came in at the end the window.

“I had a damaged splitter and it was affecting the handling quite a lot,” said Bradbury, who was one of many. “When your co-driver gets five track limit warnings in his first stint, I had to do better. But I was having to overdrive as it wouldn’t turn in,” Randaccio added.

The halfway point managed to coincide with a safety car period, as PLR’s Pitch was recovered from Shell. It was also another pitstop window and it was soon a bust and chaotic pitlane.

MJ Tec had managed to gain a lap briefly, with Jeffs back in the car, to head Bradbury, Randaccio, Butterworth, Bate and Olympian’s Riley Phillips.

It was fairly dominant performance from the MJ Tec duo and on lap 81 the top three of Jeffs, Phillips and Randaccio all pitted together and rejoined in the same order.

As they completed the third hour the top three had managed to put a lap on fourth placed GCI, with Abraham out in front by 18 secs from Olympian’s Rudd.

Olympian were the first of the leaders to make their final stop, with Rudd handing back to Phillips, which briefly dropped them to third behind GCI.Fun Cup Endurance Car 98

Abraham and Farquini both pitted together again, but while MJ Tec retained the lead, UVio/Hofmann’s were down to third behind Olympian with GCI’s closing in, as very dark rain clouds began to gather.

Phillips was managing to consolidate second place, but couldn’t make any impression on MJ Tec’s leader Jeffs. “It’s our usual race plan, work through gradually and see where it ends,” Dovell explained.

Just before the rain arrived Randaccio and Butterworth were almost swapping paint for third. Butterworth tried to squeeze through at Lodge but failed, then forced his way though at Old Hall.

Randaccio was first to slide off and recovered well but into Cascades at the end they were both off, before Randaccio recovered to seal third. “I accidentally put Fab off the track and was on the radio to my team, telling them to apologise for me. They didn’t hear so I had to repeat it and I went off too,” Butterworth explained.

The race was eventually red flagged a few minutes short of the four- hour mark, when Bradbury aquaplaned off and hit the Old Hall barriers very hard. Ratters Racing Car 155 Fun Cup at Oulton Park

“I saw the rain and thought oh no, I knew no one would catch me, but although we won, I was disappointed not to see a chequered flag with everyone on the pitwall,” said Jeffs, after he and Abraham  took their maiden win by just over 26 seconds.

Phillips brought Olympian-GRD home a solid second, and despite the late drama, Randaccio was still third for UVio/Hofmann’s.

Bate came in fourth for Greenheath, “it’s not often I am pleased to see a red flag, but with cars going off in the rain even slowly, I was this time,” he admitted.

GCI were still classified fifth, with a delighted Vassiliev/Simon Coles completing the top six for EDF Vapeclub. Morpheus still got seventh, despite Bradbury’s dramatic finale, while the top 10 was completed by Team Ratters, Seed Data and Racelogic.

“Last year we were learning, this year we want to prove ourselves,” said Seed Data’s Devlin. “Disappointing, but we had a problem on the downshift,” Racelogic’s David Denyer concluded.

Next stop Croft,  a double header on May 4th for part two!!

Published by Peter Scherer for Fun Cup Endurance, April 15th 2024

Race Winners Summary

MJ Tec
Team Olympian
UVio / Hofmann’s Motorsport
GCI Racing
Kristian Rose

Kristian Rose