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The Fun Cup Endurance Championships visits to Oulton Park never fail to provide drama and action before the end result and last weekends second round of the 2022 Championship was no exception.

On the opening lap GT Radial’s Jimmy Broadbent was pushing PLR Racing’s Ben Pitch for the lead into Cascades, before CCS Media’s Nigel Greensall split the duo a lap later at Knickerbrook.

Despite having only arrived back from Sebring hours before the race, Greensall led from lap three, with Pitch, Greenheath’s Jonathan Mitchell, Broadbent, Stobart Sports Colin Kingsnorth and Vapeclub/EDF’s Vlad Vassiliev the early top six.

Gradually the top four started to ease away, before Kingsnorth split from the chasers to try and close the gap again.

“It was great racing with Nigel, but we didn’t start to get away until they started fighting behind,” said Pitch.

But Fabio Randaccio was carving his way through for defending Champions UVio/Hofmann’s Lotus and by the end of lap nine he had taken sixth from Vassiliev.

Mitchell and Broadbent were having a great duel for third, but it allowed Greensall and Pitch to escape. Randaccio was closing in however and taking Kingsnorth and Vassiliev with him.

“I backed out a couple of times rather than having an accident,” Broadbent admitted.

The fight for third became a five-car battle, with Mitchell slipping to sixth. “My right mirror kept folding in, so if I couldn’t see cars on the left I assumed they were on the right,” he reckoned.

Randaccio, Broadbent and Kingsnorth began to work together, bringing them closer and closer to the lead pair, with Pitch soon having to defend second place. “It was hard catching them though as they were all in a tow,” said Randaccio.

Over Hilltop on lap 21 the top three were as one, with Randaccio second before the end of the lap and leading a lap later. “He just drove passed me alongside Lakeside,” said Greensall.

As the first pitstop window arrived Kingsnorth was one of the first to pit, handing to Jonathan Hoad. Randaccio, Greensall, Pitch and Broadbent all came in on the same lap, with a slight reshuffle in the order as they rejoined.

“That was going really well, they can red flag it for me while we are in this position,” Kingsnorth suggested.

Farquini was still ahead for UVio/Hofmanns, but only 0.272 secs up on Hoad after the first hour. PLR’s Neil Plimmer and Greenheath’s Gary Bate were next up, from GT Radial’s Ellis Hadley and, GCI’s Craig Butterworth.

Team Viking’s Mark Holme and Agua Caliente’s Rob Perry were duelling for seventh, with Vapeclub/EDF’s Matt Dorkings and Olympian’s Kristian Rose completing the top 10.

Hoad had been happy to shadow Farquini for the lead. “We had a bit of overheating, so I backed out to get clean air and cool off, happy in second though,” he admitted.

Both leaders made their second stops together on lap 44, but UVio/Hofmanns were soon back in the pits with low battery voltage.

But Apollo were also parked up and Harry Mailer was out too after the Olympian car blew its engine. “It wasn’t the regular drivers it was Harry the Detonator,” said team-mate Rose.

Out came the safety car for eight laps and suddenly the pitlane was busy and at halfway Greenheath led PLR and Stobarts.

There was some confusion during the safety car intervention which brought the release of some cars from behind, but from the green flag the top eight were back on the lead lap.

Plimmer was out in front for PLR, with Hoad shadowing, followed by Bate, Holme, Butterworth and Team Kaizen’s Riley Phillips.

Hoad went ahead on lap 63, with Phillips taking both Butterworth and Holme for fourth. “The safety car had brought us back to fourth and it was good battle with GCI,” said Holme.

Stobarts were still in front as the final hour commenced, but still only fractionally ahead of PLR. Greenheath and GCI were still in close contention too, with Kaizen, Agua Caliente and GT Radial all looking to close in on the podium.

Pitch took charge again for PLR on lap 83, before Mitchell moved to the fore 10 laps later, with most of the field heading pitwards for their final stops.

But the final drama was on the horizon and out came the safety car again with 22 minutes to go. “We dropped back to third, so Jon has to earn his keep now,” said Kingsnorth.

With eight cars still on the lead it was green for an 11-minute sprint, with yet more dramas to come.

Plimmer and Phillips were both forced to stop to serve track limits penalties and Bate had an off at Brittens Chicane.

“I just caught the kerb too much and couldn’t get it back. It was so quick there and just one mistake,” said Bate.

Hoad was now in front again from Butterworth, with Agua Caliente’s Paul Turner, GT Radial’s Hadley and Viking’s Nick Nunn all battling for the final podium place.

Nunn was then into third as the minutes elapsed, only for contact with Turner at Druids to end his race.

Although Hoad had the lead Butterworth continued to threaten until the flag, but it was victory for Stobart Sports Kingsnorth/Hoad by just 0.529 secs from GCI’s Butterworth/Ian Wood.

GT Radial finally secured third with Hadley/Broadbent/Steve Brown, while in fourth it was Ravi Ramyead/Mike Simpson/Phillips, as Agua Caliente’s Turner/Rob Perry and PLR’s Pitch/Plimmer rounded off the top six.

“I didn’t know where we were until we were back in the pitlane, certainly didn’t think it was third,” said Hadley.

Greenheath, MJ Tec Gti, Vapeclub and Team Viking completed the   top 10.

As always an entertaining and unpredictable race, with a different winner. “We’ll take that,” Stobart’s Kingsnorth concluded.

Action recommences at Croft on May 14th.