Brands Hatch Grand Prix: Race Report

The Co-ordSport Tin Tops, joined by a contingent of Motorsports School Turbo Tin Tops, enjoyed an out round on the Brands Hatch GP circuit, a few weeks ago.


Marc Peters was on hand and has put together a short highlights video for you to enjoy.

Official series photographer David Stallard, was once again at his local circuit, focusing on capturing shots from the GP loop. Please view and purchase his photos here: David-Stallard Photography


Full results are available from the TSL event page, including detailed breakdowns of pit-stops and more, by clicking 'view pdf book' underneath the series description.

 

The sun was shining as a combined grid of the Co-ordSport Tin Tops and the Motorsports School Turbo Tin Tops descended on Brands Hatch GP. It turned out to be the perfect day for the Honda Integra of Nigel Ainge/Danny Cassar as they claimed 'the triple', with pole, the race win and fastest lap!

Tight paddock parking and finishing last race did cause some concern, but it all worked out well in the end.


Qualifying saw a busy track, as all 36 cars took to the full Grand Prix circuit (some for the first time ever), to put in their best laps. It was previous race winners Andrew Windmill in his Honda Civic and the Fiesta ST of Adam Brown that traded fastest laps at the start of the session. The Honda Integra of Nigel Ainge/Danny Cassar found their pace later in the session, with a stunning qualifying lap to claim pole by just under 2 seconds. Sharing the front row, and with the best view of Paddock Hill was the father & son pairing of Jon and Chris Warburton in their stunningly fast and immaculately prepared Golf GTi. Andrew Windmill had to settle for 3rd, with Adam Brown close behind, as 4th Tin Top (6th on the road).

The Motorsports School Turbo Tin Tops was largely dominated by MINI's. Keith Issatt's Clubman was fastest of the Turbo Tin Tops and 4th on the road, with Carl Chambers, the only non MINI in the top six, just 0.4 of a second behind in his Peugeot 208 GTi. John Wyatt (R56) and Charlie Newton-Darby (R53) were 3rd and 4th respectively, with two of the SRR prepared MINI's of Kevin Fulbrook/Chris Williams and Wendy Ellis-Smith/Paul Ellis-Smith closely matched, split by just 0.3 of a second taking 5th and 6th.

Further down the Tin Tops grid, in the first outing of the season for the Peugeot, Shaun Ely qualified his 205 GTi ahead of Anglesey race winners Steven Reynolds/John Ridgeon, who were first of the Class B Clio's, with Blair Roebuck just 0.35 seconds further back in his Civic.

Issatt had terrible luck, with his MINI broken on the green flag lap, making a delayed start a necessity. As the red lights went out it was a slow start for Ainge/Cassar in the Integra, which dropped them down into 5th by the end of the 1st lap. Ainge drove a masterful (and gentlemanly) defence, using the strengths of his Integra to keep the pack behind him for some time. Windmill had made a clean getaway from 3rd on the grid but it was the Warburtons featherweight Golf that found it's way into the lead by the end of lap one, having performed well on cold tyres. Unfortunately their lead was to be short-lived, as the Golf pulled off at the back of the GP loop with a broken input shaft on the third lap, and retired from the race handing the lead to Windmill.

Garry Barlow had a superb first couple of laps, jumping from his start position of 11th up to 6th, where his was part of the pack trying to get past Ainge.

Carl Chambers got a good start and was running first of the Turbo cars, shadowed a few places back by the super-charged MINI of Charlie Newton-Darby who was slowly closing the gap until the pit window opened.

Blair Roebuck showed that you can be very competitive in the smaller-engined cars by making up 6 places on the first lap, passing his Recycled Racing team mate Shaun Ely in the process to end the first lap in 12th. Ely executed a well rehearsed pit-stop, the 2nd quickest stop of the Co-ordSport Tin Tops drivers, so he was able to gain some lost ground from the earlier part of the race and re-pass Roebuck to finish 8th overall and 5th within the Tin Tops.

The pit stops saw the three drivers of Windmill, Brown and Reynolds/Ridgeon having to serve a 30 second penalty from previous wins. Windmill's penalty, thanks to his win at the opening round at Snetterton, allowed Danny Cassar to come out fractionally ahead having taken over the wheel of the Integra from Nigel Ainge. Mark and Lewis Alexander Williams had another great race with their cars reliability issues now sorted to finish second in their class. The turbo-charged Civic shared by Dan Ludlow/Stuart Emmett had a strong race, finishing 4th of the Turbo Tin Tops (10th overall) having qualified down in 8th (22nd overall).

Jonathan and Tom Dee were going well early on in their Honda DC2, lapping in third place. They held the overall lead briefly as the pit window opened and were holding out for a late pit stop but a rare mistake at Paddock Hill caused a lock up and sent them into the gravel trap and out of the race. After a short safety car period to recover their stricken car, Cassar was able to edge away, with the others unable to match his speed, also setting a number of fastest laps, before easing back to save the car. The safety car did unfortunately produce a few penalties post-race, mostly by drivers mixing up which line was the control line and accidentally overtaking too soon on the re-start.

Congratulations to Nigel Ainge/Danny Cassar, taking the overall win by 13 seconds and the Co-ordSport Driver of the Day award for the Tin Tops. Carl Chambers took the Motorsports School Turbo Tin Tops series win, finishing 3rd overall too. A strong 2nd (5th on the road) for Charlie Newton-Darby, with John Wyatt 3rd (6th on the road).


Despite being last race, the Clerks (with help from you, the drivers) managed to get every minute of your race in, even managing to finish early.


Looking at the statistics it was interesting to see that over 3/4 of the field delivered their fastest lap in the second half of the race. This was perhaps due to a lack of testing opportunities, showing that the drivers were really getting to grips with the track by the end. Four Co-ordSport Tin Tops drivers clearly love the place so much they competed at the club's Indy event, on the Jubilee bank holiday. Well done to Manoj Patel, who finished first overall! It was great to see both normally-aspirated and forced-induction cars racing against each other on the same piece of tarmac, at both our Brands Hatch events.

For some, Spa Francorchamps is next, whilst Castle Combe is the next stand-alone round for both the Co-ordSport Tin Tops and Motorsports School Turbo Tin Tops. Will any of them be able to overcome their winners penalties at the Wiltshire circuit, or will a different overall winner emerge...?

 


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