Racing Results 2010
Round 8 Rockingham: 30 August 2010
- Grahame Tilley takes his first Eurosaloons race win
- Class wins for Simon Deaton, Joss Ronchetti, Ian Craig and Stewart Calder
- James May extends championship lead over Nick Hayes but it’s just 4 points with 2 rounds to go
Bank Holiday weekend usually means rain, but the weather at the Rockingham Speedway remained bright and dry with temperatures cool enough for racing and warm enough for spectating.
With Rockingham having a 1.94 mile lap length, even the 20 driver entry meant that finding space for a decent qualifying lap should not have been an issue. Rex Stamp (Lotus Exige) and the class C Joss Ronchetti (Talbot Lotus Sunbeam) made the early running in the chase for pole, but Grahame Tilley (Saker GT) responded a lap later with a quicker lap before coming into the pits. Back out again, and Tilley got faster, finally setting a pole time almost a second quicker than Stamp, with Ronchetti a further 0.6 behind, but taking class C pole in his first Eurosaloons race of the season.
Andy Robinson was back in Class A with his 7 litre Ford Falcon which was awesome on the oval section of the track, and struggling with traction on the infield, but still Robinson qualified 4th. Ilsa Cox (Seat Leon) took the Class B pole and 6th overall, Simon Deaton in a similar car was 2 places further back, just a quarter of a second shy of Cox’s time. Championship leaders James May and Nick Hayes (Seat Leons) were separated by just 1/5 second back in 11th and 12th, so would line up side by side on the grid in their similar cars.
Steve Wood (MINI Cooper S) had elected to run in Class D but appeared to be no match for Ian Craig (BMW M3) who took the Class D pole. Just two Renault Clio Cup cars were entered in Class E with Stewart Calder narrowly getting the better of David Pierce, but again they would line up on the grid side by side with fellow Class E competitors Yaser Almaghribi (Daihatsu Charade) and Simon Jackson (out in Pongo the Vauxhall Nova after his Castle Combe crash) lined up at the rear of the grid.
Many people expected power to tell from the start and for Robinson’s Ford Falcon to hit the front from the start. Robinson didn’t disappoint as he stormed round the outside of turn 1 to take the lead from Stamp while Tilley got away slowly. Another to make a blistering start was Charlie Jackson (Escort Cosworth) who launched up from 5th on the grid to close on Robinson and Stamp. Stopping the Falcon for the hairpin proved more of an issue and both Robinson and Stamp ran wide allowing Tilley, Jackson and Ronchetti to get by them. Half way round the lap, Ronchetti ran wide and lost a few places promoting Robinson and Stamp back to 3rd and 4th. Before Stamp passed Robinson on the infield, the Falcon unable to put the power down. Lap 1 finished with Tilley leading by 3.7 seconds from Jackson with Stamp ½ second further back and already a couple of seconds clear of Robinson.
More first lap drama, Ilsa Cox lost a front wing clipping the back of Stamp’s Exige, while former championship leader Kevin Wendt (BMW M3) pulled off the track to retire. And that was just the drama at the front end of the pack, at the rear the two Clios were already setting their store for the race running side by side through the first part of the infield before Pierce got the better of Calder to make his move stick.
Stamp got by Jackson on lap 2 and started to close visibly on Tilley at the front, soon getting the gap down to 2.5 seconds, but Tilley seemed to have the race under his control and was able to maintain a consistent gap, even when lapping traffic later in the race before taking his first Eurosaloons win from Stamp by 1.6 seconds, Stamp pulling back a second in the final two laps. Ronchetti got past Robinson powering out of the Turn 3 on lap 2, and moved up into 3rd place at the expense of Jackson on lap 5, but the little Sunbeam was now 10 seconds down on Tilley and unable to match the pace that Tilley and Stamp were showing up front. Jackson looked to have 4th place sewn up, by lap 10 he was 8 seconds clear of 5th placed Robinson, but Jackson’s pace dropped over the next two laps and Robinson passed Jackson on lap 12, ending that lap 5 seconds ahead! Jackson had the misfortune to retire on the final lap from 5th place.
In Class B, the two Seat Leons were having a cracking race, running nose to tail just behind Chris Huntley’s Class A Subaru Impreza, but the wing damage to Cox’s car was causing aero problems down the oval where Deaton would pull away every lap, and then on the infield section she would close up every lap. Deaton finally broke free when he passed Huntley on lap 12 on his way to his first class win of the season, some set up work and instruction working well for him.
Ronchetti’s third place left him an easy Class C winner, but championship protagonists May and Hayes had their own battle for overall points. May made a break on lap 3 when he got by Ian Craig (Class D BMW M3) and by the time Hayes got by a couple of laps later, may had a healthy lead which he was to maintain to the end to get second in class and gain 2 points over Hayes for the day. Craig took an easy Class D win, Wood’s MINI Cooper S not proving quick enough to trouble it’s big (BMW) brother.
The Class E battle went to the line, after Pierce took the advantage on the first run infield, the two Clios were regularly side by side between Turns 2 and 3 each lap. With one lap to go, Calder finally made a move stick only for Pierce to get back again starting the final lap. And just when Pierce thought the class win was his, he outbraked himself into Turn 2 letting Calder back through, Calder taking the class win by 0.4 seconds at the end
James May increases his lead in the championship from 2 points to 4 over Nick Hayes (146--142), while Ilsa Cox is right up there just 6 points further back in 3rd place with just two rounds and three races to go. With Soper, Chilton and Cockell sitting out this round, Rex Stamp moves into the lead in Class A. Simon Deaton's win moves him into second in Class B on 92 but some way adrift of leader Ilsa Cox on 136. Another win for Stewart Calder sees him extend his Mark Fish Motorsport Clio Cup Challenge lead 118 points to David Pierce on 82 points. Another big points haul saw Seat extend their lead from Renault 614-386 in the MSE-Performance.com Manufacturers Cup. With just the Anglesey double header round to come, Ilsa Cox leads Richard Hawken 124-86 in the Arrowpak Super Touring Cup.
With support from :
Mark Fish Motorsport, MSE-Performance.com & LMA Performance