Second race at Donington opens the door for exciting title fight
At Donington Park this morning the penultimate race of the season left us with no clear champion, even after a 20 minute dash for the finish that saw Harry Tincknell (Carlin) take another victory over Pipo Derani (Fortec Motorsport) and Pietro Fantin (Carlin). The National Class went to returnee Hywel Lloyd (C F Racing), holding off newly crowned category champion Richard “Spike” Goddard (T-Sport) all the way to the flag.
At the start everyone seemed to get away cleanly with Felix Serralles (Fortec Motorsport) in particular making a good start to move from 5th to 3rd as they reached Redgate for the first time. In the pack, Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin) had passed Alex Lynn (Fortec Motorsport), the latter picking up a puncture that left him out of control. As a result he whacked into the side of Jaafar, wiping out himself and the series leader on the spot. It’s fair to say that Jaafar was less than happy with the Englishman judging from the exchange that took place behind the barriers.
The inevitable result of all that was that the Safety Car had to be deployed, staying out for a good 5 minutes of what was only a 20 minute race to start with. Tincknell settled in to lead the pack round, with Derani, Serralles, Fantin, Hannes van Asseldonk (Fortec Motorsport), Jack Harvey (Carlin), Rupert Svendsen-Cook (Double R Racing), Nick McBride (ThreeBond with T-Sport), Geoff Uhrhane (Double R Racing) and Lloyd making up the top 10. 11th was Goddard, heading up Pedro Pablo Calbimonte (T-Sport) and Duvashen Padayachee (Double R Racing).
As the news flashed up to say that the incident between Lynn and Jaafar would be investigated after the race, the Safety Car lights went out and the race went live. Tincknell controlled it nicely to hold his lead, while behind him no one seemed inclined to make a break for it. However, Fantin soon started to put the pressure on Serralles for 3rd, taking a look at Goddards but failing to get close enough. He was still close though and Serralles was in the tricky situation of wanting to pass Derani but not being able to take too many risks for fear of losing his place to Fantin.
All of this was letting Tincknell get away, which he was quite happy to do, setting a new fastest lap as he extended his lead. Behind him it was quite clear that Fantin really wanted to pass Serralles – and equally clear that Serralles really didn’t want him to. To add to Serralles’ problems, the battling pair had also been caught by van Asseldonk and Harvey was lurking just behind him. Further back Svendsen-Cook was yet again being plagued by Australians though he seemed to be leaving Uhrhane behind this time.
Serralles responded to the pressure by setting a new fastest lap, but then seemed to hesitate, perhaps missing a gear or something. That was enough and Fantin went through. Serralles tried to come back at him into Goddards but it didn’t work and he had to let the Brazilian go, especially as he almost immediately came under pressure from van Asseldonk, having to go very wide to defend himself into Redgate.
With National Class leader Lloyd under investigation for his restart, Tincknell set a new fastest lap only to have it taken from him by Fantin, who was now flying as he chased down Derani in an effort to wrest 2nd from his countryman, while behind him the field began to spread out, only Goddard managing to stay on Lloyd’s tail all the way to the flag.
Tincknell came home with a couple of seconds in hand, while Derani just pipped Fantin to 2nd by a whisker, with Serralles 4th from van Asseldonk, Harvey, Svendsen-Cook, McBride and Uhrhane. National Class winner Lloyd was 10th by the slimmest of margins from Goddard, with Calbimonte and Padayachee bringing up the rear.
Harvey now leads the championship by 3 points (with a total of 299 points to his name) from Serralles (with 296 points) while Jaafar was lucky to end up only 5 points adrift. It is all to play for in this afternoon’s 40-minute feature race.
The fastest laps of the race were set by Fantin and Goddard.
Weather: Blustery, cool, dry.
Story by: Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas