This past weekend was the opening round of the new 2016 BTCC season. Almost 100 drivers were in attendance, the classes were the same as last year, 17.5 Blinky, 13.5 Boosted and Modified.
Most drivers decided to attend the practice day on Saturday, this saw approximately 75% of the field turn up to get their cars dialled in.
What was to greet us all though was a little shock to the system, snow on the way to the venue, followed by some light rain, followed by a breezy and sunny day. However by about Midday the cars were putting in more and more laps on the very fast Cotswolds circuit, therefore the track was drying and a racing line was starting to appear. Therefore the lap times got quicker and quicker.
A brilliant job by the Cotwsolds club, they have invested in several areas and improved various things like the sound equipment, sections of the track and also put up some flat screen tv monitors in the pitting area so everyone can see their performance.
So on to race day on Sunday morning, Race Director Stephen Fabray, Gareth Coates from the club and Schumacher's Mark Musgrove gave the drivers the usual drivers briefing and explained the procedures for the day.
The format for the day was 4 rounds of qualifying with round by round and then 1 final for everyone.
The track was dry and the sun even kept making an appearance, however the wind was very strong and you could see it was affecting the handling of the cars on certain parts of the track.
Qualifying began and it was very close in most of the race classes.
In the 17.5 blinky class Dominic Skinner went quickest in the last 2 rounds of qualifying to put his car on pole position for the final. In the 13.5 boosted class, Schumacher's James Hart also did the same in the last 2 rounds to line up on pole position. While in the Modified class, Olly Jefferies set TQ in all 4 rounds to secure pole position for himself.
After some superb close racing throughout the day, it was then on to the finals for even more great close racing!
Dominic Skinner had a great close race with Jack Campfield in 17.5, however it was Jack who came through from 3rd on the grid to take a great win after a superb overtake on Dominic.
The A Final results were as follows:
17.5 Blinky Result Ave.Lap Best Lap 1 Jack Campfield 16/313.93 19.62 19.15 2 Dominic Skinner 16/314.44 19.65 19.23 3 Daniel Booker 16/318.13 19.88 19.54 4 Michael Ball 15/301.32 20.08 19.45 5 James Stewart 15/302.49 20.16 19.53 6 David Usher 15/304.91 20.32 19.88 7 Oli Meggitt 15/308.33 20.55 19.80 8 Adrian Sully 15/312.74 20.84 20.43 9 Dave Ringsell 15/316.15 21.07 20.07 10 Chris Graco 15/319.74 21.31 20.21
Click here to watch the video of this 17.5 race:
James Hart lead from start to finish to take a great win in 13.5, he had the gap fairly consistent all race and Zak Finlay no matter how hard he tried, couldn't get close enough to challenge James.
13.5 Boosted Result Ave.Lap Best Lap 1 James Hart 18/304.17 16.89 16.50 2 Zak Finlay 18/305.36 16.96 16.36 3 Jimmy Maddison 18/308.07 17.11 16.53 4 Mark Wallace 18/312.27 17.34 17.11 5 Chris Gunter 18/315.53 17.52 16.99 6 Ben Cane 17/301.39 17.72 17.21 7 Alex Brocklebank 17/302.49 17.79 17.34 8 Richard King 17/306.78 18.04 17.38 9 Lee Price 17/310.80 18.28 17.11 10 Daniel Blake 17/311.85 18.34 17.41
Click here to watch the video of this 13.5 race:
Olly Jefferies drove a fantastic race to take a flag to flag victory, however it wasn't all plain sailing, as you will see in the video, a car towards the back of the field makes a huge mistake in the middle of the track and rolls across the track and almost wipes out Olly as he comes through after the main straight! Chris Grainger was also unlucky as he got collected by a back marker, trying to move wide and out of his way, unfortunately they both go for the same piece of tarmac and the collision takes place!
Modified Result Ave.Lap Best Lap 1 Olly Jefferies 20/314.45 15.72 15.58 2 Elliott Harper 19/302.60 15.92 15.88 3 Chris Grainger 19/307.28 16.17 15.75 4 Matthew White 19/310.40 16.33 15.76 5 Colin Price 19/311.08 16.37 15.91 6 Zak Smith 19/312.49 16.44 16.13 7 Paul Pinkney 18/302.91 16.82 16.18 8 David Hall 18/305.02 16.94 16.44 9 Marcus Askell 18/316.10 17.56 16.24 10 Harley Eldridge 17/301.25 17.72 16.32
Watch all of the action from the Modified A Final here:
As you can see, some extremely close racing in the finals.
After all of the racing had taken place, we did the traditional trophy and sweet presentation and also the famous Schumacher raffle, congratulations to all the lucky winners of the prizes.
As always a massive thank you to all that attended the event. A huge thank you to the Cotswolds club, to all of the great team of people for putting on a great enjoyable event with us, also to Kris Kennedy for his commentary in the Finals.
What a fantastic way to start off the new season, the bar is set now for the rest of our series.
The next round we travel to the Adur circuit on Sunday 29th May. We hope to see you all there for a fantastic weekend. Booking in at: www.centralbooking.org