CLOSE RACING SEES CHRIS PANAYIOTOU TAKE RACE ONE WIN
By Andrea Hurcombe, Jun 17 2018 02:50PM
After two warm-up laps the drivers formed the grid. With the red lights on, both the pole-sitter Ruaridh Clark and Panayiotou crept forward before the lights went out, eager to get going. Clark maintained the lead into the Paddock Hill Bend with Panayiotou close behind. Behind were Simon Walton and Jamie Bond battling for 4th and 5th place. Mark Steel had a spin at Graham Hill Bend, re-joining the track.
Panayiotou took the lead on lap 4 at Paddock Hill Bend with close contact between himself and Clark at Graham Hill Bend.
Across the start/finish straight Paul Taylor, Owen Walton and Tom Walker were three abreast and they continued to closely challenge each other for the duration of the race. Ethan Hammerton in 3rd place was being challenged by Bond who won out into Paddock Hill Bend.
With Taylor and O. Walton battling for position, Toby Davis was able to overtake Walton with Hammerton dropping to 5th place. The black and white flag was given to Car 12, Josh Coggan, for exceeding track limits. Matthew Evans slid into Graham Hill Bend, kicking up some dust. Dennis Strandberg was able to move up to 7th place.
With 6 minutes of the race to go, there was only 0.555 between to top two. Hammerton went off track at Graham Hill Bend, going straight on and through the gravel. Crawling along the grass, he was able to get the car back to the pits. The next car to take a trip into the gravel was Simon Walton, with Mark Steel taking another wide line into Graham Hill Bend. The Power Maxed cars of Taylor and Tom Witts took to the gravel down Hailwood Hill on the last lap of the race.
The final result saw Panayiotou (Maximum Motorsport) claim the top podium step with Ruaridh Clark (JWB Motorsport) 0.381 seconds behind in 2nd and Jamie Bond (Team HARD.) in 3rd. The Hankook Trophy was awarded to Josh Coggan.
*Post race amendment. 3rd - Simon Walton, 4th - Jamie Bond*
Panayiotou said, “I’m glad that we did 2 warm -up laps. I think it would have been mayhem if we’d only done one. I knew we had a good car, we didn’t change anything from qualifying. Ruaridh is quick and I knew I had to try and keep him behind me and it was going to be a close fight. He had the pace through Paddocks and Druids and I think Surtees and Clearways is where I felt I had the legs on him but he’s a fair racer. You love racing with people who are fair and if there is a clear opportunity you both want to get it.”
Clark said, “It was a bit frustrating as I really wanted that first win, but these things happen. To be fair to him, Chris did a really good race, but I was trying so hard. He drove such a good race, I take my hat off to him. He won it fair and square. Chris got the fastest lap, but I think it was by only half a tenth which is nothing. We will have ballast in the next race, so we will see what happens with that. I’m saving my champagne bottle for later!” (Ruaridh confessed that he’s never opened a bottle of champagne yet!)
The grid for Race 2 sees Dennis Strandberg (Team HARD.) on pole with his Team-mate Toby Davis behind him and Simon Walton (Slidesports) in 3rd.