Snetterton Qualifying Report

The Slidesports Audi TT of Simon Walton lines up on pole at Snetterton for the VW Racing Cup. He claimed the car still had half a second under him, with the Audi’s favouring the long straights that the Norfolk circuit is famous for. He will be joined on the front row by Rob Allum whose lap was all the more impressive as he’s carrying 32kg ballast from last weekend.

The Audi TT’s had been the cars to beat during testing and prior to the red flag, S. Walton had been fastest driver. Brett Smith and Mark Wakefield’s car failures had brought a temporary stop to proceedings, with Wakefield being towed back to the pits after his clutch snapped.

With two major drivers out of contention, Tony Prendergast took his turn at the top. The local driver surprising many with his pace as the track rubbered in. Walton was of course not far behind, as Simon bettered the JW Bird Motorsport drivers benchmark by 1.2 seconds. The Stockton-on-Tees driver extended this gap the following lap, putting him out of reach of those behind. He eventually set a 2min 05.386, an unbeatable 1.319 seconds ahead of the second place driver.

 

Walton may have locked out first, but the battle for second was still very much alive. Martin Depper was the first to beat Prendergast, but this dropped further, with Josh Coggan and then Rob Allum bettering their times. Allum’s lap, with under two minutes left of the session, proved to be enough for second, even grabbing the fastest first sector in his final run.

Third will be Josh Coggan in the DW Racing Golf. The #12 lies third in the championship coming into this weekend and further podiums will be on the young Nottinghamshire drivers mind. Martin Depper will join him on the second row, just behind his championship rival.

Prendergast would be fifth for his best qualifying of the year. The local Lowestoft driver was the highest placed Hankook Trophy competitor (for drivers who haven’t picked up a VW Cup podium prior to this season). The result ensures that five different teams occupy the first five places on the grid. He’ll be joined on the third row by his JW Bird teammate Matt Evans.

Dan Crossley had been as high as second early in the session, though settles for seventh tomorrow, under a tenth faster than Lewis Smith in the Maximum Motorsport Scirocco. Owen Walton, carrying full ballast, could not match the performance of his father, lining up ninth. If he sheds the cars additional weight for race two, the points leader will be a favourite for the win. Completing the top ten is rookie star Jack Depper.

Behind them, Russell Joyce was eleventh ahead of Richard Gilbert, Mark Steel and Michael Jones who rounds out the seventh row. Both Wakefield and Brett Smith will be present for the first race tomorrow and should be the drivers to watch as they fight from the back row.

“It’s one of those tracks where you’ve got have a lot of balls and a lot of late braking. At a lot of tracks, breaking late doesn’t work, but here it does,” said polesitter Simon Walton.

“I still had half a second left, though I was also ballast free, so that helped me. My son had 60kg, but even with that run, I wasn’t up to full potential there. I was trying to get a better time and I was just losing it at Agostini through overdriving. I was determined personally to beat last years time, but sadly I didn’t, though happy with pole.”

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