Two red flags, three safety car periods and only just over a dozen racing laps that actually counted meant there was little British Formula 4 action of note at Snetterton. But, from the limited competition there was, it was a good weekend for Dion Gowda as he narrowed the gap to his Rodin Carlin team-mate Louis Sharp in the standings.
There were two attempts at running the first race before it was ultimately abandoned (it’s now slated for Donington Park in August). The first red flag followed five drivers getting into strife and cars littering various parts of the circuit. Then, on the restart, Daniel Guinchard suffered a heavy crash that demolished the barriers at Coram after he careered off with suspension failure.
Race two then featured just five racing laps but there was delight for Virtuosi’s Aqil Alibhai as he rose from seventh on the reversed grid to become the sixth different winner from seven races. “It was about keeping my nose clean and not making any mistakes,” said the South African, who was among the victims of the race-one drama.
Gowda then led the processional finale throughout to head home Kanato Le despite the Japanese closing when the leader locked up and ran wide at Wilson on the final tour.
Two wins and a fourth made for a great weekend for Zelos in Mini Challenge
Photo by: Jakob Ebrey
Two JCW champions, a Cooper class title winner and the son of a British Touring Car conqueror put on a champion fight for third in the Mini Challenge finale, which proved to be the highlight of the category’s Snetterton weekend.
Graves Motorsport’s Nelson King was crowned a JCW winner for the first time after heading Joe Tanner throughout from the partially reversed-grid pole, but all eyes were focused on the battle to complete the podium.
Excelr8’s Bradley Gravett initially held the place after pouncing on team-mate Dan Zelos into the Wilson Hairpin on the first lap but Zelos wanted to add to his two wins on home Tarmac earlier in the weekend and challenged into Wilson on lap five. He attempted to brave it around the outside of Gravett at Turn 3 and down into Agostini but, while they squabbled, guesting 2022 champion Sam Weller dived down the inside and Dominic Wheatley also snuck ahead.
However, Weller’s grasp on third proved brief as, two laps later, Wheatley passed him on the inside at Wilson. But there was to be no final act as the race was red-flagged with two minutes left on the clock, some two laps after Barry Ward clouted the Coram barriers.
There had not been not quite so much excitement in the opening two bouts as Zelos held a comfortable advantage to defeat Tanner each time. “I really wanted to get that chip off my shoulder of not winning at home,” he said, delighted at having a trouble-free weekend. While Zelos won by just under a second in race one, Tanner remained closer second time around, although Zelos ominously still reckoned he had “another 5% in me, if I needed it”.
As Zelos finally scored three strong results on a weekend, it was title rival Will Orton’s turn to strike misfortune. The Hybrid Tune driver was demoted by team-mate Tanner at the start of the opener and had to settle for third. He then failed to finish the other two races after his engine overheated following radiator damage and he had similar woe in race three. All that means Zelos now enjoys a 44-point lead as he seeks to claim another championship.
There was no stopping Lay all weekend at Snetterton in Radical Cup
Photo by: Jakob Ebrey
There was no disputing who was the star of Radical Motorsport’s first appearance on the British Touring Car support bill, as James Lay triumphed all three times at Snetterton last weekend.
The reigning SR3 champion moved to Doris Motorsport for the Norfolk event and quickly seemed at home, even if Ben Caisley did pip him to pole by 0.033 seconds.
Caisley sprinted clear from the rolling start but was deemed to have gained too much of an advantage and was handed a 10s penalty. This ultimately proved irrelevant as Lay blasted past at Agostini and 2021 SR1 champion Daryl DeLeon also snuck ahead at Wilson on lap two. The leading trio had a huge advantage over the rest of the field, meaning Caisley still finished 22s ahead of Jacek Zielonka in fourth, despite the penalty.
Race two proved a little closer, with Caisley challenging Lay into Riches and staying in his rival’s wheel-tracks for much of the contest – but he was never quite able to make a move. And Lay completed a dominant hat-trick in the pitstop finale, benefiting from his lack of success penalty time during his stop to win by 28s, clear of a very close fight between Chris Preen and DeLeon. “I went well here last year but I’m in a different car with a new team, which makes it even better,” said a delighted Lay.
Things were much tighter in the SR1 class in the opener as Theo Micouris was right on the tail of former British GT racer Tom Wood throughout. He challenged into Oggies on the final tour, tapping the rear of Wood, but it was to no avail. Micouris fought back to head races two and three more comfortably.
Am driver Warren scored two overall victories in the Porsche Sprint Challenge
Photo by: Jakob Ebrey
The close races at the Donington Park opener had suggested there were plenty of victory candidates in the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB this year. But there was no real hint that Am competitor Marc Warren would be one of them.
Yet the Raceway Motorsport driver impressively won two of the three contests in Norfolk. Warren showed he was in the mix by qualifying on the front row for the opener. But it was not long before he was shuffled back as he ran slightly wide at Riches and then spun at Wilson when battling Steve Roberts. Redline driver Roberts went on to pressurise team-mate Toby Trice but was unable to find a way through.
Joe Warhurst was third on the road but picked up two track-limits penalties (one later rescinded as he did not receive a warning flag) and that promoted Will Jenkins to the podium.
Warren said he “learned so much” in the opener and put that to good use when starting from pole in race two to lead throughout, although a lengthy safety car period did limit Matthew Armstrong’s ability to challenge. And Warren was brilliant again in race three to again defy Team Parker racer Armstrong and complete a remarkable event, with points leader Roberts scoring another third.
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