Godfrey claims victory at Pembrey as Bennett takes points lead
Julian Godfrey (Heathfield) became the third different British RX winner in as many events by claiming victory in the third round of Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship at Pembrey Circuit in South Wales, in a dominant display [June 25].
The former champion started on pole position for the final by virtue of setting a pair of fastest times in the qualifying stages. He fended off early pressure from Oliver Bennett (Bristol) to pull out a convincing lead, enough to take his joker on the final lap and secure victory by almost six seconds at the finish.
"I had a really good day. I was able to set fastest time in Q2 and Q3 and took the lead after the first corner in the final," said Godfrey. "The new track at Pembrey is really nice, especially in the wet conditions in the morning it flows really well. It's really good to get a win here and close the gap in the points. I haven't won since Pembrey last year, so it’s great to stand on the top step again.The car had no problems at all and I'm looking forward to going to (the next round at) Mondello Park."
Another fast and consistent performance for Bennett netted him a front-row start for the final, from where he made the best start as the lights turned green but had to concede position to Godfery at the first corner. The Ford Fiesta driver’s second successive podium in his maiden season in the sport moves him into the championship lead.
The third podium position went the way of round one winner Nathan Heathcote (Ashford), who fought back from retiring from Q1 and not starting Q2. Fortunate to scrape onto the back of the grid, he climbed up the order through a well-timed joker lap strategy. He passed James Grint (Kimpton) for third when the returnee driver took his joker on lap five.
On the eagerly awaited debut of the Spencer Sport Mitsubishi Mirage Supercar, Grint finished fourth, with Andy Grant (Barnstaple) making a welcome return to the Championship, qualifying on the front row for the final and ending the day in fifth place. Mad Mark Watson (Barnard Caste) had a solid day in South Wales, as the Pembrey Circuit ran on it’s new-for-2017 rallycross layout in British RX for the first time.
The Citroen Xsara campaigner won his first race of the day and set competitive times to finish the event sixth. Neither Steve Hill (Thame) or Warren Scott (Buntingford) finished the final, Hill was forced out with a rear puncture sustained on the opening lap, while Scott retired with a misfire. It was a character building day for the ex-BTCC racer. A racing incident meant his Q1 race had to be restarted, and he was then forced to retire when an engine bay fire broke out in his Citroen DS3. Forced to miss Q2, it looked like Scott’s day was run, but hard work from the LD Motorsports team repaired the car and Scott was able to set a competitive time in Q3 to make it into the final. Not so lucky was the third LD Motorsports DS3 of Jake Harris (Canewdon), who was forced to retire after the fuel tank in his car became damaged early in the day.
Kevin Procter (Northallerton) set about making up for missing out on victory in the opening two rounds of the year at Pembrey, and was fastest in Q1. Rear differential problems in Q2 meant the Yorkshireman would take no further part. It was also a challenging day for the Championship leader heading into the event, Ollie O’Donovan (Iver), who missed Q1 due to a broken upright then retired from Q3 with driveshaft issues and was out for the day.
Bellerby racks up Supernational hat-trick
Points leader Paige Bellerby (Northallerton) won the third round of the MSA Supernational Rallycross Championship in a drag race to the finish line with title-rival Tristan Ovenden (Canterbury), and extended her margin at the top of the standings. Ovenden led the final on the opening lap but spun on the loose section and was forced to fight his way back through the field. Despite losing significant time, the Renault Clio V6 driver closed on Bellerby’s Lotus Exige on the final lap, after a decisive move on Todd Crooks (Royston), but could find no way past Bellerby, the pair finishing less than three-hundredths- of-a-second apart at the finish.
Crooks complimented his third place in round two at Lydden Hill with another podium finish, despite having to effect substantial repairs to his BMW Mini throughout the day. Rear-wheel drive Vauxhall Corsa racer Allan Tapscott (Umberleigh) finished fourth, with Vincent Bristow (Hastings) fifth and Kirk Twyman (Nottingham) sixth. Regular front-runners Tony Lynch (Wigan) and Guy Corner (Northallerton) went out in the semi-final stages.
Llewellin scores yet another Junior RX win
Welshman Tom Llewellin (Haverfordwest) remains unbeaten in every MSA Junior Rallycross Championship event he has ever competed in, by claiming victory at his home round of the series at Pembrey. Llewellin faced a stiff challenge in the qualifying stages of the event, beaten off the start line on several occasions but was able to fight his way back through the order to qualify on pole position and win his third event of the year.
Tom Constantine (Richmond) posed the biggest threat to Llewellin through the day, and seized the lead on the opening lap of the final before Llewellin took the advantage at turn three. As Constantine dropped back with technical issues, Llewellin cruised to victory, while Norwegian driver Ole Henry Steinsholt (Norway) scored his best result of the season so far in second and Morgan Wroot (Doncaster) scored his second podium finish in the Championship. James Constantine (Dalton-on-Tees) was fourth with Tom Middleton (Maldon) fifth and Ethan Rees (Llanelli) completing the top six at his home event.
Ovenden and Coney remain on top
For the second event in a row, Simon Ovenden (Canterbury) scored victory in the single-make Swift Sport Rallycross Championship by leading the final from the exit of the first corner to the finish flag. Rob Shield (Cleasby) made the best start from the front row of the grid but lost out at turn one and ran second for the entire race, just maintaining the position after his last lap joker. Chris Woollett (Herstmonceux) and Morgan Bailey (Lincoln) took their jokers on lap one and ran nose-to-tail throughout, Woollett claiming the final podium spot.
Chrissy Palmer (Chichester) returned to his winning ways in the RX150 Championship, leading home fellow double-champion Marc Scott (Dumfries) in the final on Scott’s return to the series. Palmer won each of the qualifying races and the final, while title-rival John Ward (Dublin) completed the podium having fought off a challenge from Kirk Langley (Liverpool).
Paul Coney (Dartford) won again in the amalgamated Super1600 / BMW Mini / Hot Hatch category with his Vauxhall Corsa as Craig Lomax (Knottingley) finished second having rolled in round two at Lydden Hill and caused significant damage to his Citroen C2. The Yorkshireman held off the similar car of Phil Chicken (Barnsely), while Drew Bellerby (Northallerton) was fourth in the final and best of the BMW Minis ahead of former champion, David Bell (Ferryhill). BMW Mini title protagonist Martin Hawkes (Stockton on Tees) went out in the semi-finals with a puncture.
Roger Thomas (Llandysul) won on his debut in the Retro Rallycross Championship, racing his Group B MG Metro 6R4. Thomas led throughout the final, chased by the hard charging Ray Morgan (Hastings) while Irish driver Kevin Feeney (Hayes) drifted his way around the Pembrey Circuit to a podium finish.
Full results can be found on here.
Highlights of the MSA British Rallycross Championship will be broadcast on BT Sport, Motorsport.TV and online in 2017.
The next rounds of the MSA British Rallycross Championship takes place at Mondello Park in Ireland [July 22-23].