Sports/Saloon Car Championship – Rounds 13 & 14 - Oulton Park
ROSE DOUBLE SECURED SECOND TITLE
Two wins from the back of the grid were enough to secure Paul Rose a second CNC Heads Sports Salons title in his Saker.
With Rose missing qualifying due to his Fun Cup duties at Donington, Andrew Southcott’s MG Modsport secured pole, by 0.385s from Steve Harris’ Saker. “I just maximised the opportunity and got two good clear laps,” said Southcott. “I had a problem with overheating, stopped on track and got a marshal to rip the tape off the front of the car, then carried on. Pretty uneventful but busy with traffic,” Harris added.
Danny Bird’s Spire GTR headed the second row in his Spire GTR. “A bit of vibration, lots of understeer, a bit slippery and lots of traffic,” he explained. He had Dave Harvey alongside, still in Joe Spencer’s Stuart Taylor Locosaki. “It seemed very greasy and I just wasn’t quick enough,” he said.
Luke Armiger was pleased with his session, very good apart from a late lock-up into Lodge, over the gravel and back on,” after setting fifth best time with his Vauxhall Tigra. The ongoing development of Paul Dobson’s Locost Mazda gave him sixth best. “There was a bit of oil down near the end, so I brought it in. I made a few tweaks and it’s going in the right direction,” he said. Paul and Jon Woolfitt shared row four, separated by only 0.537 secs, with Paul’s Lotus Exige just the quicker. “All good, I got a lap time that I wanted so pulled in to save for the race,” said Paul. Jon was happy too with his MK Indy, “no problem at all.”
Tony Ellis was back in his Gemini to head row five, with returnee Patrick Smyth sharing with his Lotus Elan.” It was a bit loose at the back, so we will change the tyre pressures,” said Ellis. Debutant Jack Young was next up in his Renault Clio, from Tim Foxlow’s Ford Escort RSR.” Fairly eventless, but my dash went out, so I didn’t know what I was doing. Seemed slow though,” said Foxlow.
Alex Kite was also out for the first time with an Audi TT, heading the seventh row from title contender Jamie Cryer’s Ginetta G20. “I liked being first out, so I could get going and it was fine,” said Cryer. Class rivals Steven Parker’s BMW and Paul Rotheroe’s Citroen Xsara were split by only 2/10ths. “It all seemed Ok,” said Parker.” I think I was half asleep, missing the apex, braking etc. The car was OK so we’ll see how it goes,” Rotheroe replied.
James Aukland returned in his trusty Capri, with Nicholas Bartlett’s BMW M3 alongside. “It suddenly opened up and I got some clear laps,” said Bartlett. Drew Myercough’s Caterham CSR and Chris Maries’ Honda Integra completed the top 20. “I was in trouble for yellow flags though,” Maries admitted. Ian Burrows was still next best despite ending his session in the tyre wall. “There were no brakes and I just went straight off at Lodge,” said the Toyota Celica driver. Although he had hoped to be slightly quicker, David Jones was happy with his Ford Focus. “Maybe a clear lap would have helped,” he reckoned.
The fight for class F went in Robert Wakelin’s favour, after the Honda Civic driver was nearly six seconds up on Clive Dix’s Ford Puma. “There was no more gunge in the fuel,” Wakelin admitted. Duncan Aukland’s Proton Putra and Tony Harman’s Ginetta G20 split Wakelin and Dix however. “I went off backwards at Druids on the last lap into the tyre wall, but got off lightly,” Aukland admitted.
Dix was out for the last time in his Puma though, “the brakes were not too good so they have to be bled before the race,” he explained. Bob Claxton’s VW Golf Gti, Helen Allen’s Ford Fiesta Zetec, Peter Koukoulas’ Toyota MR2 and Brian Allen’s Ford Puma were next up, before early casualties Ian Bruce’s Honda Civic Type R and Steve Rowles’ Westfield, “A driveshaft broke on my second lap so I had to come in,” said Bruce. “My brakes locked up into Cascades on the first lap, so I didn’t get round at all,” Rowles added. For Garry Wardle it was even worse. His Porsche had gearbox problems in testing, so he brought his Mini, which refused to start in the pit garage!
Harris opted for a pitlane start, which left Southcott solo on the front row, but on the very back was former champion Rose in his Saker. From the lights Southcott led into Old Hall, from Harvey, before Paul Woolfitt snatched second on the run down the Avenue. It had been a disaster for Jon Woolfitt though. “I had replaced a fuse and a wire came off. But by the time I fixed it the grid was formed,” he explained, after being black flagged for joining the race without coming under starters orders.
Both Southcott and Paul Woolfitt soon started to edge away, with Harvey slipping back to a solitary third. Bird managed to oust Armiger and Dobson on the second lap for fourth, while Smyth, Ellis, Foxlow and Kite completed the early top 10, with Rose already into 11th. The lead continued to grow after Southcott had started to shake-off Woolfitt. Armiger was right with Bird again in their duel for fourth, but Dobson had Rose closing in by the end of lap four, having taken Foxlow, Ellis and Smyth.
Out though had gone Burrows again, with Jones joining him on lap four. “The power steering and water pump belts had gone, it was going well until then,” said the Focus driver. Harris had made it up to 12th before he pitted to retire. “It was overheating again and I didn’t want to risk the new engine,” he said. Rowles had followed Harris through, but retired after four laps too. “I started well and was catching Tim, but the brakes worsened again. I hit them at Knickerbrook and swapped ends, spun and just missed the barrier,” he explained.
By lap five Rose was into fourth, with Harvey his next quarry. As the rest held station, Ellis had a surge which took him passed Smyth into eighth, while behind them Foxlow was having a great scrap with Kite and Young over 10th. Two laps later Harvey fell to Rose too, while the duelling Bird and Armiger had also swapped on the same lap, and Woolfitt soon followed. On lap nine Rose charged into the lead and went clear to win by nearly 16 seconds. “I thought Steve was leading though, I didn’t know he had pitted, so I was chasing fresh air, but enjoyed coming through the field,” he said.
But it was Woolfitt in second, after Southcott retired three laps from home. “Its 15 minute races where I come from, so it was five minutes plus a lap too long. I got a good start, but then near the end it started missing and the exhaust had broken, so I had to pit,” said the MG driver. It hadn’t been clear-cut for Woolfitt either however. “The clutch has gone again. It started slipping about four laps in, so I had to back off,” he explained. Harvey was delighted with his third place, “spot on, brilliant and gave Paul Woolfitt a run before we got split up,” he said.
Armiger finally settled in fourth. “Danny had let me go by and then came back at me in the last few laps. A good race though and the backmarkers behaved,” he said. Having battled racelong Bird fell to eighth with a lap to go. “As I turned in at Shell it just switched off and before that it wouldn’t come down the gears. I had got up the inside of Luke and had to back out too. I had understeered off at Knickerbrook too, so the grass made the oil temperature rise. I think the tyres had had it though,” he said. So Dobson and Ellis completed the top six, “I was gutted that Luke and Danny got away from me though, but I was playing with the handling,” said Dobson. Foxlow escaped from his three-way fight with Young and Kite to take seventh. “A great race with those two, made up for the lonely ones I have had this year,” he said.
Young and Kite had dropped back but followed Bird home to complete the top 10, while in 11th Cryer had taken another class E win, having comfortably kept Rotheroe and Parker at bay. “Disappointed I didn’t get class fastest lap and after the opening lap it was a bit lonely,” said Cryer. Rotheroe held onto second in class but had Parker closing rapidly at the end. “I held the gap to Jamie but couldn’t catch him, but had some pressure at the end,” said Rotheroe.
James Aukland pipped Smyth for 14th on the last lap and Myerscough was 16th after Bartlett retired. Maries, Harman and Bruce were next home before class F victor Wakelin. “The plan was to pace myself for once and make sure the tyres lasted and I got Clive at Druids,” said Wakelin. Duncan Aukland had managed to split the class F rivals, “I had a brake problem early on and then the clutch started going too,” said a disappointed Dix. Claxton, Helen Allen, Koukoulas and Brian Allen rounded off the finishers.
1 Paul Rose (Saker RAPX) 13 laps in 22m49.042s (92.02mph); 2 Paul Woolfitt (Lotus Exige) +15.989s; 3 Dave Harvey (Stuart Taylor Locosaki); 4 Luke Armiger (Vauxhall Tigra); 5 Paul Dobson (Locost Mazda); 6 Tony Ellis (Gemini Elva Mazda); 7 Tim Foxlow (Tim Foxlow); 8 Danny Bird (Spire GTR); 9 Jack Young (Renault Clio Cup); 10 Alex Kite (Audi TT).
Class A: 1 Rose; 2 James Aukland (Ford Capri); 3 Duncan Aukland (Proton Putra); no other finishers.
Class B: 1 Woolfitt; 2 Armiger; 3 Dobson; 4 Ellis; 5 Foxlow; 6 Patrick Smyth (Lotus Elan); 7 Drew Myerscough (Caterham CSR).
Class C: 1 Harvey; 2 Bird; no other starters.
Class D: 1 Young; 2 Kite; 3 Bob Claxton (VW Golf Gti); no other starters.
Class E: 1 Jamie Cryer (Ginetta G20; 2 Paul Rotheroe (Citroen Xsara VTS); ; 3 Steven Parker (BMW Compact); 4 Chris Maries (Honda Integra); 5 Tony Harman (Ginetta G20); 6 Ian Bruce (Honda Civic Type R); 7 Peter Koukoulas (Toyota MR2); 8 B.Allen.
Class F: 1 Robert Wakelin (Honda Civic); 2 Clive Dix (Ford Puma); 2 Wakelin; 3 Helen Allen; no other starters.
Fastest lap: Rose 1m40.431s (96.49).
With Harris starting from the pitlane again, Harvey was on his own on the front row, as Southcott was absent, along with Bartlett, Burrows, Smyth, Ellis and Dix, while joining Rose on the back, Wardle had finally got his Mini started. Harvey got off to a flying start and led the opening lap over Armiger, Bird, Dobson and Paul and Jon Woolfitt.
But Rose had flown through the order and was already seventh on lap two and closing rapidly, as the sextet ahead all changed places. Armiger and Bird had both demoted Harvey and Paul Woolfitt ousted Dobson from fourth. Woolfitt was also charging though and was soon into third and closing on the lead pair. Rose was fifth by lap five however and led a lap later, “I was delayed when a car spun in front of me at the first corner, but after that it was plain sailing,” he said after taking victory by 7.8 secs, sealing his second CNC Heads title.
Woolfitt consolidated his hold on second still further. But on lap five Armiger was down to fifth, before both he and Harvey fought back to claim third fourth respectively, after Bird lost ground. “I had put the front tyres on from qualifying, they were OK at first then just dropped off a cliff. I went straight on at Shell, through the gravel and back on,” said Bird.
Dobson held onto seventh from lap five, but had Bird closing in again at the finish, while Jon Woolfitt was a solitary seventh, with Young, Foxlow and Kite a lap down completing the top 10. Cryer led his class throughout again but had to settle for the class title and second overall from 11th place, but Parker’s eighth lap retirement handed 12th to Myerscough and second in class E to Rotheroe.
James Aukland, Maries, Harman and Duncan Aukland all held station from lap eight, with Wardle, and Bruce both ousting Jones on the last lap as they completed the top 20. Helen Allen took the class F spoils after Wakelin hit trouble with a suspected head gasket failure, he fell behind Koukoulas to, while Brian Allen completed the finishers. Both Steve Harris and Steve Rowles suffered a double retirement, Harris with an exhaust problem while Rowles snapped a rod on the front master cylinder.
1 Rose 13 laps in 23m02.151s (91.15mph); 2 P.Woolfitt +7.838s; 3 Harvey; 4 Armiger; 5 Dobson; 6 Bird; 7 Jon Woolfitt (MK Indy); 8 Young; 9 Foxlow; 10 Kite.
Class A: 1 Rose; 2 J.Aukland; 3 D.Aukland; no other finishers.
Class B: 1 P.Woolfitt; 2 Armiger; 3 Dobson; 4 J.Woolfitt; 5 Foxlow; 6 Myerscough.
Class C: 1 Harvey; 2 Bird; no other starters;
Class D: 1 Young; 2 Kite; 3 Garry Wardle (Mini Cooper S); no other starters.
Class E: 1 Cryer; 2 Rotheroe; 3 Maries; 4 Harman; 5 Bruce; 6 David Jones (Ford Focus); 7 Koukoulas; 8 B.Allen.
Class F: 1 H.Allen; 2 Wakelin; no other starters.
Fastest lap: Rose 1m42.096s (94.92mph).
Published by Peter Scherer for BARC (NW) October 22nd 2018.