Clubman Endurance Championship 2013, Rd.3
Having dominated the last round at Bayford, CD30 were delighted to find out they were responsible for a new rule that prevents stand-in drivers from qualifying. With a number of premier drivers competing at Clubman level, this is probably a better rule than that silly one about swapping front tyres on post-qualifying kart changes.
With Trevor Randall looking more and more likely to stay at 3Cubed for the duration of this year, Jamie Crease at AAA-lakart and now Carl Tebbutt in at Akita V2, these three teams are definitely favourites for the Clubman title this year. Pantera Racing, sporting Premier has-been Andy Cowell, are also a team capable of challenging for wins. However, with 3Cubed one of a number of Clubman teams forced to start from the back of the grid and an average qualifying performance from Pantera, AAA-lakart took pole from the 3 Stokers. Akita V2 were third with good performances from ESR Motorsport and SMJ Racing putting them fourth and fifth.
The 3 Strokers didn’t make the best of starts and dropped down to fourth. AAA-lakart led the way on the opening lap with Akita V2 hot on their heels. Keen As Mustard were a first lap casualty, getting fired off and dropping to the tail of the field. ESR Motorsport and 3 Strokers began a battle for third that lasted for the first few laps until the latter started to open up a gap.
AAA-lakart continued to lead Akita during the first stint and these two eased ahead of the chasing pack. However, a slow first pit stop dropped them to third, several seconds behind. Akita V2 took full advantage and started extending their lead over the 3 Strokers, who now had AAA-lakart breathing down their necks. SMJ Racing’s day hit trouble and they dropped down to 29th. Auditing Armageddon had also hit problems and found themselves near the back of the pack. Keen As Mustard’s day wasn’t getting any better.
A team having no such dramas was 3Cubed. They were making stunning progress from the back of the grid and were up to fourth. Pantera Racing were showing a good turn of speed and running well in the top five ahead of KAD Racing. ESR Motorsport had lost out badly during the pit stop phase and dropped out of contention.
As the race wore on, the top for exchanged places. Akita’s day was complicated when they got tangled up with premier outfit Tanked Up which cost them the lead. This handed the position to the 3 Strokers. Ray Norris had done an excellent job in his opening double stint and by half distance they had a good 10 second lead. However, Akita were on top form and closing the gap down lap by lap. AAA-lakart and 3Cubed were in close company and battling for the final spot on the podium.
Behind the leading quartet, Go Big or Go Home were having a very competitive day. Pantera Racing were still in the mix and on course for some solid points. InkJet Racing looked a little off colour as they fought in the mid-field with the likes of KAD Racing, Auditing Armageddon and Burichi Racing. Mullender Associates and SMJ Racing were ahead of CD30 who were not enjoying the same level of success they had at Bayford.
Despite a few dark clouds coming over later in the race and a few small spots of rain falling, the track remained dry and continued to get quicker throughout the race. Well, unless your name is Simon Alcock who apparently had one of those tiny rain clouds hovering over his head like cartoon characters do. In his final double stint, he managed to whittle down his lead due to the “slippery” circuit caused by the “rainstorm” that consisted of 3 spots of rain.
With some slick stops and good outright pace, Akita V2 had got themselves to within 3 seconds of leaders 3 Strokers as the final pit window approached. They were the first of the front runners to pit. The on-form Alcock, not content with driving like Miss Daisy’s retarded granny, then dropped the fuel cap in the pit stop and sat on it. Genius! This series of disasters dropped the 3 Strokers off the lead lap and down to fourth. This left Akita V2 with a comfortable gap over 3Cubed which they maintained to the flag.
So a win for Akita V2 despite their earlier incident with Tanked Up Racing. 3Cubed once again finished runner up with AAA-lakart taking the final spot on the podium. The 3 Strokers must have been disappointed to miss out on the podium after leading the race for a time but they nevertheless showed excellent pace (well apart from Alcock).
Christophe from Akita was needless to say happy with a win that puts them right in the championship hunt.
“We are really pleased. We had one incident in our first stint when Tanked Up took us out so that put us way down but we were consistent and had really good pit stops. I think it is pretty even between us, 3Cubed and Alakart and we are still improving. With Carl on board I hope we can keep on this winning streak.”
Alex Withington was happy with second but said there was more to come from the team.
“We’ve got a bit more pace to find. I think we made the right choice in practice because the kart wasn’t great and we had to change it. We’ve got to be consistent.”