First Win(s) In Club100 For Pietro Pagano Holding Off Stefan Scully & Christopher Powell

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zP1040104Qualifying saw Christopher Powell and the top 5 in Group 1 top the timesheet ahead Freddie Fincham from Group 2. And as the slower group it left the likes of Andrea Fioravanti, only 10th in Group 2, only 5th on the grid. A bumper entry of 46 for the class meant 26 drivers searching for one of the 4 qualifying spots. Thomas Williams converted pole position to lead ahead of grid 2 Steven Lester, but Lester would disappear, leaving Williams with a 1secs lead, but that evaporated and a chasing group of Jon Gooch, Fioravanti, Andrew Ward and Darri Simms moved in. Williams did not last long but longer than Gooch. Andrea and Darri pulling Andrew clear, leaving Williams fending off Keith Segal, William Hemsley, Lee Green, James Williams, Chris Dixon, Michael White, David Darling in a line all the way back to John Foulds in 12th. Quite a handful, although Keith was getting help as Dixon chewed up the line. Ward settled into a comfortable 3rd place as the leading trio pulled 8secs clear, Simms taking up the lead after halfway. Into the closing stages Segal held Dixon at arms length until the last 2 laps when Dixon started his big push for 4th place and the back of the Pre A Final. But Chris couldn’t get it done, lost time and a position to Green on the penultimate lap. Cone penalties nearly cost Simms and Ward qualification, and it promoted Fioravanti to the win, Segal to 3rd, but did not effect qualification of the 4. And that seemed fair, the top 3 were good value, and Segal had held off the pack for his qualification.

zP1040098I always fancy Chris Powell to be quick enough to win from the front, pace is pace, and he held on to the Pre A Final lead for the first lap but Mathieu Gauthier-Thornton on the front had lost out Pietro Pagano to be on Chris’ bumper. It made it four away at the front with Bobby Dawes, as the battle behind was being won by the fast starting Stefan Scully but at the price of time lost to the leaders, and towing Freddie Fincham meant an attack at any moment was a a clear and present danger. It was also time he would later wish he hadn’t lost. A lap later the quartet had split into pairs and this probably played into Scully’s hands he was quicker than everyone ahead of him. Pagano moved for the lead, Mathieu dropped Dawes into Stefan, and well… That was done. It would be lap 10 before Stefan could strike for 3rd, and with 4 laps remaining and Pagano 1.3secs up the road, and Powell just in his slipstream and on similar-ish pace, any further progress was a stretch. Stefan would run out of laps even with Powell trying and failing to wrest back the lead on the run to the chequered flag. The quartet were over 4secs clear of Dawes, gap to Fincham, gap to a strong finishing James Venning who headed a group of Martin Theodorou, Ben Atkinson, on the best run of the race from grid 17, but how was he only grid 17? He started the day 3rd in the championship, James Martin rounded out the top 10.

zP1040038Two qualifying sports left then for the main show, the first start was aborted with 5 off in the 2nd chicane, but Lee Green still converted his B Final position through the first chicane, he timed his run up well, not so well as the first but Chris Dixon and James Williams still managed to get a gap over Michael White, Jacopo Fioravanti and David Darling, and really it was hard to look any further for a qualifier, given it was only 2 and John Foulds, bringing through the field to end the lap, was 1.4secs off David’s bumper. Fioravanti seeing qualification driving away from him dived passed White at the far end hairpin to leave himself 1.7secs down at end of lap 2. Then again it was perm 2 from 3 up front, so you had to keep pushing! Williams lost ground coming out of the infield ending lap 3 and by the end of lap 4 Green and Dixon looked to be going clear. Rather than settle for that Dixon moved for the lead into the Horseshoe, Green running wide, perhaps to give Chris a wide berth rather than have an off. This offered Williams some hope, behind Fioravanti came under pressure from Darling while White had fallen 2.5secs behind to have the main group closing in the shape of Foulds ready to suck him in and gobble him up. A wild card. A backmarker can always come at the wrong time. It’s not their fault, well sometimes it is, and it rekindled the race and at the far end hairpin it came back together behind Charles Ho for the leading trio. Green grabbing the lead for final lap. Perhaps foolishly as they came off the Horseshoe for the last time either Green or Dixon, Chris set to pounce, could’ve looked over a shoulder and seen Williams a few karts down, and done really. But Chris threw one up inside of the hairpin anyway. It slowed the pair through the infield, fine for Chris he’d get out and into the last corner first but Lee had James all over him, and as he went narrow into the last corner, James took a wide line to cross behind him and to take a narrow line out to the finish line to grab 2nd. Fioravanti held off Darling for 4th 2.5secs off the lead, White held off Steve Lester, on a great run up the line from 17th, to finish 7th. Jon Gooch brought the main pack through ahead of Thomas Williams and Foulds in 10th.

zP1040031It was hard to look passed the top 3 from the Pre for the A Final but which way round would they finish? Pietro Pagano on pole brought them through at a steady clip and everyone went together. Stefan Scully on grid 3 and Pietro’s bumper ran around Christopher Powell between the apexes of the 1st chicane and then set off looking for the lead. Stefan going big or going home into the Horseshoe for the lead that let Powell and Bobby Dawes close into the hairpin to make it a 4 and Bobby block passed Chris into the infield hairpin. It was good for Bobby and better for the leading duo as they pulled out 0.5secs. 1.4secs behind them James Venning brought the field through in 5th place. Powell could see the risk, forcing a move on the exit of the Horseshoe to get back to 3rd, as Scully pulled into 0.8secs lead over Pietro but that had been all Dawes had and he soon lost the tow from Powell and fell away into Venning as he’d deposed Gauthier-Thornton who was sliding back to the pack headed by Ben Atkinson under pressure from Freddie Fincham.

zP1040012Into the second half the top 3 looked set Scully holding that 0.8secs gap, Pagano 0.3 ahead of Powell. Then Pagano picked up his pace, catching the tow and moving for the lead through the last corner also bringing Powell back into the fight at the same time. Two more quick laps gave Pietro a lead of 0.5secs while Scully had Powell in his tow as an ever present danger. 7secs behind Fincham, Venning, Atkinson and Gauthier-Thornton were going to war with the latter 2 picking penalties for contact, and for Atkinson an exclusion from 5th place. Scully had dug a little deeper to match Pagano’s pace and on to the last lap there was only a couple kart lengths between each driver. It would need a mistake, and there was none coming down to the far end hairpin. Okay a lunge then but a good run  into and through the Horseshoe for Pietro left Stefan too much to do into the hairpin but he’d looked over his shoulder on the back straight to see where Powell was, and that was almost certainly a check to see if he could attempt a block pass into the infield hairpin, narrow going in, there may have been a light contact and that favoured Pietro hung on the outside. It meant he slowed less as Stefan had to square off the corner on the inside and Pietro carried more momentum into the last corner to come out with what appeared a comfortable win, it wasn’t it had been hard driving. And for Stefan? Powell darted inside into the kink but that was outside for the last right hander to the finish, a scare nonetheless but Scully had just enough for 2nd, in a cracking A Final. Freddie Fincham 7secs behind finished 4th, gap to Gauthier-Thornton (4 place penalty), Atkinson (excluded), gap to Theodorou promoted to 5th then, gap to Mike Noon from grid 11, Dawes, Sam Dicker and Andrew Hunt rounded out the top ten, 14secs off the leader.

Round 4 is at Whilton Mill on 1 May 2016.