Supercar racer Dan Rooke (Holsworthy) scored his third victory of the 2016 MSA British Rallycross Championship in association with ODYSSEY Battery season at Lydden Hill on August Bank Holiday Monday [August 29] to further extend his lead in the championship points.
The 19-year old Citroen DS3 driver, who is competing in his maiden season in the top-level Supercar category, started on pole position for the final at Lydden Hill and led from lights to flag in a similar fashion to the previous round in Belgium. However, unlike at the Maasmechelen circuit over a month earlier, Rooke didn’t have it all his own way in the qualifying stages at Lydden Hill, as reigning MSA British RX champion Julian Godfrey (Heathfield) finished top of the Intermediate Classification with his Ford Fiesta. Both drivers won their semi-finals to share the front row of the final with third qualifier Ollie O’Donovan (Iver), but it was Godfrey who lost out as the pair ran side-by-side in the first corner, initially dropping down the order. As Godfrey struck back to finish the final third, he could do little to stop Rooke taking his second victory in succession.
“It wasn’t an easy day, Julian was fast. In Q3 we managed to just pip him to the fastest time, which set us up nicely for the semi-final. From the semi-final to the end of the final everything went perfectly,” said Rooke. “I just kept it tidy, took the joker in the middle of the race and came out in front. I’m really happy, it’s good for my championship and I’m over the moon.”
Dave Bellerby (Northallerton) passed Godfrey in the first corner of the final in a similar Ford Fiesta and finished second, despite a late scare on the final lap when he had to defend hard from Godfrey. The result means Bellerby climbed to third in the championship standings. “I loved that! We’ve been working with the car since the start of the season changing bits and pieces and I’ve changed my own style this weekend. I’ve calmed down, it feels as though I’m going slower, but it’s paying off to be less aggressive,” said Bellerby. “I went off quite hard in Q1, but the lads did a great job to fix the car and to just qualify where we did was great. To finish second on the podium, you can’t say fairer than that!”
Godfrey remains second in the title chase, but lost ground to Rooke in the standings and is now 24 points adrift with two rounds remaining. “I made a good start in the final and nearly got around the outside of Dan, but we touched and I went wide,” he said. “Dave and I got a bit held up and Dan got away to have a nice easy win. The championship is looking very difficult now. Dan and I were very close all day. It was a good final but not ideal for my championship situation.”
Albatec Racing driver James Grint (Kimpton) ran second for part of the final but dropped to sixth when he took his joker lap, passed by Pat Doran (Dolton) and Steve Hill (Thame). Doran, driving his Citroen C4 had a close fight with first Andy Grant (Barnstaple) in the opening laps and then Hill, before coming out on top. Hill had one of his best performances of the season to date in his unique Mitsubishi Evo X to claim fifth. Grant finished seventh with his ex-Will Gollop Ford Focus, while O’Donovan suffered transmission problems with his Ford Focus on the opening lap of the final and was forced to the back of the field.
Double 2016 event winner Kevin Procter (Northallerton) set the fastest time in Q1 but had to be pushed away from the grid in Q2 with a crank angle sensor problem on his Fiesta’s engine. That issue recurred in Q3 and again in semi-final one. Procter qualified for the rear of the final but withdrew, handing the position to first reserve Grant.
MSA British Rallycross Championship results (Supercar): 1 Dan Rooke (Citroen DS3), 2 Dave Bellerby (Ford Fiesta), 3 Julian Godfrey (Ford Fiesta), 4 Pat Doran (Citroen C4), 5 Steve Hill (Mitsubishi Evo), 6 James Grint (Peugeot 208)
MSA British Rallycross Championship points (Supercar): 1 Dan Rooke 165, 2 Julian Godfrey 141, 3 Dave Bellerby 127, 4 Ollie O’Donovan 117, 5 Steve Harris 102, 6 Kevin Procter 101
All smiles on Supernational podium
Ford KA campaigner Tony Lynch (Wigan) took his second victory in a row to increase his margin at the head of the MSA Supernational Rallycross Championship standings, and was joined on the podium by two equally happy drivers. Allan Tapscott (Umberleigh) finished second with his rear-wheel drive Vauxhall Corsa after a hard race with title protagonist Paige Bellerby (Northallerton) to score his best result of the year, while Stuart Emery (Faversham) returned to the category after being forced to miss round five through injury and scored a home podium, despite only starting the final as first reserve.
Steve Cozens (Lifton) had led the final in the opening laps but retired on lap five, while Bellerby had a half spin as a result of the battle with Tapscott and finished fifth, just behind the Ford Fiesta of Welshman Mike Howlin (Haverfordwest). Vince Bristow (Hastings) and Gary Dixon (Lincoln) completed the list of finishers in their respective BMW 328 and Vauxhall Astra.
“I’m absolutely delighted. Since Julian Godfrey helped us with some minor setup changes it’s made a big difference, and I think I have the best team in the world,” said Lynch. “I’ll take a small proportion of the credit for driving it, but really this is down to the boys. I just hope this bubble we’re in can last for another two events, because it’s a great bubble to be in, fantastic!”
MSA Supernational results: 1 Tony Lynch (Ford KA), 2 Allan Tapscott (Vauxhall Corsa), 3 Stuart Emery (Peugeot 206), 4 Mike Howlin (Ford Fiesta), 5 Paige Bellerby (Lotus Exige), 6 Vince Bristow (BMW 318)
Seven drivers contested the sixth round of the MSA Junior Rallycross Championship, where category newcomer Tom Llewellin (Haverfordwest) continued his dominant form from his debut weekend in the series at Pembrey in May to score his third victory from three career rallycross starts. Llewellin was never troubled for the lead, while Tom Constantine (Richmond) closed the gap to championship leader Sam Jones (Bexley) by finishing second in the final ahead of title-rival Jones in third.
Tom Middleton (Maldon) pushed Jones hard in the final to finish fourth, with debutant Morgan Wroot (Doncaster) fifth. Matt Rainbow (Stafford) crashed out of the final, forcing the race to be inititally red flagged, while Cameron Hawkes (Stockton on Tees) failed to finish Q2 and was out of the event.
“It’s a great feeling. It was great to be back out in the rallycross car, I really enjoyed myself and hopefully I can do more this year too,” said Llewellin. “Lydden is a lot faster than Pembrey and the pace was a lot quicker here, the whole day was really enjoyable.”
MSA Junior Rallycross Championship results: 1 Tom Llewellin, 2 Tom Constantine, 3 Sam Jones, 4 Tom Middleton, 5 Morgan Wroot, 6 Matt Rainbow
Heathcote extends Swift Sport margin
At the circuit closest to his home, Swift Sport Rallycross Championship leader Nathan Heathcote (Ashford) won to extend his lead in the category standings. Another local driver, Darren Scott (Sittingbourne) finished second in the final, while his title rivals, Aidan Hills (Worthing) and Simon Ovenden (Canterbury) had challenging events, Hills retiring from the final while technical problems ahead of Q3 put Ovenden out. Jack Brown (Barnsley) completed the podium, with returnee Rob Maynard (Deal) celebrating his 40###sup/sup### birthday with a fourth place finish at his local event. British Drift Championship star Luke Woodham (Loudwater) qualified for the semi-finals on his debut.
Chrissy Palmer (Chichester) remains unbeaten in the RX150 Rallycross Championship, the former Formula Ford Festival winner notching up his sixth maximum points haul in a row. Stephen Jones (Havant) closed the gap to second in the standings to a single point with second, while Kirk Langley (Liverpool) finished on the podium on his debut in third. Swedish driver Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky (Karlstad) raced the ODYSSEY Battery celebrity buggy and qualified for the front row but spun after contact.
Reigning MSA Junior Rallycross champion Bradley Durdin (Nazing) won on his debut in the BMW Mini Rallycross Championship, he led home Kris Hudson (Harrogate) and Martin Hawkes (Stockton on Tees), while title protagonist Keifer Hudson (Harrogate) was forced to retried with mechanical problems. In the Super1600 Rallycross Championship, Tristan Ovenden (Canterbury) claimed victory by virtue of being the only car to start the final after each of his rivals retired and extended his lead in the series. Robert Potyra (Hounslow) topped an all-Polish podium in the Hot Hatch Rallycross Championship. Michael Labedz (London) finished second with points leader Tomasz Wielgosz (London) third.
In the Retro Rallycross Championship final, Barry Stewart (Barcombe) was forced to race hard to fend off the attentions of Ray Morgan (Hastings) in his Ford Escort. Category stalwart Lance Foster (Washington) completed the podium with his Mini.
Swift Sport results: 1 Nathan Heathcote, 2 Darren Scott, 3 Jack Brown, 4 Rob Maynard, 5 Christian Hainsworth, 6 Chris Woollett
RX150 results: 1 Chrissy Palmer, 2 Stephen Jones, 3 Kirk Langley, 4 Jake Harris, 5 Mitchel Flaherty, 6 Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky
BMW Mini results: 1 Bradley Durdin, 2 Kris Hudson, 3 Martin Hawkes, 4 Frankie Helliwell, 5 Jennie Hawkes, 6 Keifer Hudson
Super1600 results: 1 Tristan Ovenden (Suzuki Swift), 2 Paul Coney (Vauxhall Corsa), 3 Craig Lomax (Citroen C2)
Hot Hatch results: 1 Robert Potyra (Citroen Saxo), 2 Michael Labedz (Citroen Saxo), 3 Tomasz Wielgosz (Peugeot 106), 4 Fred Ling (Citroen Saxo), 5 Graham Rumsey (Citroen Saxo), 6 Mark Henrey (Alfa Romeo 147)
Retro Rallycross results: 1 Barry Stewart (Porsche 911), 2 Ray Morgan (Ford Escort), 3 Lance Foster (Mini Clubman), 4 Stewart Bowes (Mini Clubman), 5 Ian Biagi (Mini Clubman), 6 Paul Smith (Volkswagen Polo)