Sunday 19th March saw the Fueltopia event team host Formula G round 2 at a dry yet windy Santa Pod Raceway.
Just two weeks on from the first event, drivers were faced with a new track and it proved to be the fastest one to date. A relatively simple layout meant that mastering the course directions came quickly to most and that round two was all about dialling in your technique around the obstacles and getting your foot in quick on the straights. The track lived up to its name the Quickdraw, and as many used their practice session to reduce their times, some soon fell under 37 second’s across RWD, AWD and U1 classes.
The qualifying session of 4 runs per driver places all into a top 16 ranking and then for battles go head to head 1st v 16th and so forth in each class. In the AWD class Andrew Stevens topped the class with a 36.025 but with just 0.9 of a second splitting the top 4 we could see we were going to be in for some tight battles.
In the RWD class, whilst we saw series regulars take the top 8 positions it was great to see 5 of them be taken on by fairly new drivers to the sport, including 14 year old Ben Dryburgh who made the trip down from Scotland to compete in the championship for the first time. However it was the top 8 who all progressed through to the semi-final stages.
The U1 class had a new entry to the series in the form of a Robin Hood, piloted by Daniel Cooper. However as a complete newbie to the sport, he didn’t quite have the speed to knock the biddles off the top spot. With advice from the drivers in the pit we hope to see him back soon ready to take on the challenge once again. Andy Biddle stole the show with a driving masterclass on the day and posted a 35.139 in qualifying taking the crown of fastest time of the day across not only U1 but all classes.
The AWD class battles kicked off with a bye for Andy Stevens when Dmitrij Sribnyj suffered mechanical issues meaning the car didn’t make it to the startline. The battles continued with Flitspeed teammates Dom and Lewis taking each other on in their semi-final, that saw Dom take the win and his place in the quarter final against Yordan Andreev, who made it through after winning his battle against Michael Irwin.
Jonathan Buck, who suffered major mechanical issues and therefore missed the first Formula G event, was out to get as many points as he could to better position himself in the championship points table. He won his top 8 battle against Nankang and Pole Position driver Jake Archer and was next drawn against fastest qualifier Andy Stevens, a close race ensued but with Andy picking up a 2 second penalty the win was Buckys and in the final he faced off against Round 1 winner Yordan Andreev. A mistake picking up a 2 second penalty for Andreev meant he had to give his all to beat Bucky in the final race, however his eagerness see him jump the start lights and as long as he could keep his cool and complete the course with no DNF the win was Buckys to take. The final race also see Bucky set the fastest time of the day in the AWD class so he picked up a vital 12 championship points.
The RWD class was the last to see battles and with 16 quickly down to 8 our season regulars lined up against opponents they all know too well. It was 4 big powered Nissan S bodies against 4 smaller nibble MX5s and a Honda S2000. With 3 MX5s taking the podium spots at round one the Nissan drivers were guns blazing to get back to the top!
The four making it through to the quarter finals were Luke Woodham, Mark Young, Ryan Milton and Adam Elder. Ryan in his MX5 had been flying around the course all day and was up first against Adam Elders 400bhp Nissan S14, both races were close, with Adam pulling ahead on the straights and Ryan catching him on the tight turns in the obstacles, but it was Adam who pulled ahead just enough to see him into the Final.
Mark Young was up next against 2016 Formula G and 3 times European Gymkhana champion Luke Woodham. Jap motorsport driver Mark had been having the drive of his life Saturday, looking smooth around obstacles and fast on the straights but he couldn’t quite keep up with Luke and he headed into the 3rd/4th place battle with Ryan. His battle with Ryan see him take 4th on the day, losing out by just 0.6 of a second over the 2 sides of the course, his driving didn’t go unnoticed by staff who picked him for the Hardcharger award and all drivers were in agreement with this decision.
The final see a battle we have seen before and are likely to witness many times in the future. As Elder and Woodham, lined up on the grid, we were given the most exciting final battle. The first run see the drivers split by just 0.1 of a second with Luke taking the edge. As they drove around back to the startline we knew this could be anyone’s to win. Both flew round the course, no time penalties and both flew into the stop box at the same time, however Woodham handed the win to Elder when he shot way over the perimeter of the stop box, giving him a DNF. He took it well, laughing it off and congratulating Adam before both finished the day with a huge smoke show as they headed back to the podium!
Two rounds down with 3 to go, the points in the championship table are so close right now every point counts and we look forward to seeing what a new track and round 3 brings on May 14th. Tickets are available now on the store.
Craig Toull, CRT Photography