Round 6 of the 2011 Lotus Cup UK held at Brands Hatch on 2-4 September 2011.
A last-minute addition to the calendar, the DTM-supporting round was a non-points scoring race, so all of the drivers will be out for victory. Steve Williams looks to be favourite but Chris Setters was quick on the GP loop in July and Jamie Stanley decided to race shortly before the meeting.
Practice & Qualifying
Steve Williams was immediately quick in practice and Matt Cherrington continued to show the speed that he had demonstrated at Donington. Meanwhile Marcus Jewell was finding more speed in his 2-Eleven, with Mark Gooday also enjoying himself.
Stuart Plotnek was having a good afternoon in lieu of Ken Savage in the Production class. However it was Tom Bradshaw that was impressing in fifth.
Williams carried his good practice form into qualifying and Jewell performed similarly too. Problems for the Cherrington/Cassidy Europa did nothing to help their cause, whilst Stanley and Sherwood held third from Gooday, McNeily/Chong and the Setters pairing. A revitalised Jewell was trying hard to take pole, falling short by just three hundredths, whilst Chong pulled in with a very smoky right rear wheel, ending his session.
Tom Bradshaw was continuing his giant-killing exploits in eighth, nearly a second quicker than Vase, whilst Savage didn’t appear to have the speed in this session. John LaMaster and David Hay then took second in class but they were eight tenths away from their benchmark.
Behind Williams and Jewell on the grid, Stanley/Sherwood and McNeily/Chong were set for row two, with Gooday, Setters/Setters, Cassidy/Cherrington, Harvey, Livsey/Bradshaw and David Seear completing the top ten.
On a damp track Williams and Jewell fought a private battle from the start, with Gooday taking third, Seear fourth and Sherwood/Stanley fifth. Problems for Cherrington and Cassidy early on ruined their day, whilst Livsey spun at Druids, dropping him back to twentieth. Behind the Setters and Harvey, Savage was the top Production car, from Carr and Vase.
Jewell and Williams ran two-abreast through Paddock Hill and with the inside line, Jewell claimed the lead, and while he looked to be pulling away, a spin at Paddock Hill next time round lost him vital seconds. By lap ten they were lapping the backmarkers and Jewell was closing the gap.
Savage’s loss of form continued as he relinquished the lead in Production to Carr and Vase, whilst Plant, LaMaster/Hay and Plotnek tracked them closely.
As the race progressed, Jewell was rapidly finding himself unable to keep with Williams’ pace and the gap opened out. In fact, Williams had lapped everyone up to third-placed Gooday as the pit window opened. Sherwood was one the first in, as was Livsey, Seear, Gooday and Vase, after a brief spin.
Williams pitted with half the race completed and rejoined in ninth place. Jewell waited until there were twenty-three minutes to go and Williams fought to regain the two-lap deficit. Just as Williams was crossing the line to take the lead, Jewell’s stop was completed but he had an agonising drive through the pitlane at reduced speed, the gap now opened up to fifteen seconds.
Meanwhile Jamie Stanley was making the difference in the GWS Exige, passing David Seear and on the hunt for the Setters, Chris now in the car and lapping at a rapid pace. The Production fight was between Plotnek, Carr and Savage, the latter performing a robust pass, losing Carr time.
Jewell could make no impact in the final laps and the focus was on Chris Setters, chasing after Stuart Malt and although it was academic – the Production driver had yet to stop – he still had to keep a similarly charging Stanley at bay. However Gooday was lapping at a fine pace too and wasn’t prepared to give up easily.
Malt finally got the black flag with three minutes remaining, whilst Stanley’s pace was dropping relative to Gooday. This left the Setters on the final step of the podium, from Williams and Jewell. Seear took sixth, with Plotnek the Production winner in seventh, from Harvey, Stothert and Savage.
Williams finally breaks his Lotus Cup UK duck but the surprise was the pace of Jewell, finally at one with his car. Great performances from the Setters and Gooday were also highlights, with the Exige Cup class another win for Sherwood and Stanley and Production going the way of Plotnek.
The next round of Lotus Cup UK is at Spa at the end of September, but some of the drivers will be taking part in Lotus Cup Europe at Zolder in two weeks’ time.
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Lotus Cup Uk Brands Hatch Race Report
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