Pole at Snetterton: Mini Challenge JCW Championship leader James took pole position for Race 1 at Snetterton, by an impressive margin of 0.583s, thereby securing an extra 6 points for the achievement. “That’s a great result,” said James. “I felt I had a better lap but got held up in traffic, but the time I had done was good. But then I saw that Lewis was only 0.2s behind me and just thought ‘Man, I need a bigger gap, this isn’t comfortable. Qualifying is one thing, but the races tomorrow are quite another. I’m starting in the position I want to be in, but we’ll see how it goes when we’re all racing in a pack toward turn one tomorrow.”
James looked very relaxed on the grid for the first race, despite a wasp invading his office! At the lights he got away rapidly from pole and immediately opened up a lead over his rivals. From then on things looked fairly straightforward. The gap steadily increased throughout the race itself, culminating with James taking the chequred flag 8.792s ahead and securing the fastest lap of 2.03.331s.
James: “That was a great race, I enjoyed it a lot. The start was pretty tight and I could see that I wasn’t getting much of a gap over Lewis, so I just concentrated on keeping things consistent and precise, trying to put in identical lap times, as I could see the train forming behind him and if I kept the pace up he couldn’t get past. It’s been a great start to the year so far, but race two will be a very different situation, starting in the middle of the pack on the reversed grid. Good thing there’s plenty of places to overtake here. I might have to shut my eyes and hope for the best heading into turn one though…”
‘The Fast and the Furious’ film title could easily be the apt description for race two! Starting in P10 – top ten reverse grid from race one – was obviously going to prove more of a challenge for James. Pole sitter Newsham dropped out before the race even began with what looked like a mechanical problem, effectively moving James up to P9. Once the race got underway things were very tight with close battles being fought throughout. James moved up several places, back a few after losing a bit of momentum through no fault of his own, before once again moving forward behind Davidson and Harrison. Rain began to fall and the first three places remained the same right to the end of the shortened race. Once again – considering the congestion – James did extremely well to secure the fastest lap with a time of 2.06.563s.
“It’s another podium so we’re keeping the run going, plus I got a handy haul of points for pole and fastest laps this weekend,” said James. “My car took a bit of a beating in that one, but it was a mix of aggression and the conditions.”
Driver Standings: https://www.minichallenge.co.uk/mc-driver-standings/
Images & Videos by kind courtesy of Mini Challenge
Next MINI CHALLENGE UK meeting: 8/9 June – Silverstone GP