Autumn sun, Pembrey fun!
It was another bumper race weekend at Pembrey for the penultimate race weekend of the BTRC Championship. This weekend saw the team preparing for 6 races in total, as the cancelled fifth race from the Thruxton round which was being re-run at the track
The team had been working hard on the trucks since Snetterton and both were running well, with both drivers feeling confident. The top of the championship table is extremely close once again so there was the added pressure (especially for Stuart who sat second) to perform!
Saturday morning kicked off with the usual qualifying session which saw great results for both drivers, a P2 for Stuart and P5 for Michael. These results set the grid for the first race of round six.
First race was the re-run of the Thruxton race. Grid for this race was Stuart forth row and Michael second. A good start for both drivers. Michael held his position and Stuart made good progress and worked his way to third. Unfortunately, the race was red flagged with eight minutes still to go for a stranded truck. A recovery operation began and the teams were lined up back on the grid in the order they were positioned at the time of the red flag. Stuart and Michael were alongside one another on row two and a restart race began. Stuart worked his way into second and claimed that podium position. Michael was in third position throughout but just lost out on that podium place on the last lap. Another great result for both our drivers and the points will be added to the championship standings.
First race of the sixth round of the championship’s grid was of course set from qualifying session earlier. Stuart took his place on the front row and Michael row three. It was a rapid start to the race for Stuart. He charged into the lead straight away and held onto the lead the duration. Michael kept pace with the leaders, holding onto fifth place until he came off the track with just two minutes remaining of the race. Unfortunately, he was unable to rejoin, and the red flag was raised. The result was declared from the last full lap before the red flag, which meant Stuart claimed the win and returns to the podium!
First race of the day on Sunday saw the grid set by the fastest times from Saturdays qualifying. Stuart took up his place front row and Michael directly behind on second. Stuart broke away quickly with the group of three leading trucks and then proceeded to be involved in an extremely close battle between second and third position for the duration of the race. As the finish line approached he managed to clinch a hard won 2nd place, a return to the podium. Michael not far behind also had a good race. He crossed the line in a solid P6. Another fantastic result for the team.
Second race of the day was a reverse grid start, the top eight from yesterday’s second race reversed. Both our drivers had work to do as Stuart was placed on row four and Michael row six. The start of the race was a slightly frantic start as the teams jostled to get their way up the positions. Unfortunately, after only a couple of minutes in Michael had a tangle with another truck, which saw him spinning off the track. A red flag was raised and recovery organised to pull him from the mud. The grid was reformed in the original starting order, although Michael had to start from the pits. The trucks were tightly packed together throughout as they tried to push forward which resulted in more tangles. The red flag reappeared again for another stranded truck and the results were declared from the last full lap. Stuart got P4 and Michael P11.
Another reverse grid start of race five. Top eight reversed from race three. Michael second row and Stuart forth row. Not a good start to this race as within the first lap the red flag was shown due to an incident with a couple of the trucks. The grid was reformed for a full restart race. This unfortunately didn’t last long as Michael got in a tangle at hairpin on the first lap which resulted in another red flag. The grid was again reformed for an eight-minute restart race, and Michael had a pit lane start. This race once again didn’t last its full duration as a stranded truck caused yet another red flag. Stuart achieved P5 and Michael P11.
The final race was again a reverse grid, which put Stuart on the third row and Michael sixth. The last race of the weekend is notoriously a lively one and this race certainly carried on that tradition! A very good start by Stuart and he fought to push his way forward. His persistence paid off and he took the lead. He went on to achieve a dominant win with over a ten and a half second lead. Michael had a good race, keeping up with the front pack. It was a P7 for him.
A busy but great weekend of racing and Stuart maintained his second championship position. The preparations start now for the grand finale at Brands Hatch where the championship winner will be decided!
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