Wow! Is it really the penultimate round of the 2009 UK Time Attack series? Has June passed already? Well the answer is yes to both counts and event four (of five) was held at Brands Hatch last weekend. It was part of the Modified Live Summer Special along with the Need for Speed European Drift Champsionship, a combination that has proved a success with the fans since the opening event at Oulton Park back in early April. Over 6.000 passed through the gate on Sunday in support of this assertion.
The Time Attack event proved to be a big hit and why not when you look at the quality at the sharp end? However the top step did not fall as usual to a heavily modified, tuned imports from Japan. Oh no, it was a home grown special, a Lotus Elise, driven by Steve Guglielmi that stopped the clocks sooner than anyone else, in fact the 48.663 recorded was over 1.5 seconds faster than anyone else recorded, a huge margin on the tight Kentish track. The combination of man and machine was irresistible and should cause some concern to the usual suspects at the top. This time a well-sorted rear wheel drive, mid engined, track day special comprehensively stuffed the combination of Sumo power and Samurai handling.
Leading the chasing pack was Olly Clark in the RCMS Impreza, who made the most of a last few laps after the final sesssion had been red flagged as a result of oil on the track. In the final minutes he hustled "the Gobstopper" round in 50.166. What will worry him and the rest of the import brigade is the fact that he was caught at 154mph across the start/finish line, a whopping 13mph quicker than the winner………it gives a clue as to the handling abilities of the Lotus and the driving talent of Guglielmi if he can make up for that kind of speed deficit to someone as good as Clark.
Third, only .1 of a second down the road was Chris Ward in the RSE EVO 8, showing that there is little to choose from the top runners in 2009 Time Attack.
Next up was the leader of the Club Pro pack, Robin Duxbury in his EVO. This was a really stunning performance from him, obviously getting the car to handle the Brands Hatch track as well as any.
As if to confirm the the progress of the Club Pro crew, Jamie Nicholls joined the 50 second club, a real achievement round the Brands Indy circuit.
Good value for all those able to see him working the car at close quarters was Duncan Cowper in his Dax Rush, he certainly was giving it his all.
Another small step for Skylines, another giant leap for Shane Smith, who has graduated from the Club Class to Club Pro and scored a third place on his class debut with the R32.
Another good performance came from the Impreza of John Stevenson who managed a 52.961.
The EVO of Jonathan Faull was futher half a second down on the clock.
Rounding out the top ten was Julian Westwood, who was giving the EVO X its first run in Time Attack, much potential is shown by this car.
Next up was the Andy Napier Subaru.
The TVR of Jeff Mileham looked and sounded spectacular but struggled to put down all its power but still managed a 53.937.
Last but not least was Gareth Lloyd's EVO, strangely down the order.
Brands Hatch is a spectator friendly venue, both on and off the track. Since being taken over several years a go by former Grand prix racer, Jonathan Palmer, the circuit has strived to make a day out for the fans a more entertaining prospect than perhaps had been the case in the past. Add to the regular crew who show up for Club Racing and Internationals alike there was also a strong presence of car clubs ranging from Scoobies to Evos, VWs and Nissan to name a few. There was even a fly past of Red arrows and a Virgin Atlantic 747 on their way to wow the masses at the Biggin Hill Air Show. It is a really good day out.
The more observant of you will notice the abscence of the Zen Performance Subaru which is normally found at the sharp end of the competition, well their day was over almost as soon as it began, victim to some technical problem which could not be fixed at the circuit……………much frustration as a result.
So now there is a break during the summer months before the finale at Snetterton on October 11. Will Olly Clark do it again or will one of the pack leap frog him? One way to find out is to be there. We will be.