Guesting Tandy stars until disaster hands Jelley race two spoilsPosted: October 7, 2011
Driving Michael Caine’s vacant Motorbase car, Tandy destroyed the opposition in qualifying to snatch the top spot for both races, and the 2010 Supercup runner-up’s sublime pace around Brands Hatch proved impossible to contend with when racing got underway.
Tandy made a great start from pole in round 16 and was already building up a comfortable lead cushion, with James Sutton hanging onto second place to slot ahead of another championship contender Jelley, and Pro-Am1 leader Jonas Gelzinis who had startedan impressive third.
The field were immediately given an extra challenge to contend with in the form of coolent on the racing line at Surtees when Ben Hetherington’s car broke it’s radiator after contact in the pack, the slippery surface catching out Pro-am1 driver Rory Butcher as well as Pro-am2 leader Richard Denny more dramatically.
The win was never in doubt as Tandy opened his gap over SAS Redline’s Sutton and Parker With Juta’s Jelley, and cruised home to take the win by 2.4s, with Sutton beating rival Jelley to third.
Fourth place man Gelzinis however made a mistake and ran wide at Surtees, dropping him several places but still hanging on to the lead in Pro-am1, gifting fourth place to Euan Hankey.
However Hankey, who had run in fourth for the majority of the race, made an even bigger mistake when he outbraked himself at Druids and slid into the gravel and retirement, handing fourth on a plate to championship leader Michael Meadows ahead of the learning Kieran Vernon who enjoyed by far his strongest race of the season for Nationwide/Motorbase.
Sixth overall and class victory was enough to seal Gelzinis the 2011 Pro-am1 title, finishing ahead of Ahmad Al Harthy and the unlucky Butcher.
After Denny’s off in Pro-am2, the battle for the win was between Steve Parish, Keith Webster and George Brewster. The battle then ended in disaster for Parish when he spun during the fight, delaying Webster in the process and gifting Brewster an easy drive home to victory ahead of Webster and Turkey’s Yucel Ozbek third in class despite spinning at Paddock Hill Bend.
Race two again saw Tandy get the perfect start, leading Jelley after the latter barged his way up the inside across the grass at Surtees to pass Meadows for second place, with Hankey running third.
Tandy began what looked like a complete demonstration as he cleared off up the road to a lead of a couple of seconds by only lap three, leaving the championship contenders to tussle amongst themselves for second.
The crucial factor of the race then came on lap three when Jelley ran wide at Druids and allowed Meadows the chance to squeeze his way through the open door and into second place, and the field all bunched together behind heading through Graham Hill.
The pair continued battling a corner later with a fair amount of door banging as Jelley braked very late and squeezed inside Meadows at Surtees, rubbign his way back past the SAS Redline driver. “That was two years in Touring Cars coming out on top right there!” Jelley joked to ITV4 afterwards.
Little did they know that this turned out to be the effective battle for the lead of the race as shortly after, leader Tandy inexplicably pulled off the circuit at Graham Hill with a left rear tyre failure that cruelly denied him a much-deserved double.
Meadows’ team-mate Sutton was having a dreadful race however for his championship chances as he lost out in the melee to Sam Tordoff and Gelzinis where he found himself sixth and under attack from Vernon.
At the front however Meadows, having shook off pressure from Hankey, was closing in on Jelley for the lead, but it was Jelley – the man who won here at the start of the season – who held on to take the win despite entering parc ferme afterwards with a practically flat rear tyre from a slow puncture.
Hankey followed thepair home in third, while Tordoff finally had another strong result with fourth place ahead of Sutton who took advanatge of a puncture for Gelzinis on lap twelve to snatch fifth, Vernon inheriting sixth ahead of Hetherington and Richard Plant.
Benefitting from Gelzinis’ disaster to take the Pro-am1 win was Omani racer Al Harthy, ahead of Butcher, George Richardson and Derek Pierce.
Pro-am2 spoils went the way of Parr Motorsport’s Denny, who got ahead of a battle between Ozbek and Brewster early on to take the class win.
The result means that Meadows remains in the lead of the series heading into the final rounds next weekend at Silverstone by 10 points from Jelley, although with drop scores taken into account the pair are level on points.
Championship standings after rounds 16/17:
|Pro-Am 1 standings:||Points|
|Ahmad Al Harthy||83|
|Pro-Am 2 standings:||Points|