Great & British Dunlop Festival

THRILLING SEASON OPENER SETS BENCHMARK FOR THE YEAR

The first Great & British Dunlop Motorsport Festival of 2008 got off to a fast and frenetic start at the Snetterton racetrack in Norfolk with plenty of great close, entertaining racing. The event underwent a slight overhaul following the end of the 2007 campaign and already the signs are good, with this weekend’s gathering attracting the highest attendance for a Great & British festival at Snetterton since the series began.

The Dunlop Sport MAXX Cup is one of the main attractions and with double the number of cars on the grid than there were twelve months ago the signs are good.

Both races were keenly contested with the first setting the benchmark for the rest of the season, six cars dicing it out for the lead for much of the race. John Thorne in the BMW M3 took the win although as he’s not registered for the championship, maximum points went to Shaun Hollamby in the SEAT Leon Cupra. Thorne won the second race as well but it was Martin Wallbank, in the Vauxhall Astra VXR, who grabs the points.

Meanwhile Quentin Laithwaite helped himself to two Class B wins with Paul Lund unchallenged in Class C. A great start then for the championship which Dunlop hope will prove to be a feeder series for the British Touring Car championship.

The 2008 Mini Challenge campaign could be one of the most competitive yet after three hard-fought and closely contested races. In the Cooper S class, Jack Stanford took his first ever victory in this series with a last-gasp move past race leader Martin Depper, just as the chequered flag was being unfurled, in Saturday’s first race.

He then repeated the feat in Sunday’s first race, again passing Depper, but much earlier during proceedings and following a great tussle between the pair of them held everything to together to make it two wins out of two. Depper then finally took the win in the third and final Mini Challenge race of the weekend.

In the Club class, Anthony Williams romped to victory in two of the races on his debut appearance in the series while regular competitor Keith Issatt won the remaining race.

In the new look Radical UK Cup the first race was ended prematurely when former pop star Michael Jackson (ex-Love Affair) crashed heavily. He walked away but his Radical SR8 Sportscar sat out race two which was won by Ross Kaiser and Terence Woodward, Rob Wheldon and Jonathan Wright winning the first.  In the Supersport category, the spoils went to Simon Dolan and Sam Hancock in race one and solo driver Jamie Patterson in race two

Highlights of the weekend’s racing will be shown on Sky Sports and Motors TV.For more information visit www.driversknow.co.uk. Media Contact, Dave Moore, 07624 453404, 07710 525962, greatandbrit@manx.net

It’s a straightforward two-way fight in the quest to be Mini Challenge champion 2007. The campaign has been dominated until recently by Cooper S driver Oly Mortimer but the Scot has had a case of the wobbles of late and a superb string of results by Club class driver Jenny Ryan sees the Irish driver lead the standings by just nine points with two races left to go. It’s Scotland versus Ireland, it’s the Battle of the Sexes, its Cooper S versus Club, whichever way you dress it up, it’s a fascinating and thrilling end to a superb campaign.

Radical SR8 Sports Car drivers Austin Reynolds and Richard Ince have been the leading pair throughout this year’s Dunlop Radical Enduro championship yet it’s testimony to the skill and persistence of Derek Johnston and Stuart Moseley, their nearest rivals in the SR8 standings, that the fight for the title is going right down to the wire. Anthony Dunn and Barry Gates just need a handful of points to finish the season as the top SR3 crew.

It’s still very tight in the Dunlop Radical Biduro championship with John Hewitt’s lead recently reduced to thirteen points by Toby Newton at Pembrey yet both drivers were off the pace in both races in Wales, and they’ll have to be on the money to determine which one takes the title.

Brands Hatch sees the final Dunlop Sport MAXX Cup meeting of the year before it becomes a fully-fledged championship in its own right in 2008. The year has been one of consolidation for the series and the biggest entry list of the season is anticipated for this weekend. It also provides a fitting backdrop for the ‘Hot Hatch’ celebration, which is also being held this weekend and is open to any sporting hatch of any marqué, old and new.  

The PlayStation Ginetta Junior championship returns to Brands Hatch later this month but if results go his way, Nigel Moore could be crowned champion this weekend.