BRITON SIMON MOULTON WRAPS UP THE 2008 TITLE IN STYLE!
The last two races of the 2008 THP Spider Cup, which took place this weekend at Dijon, were rich in drama right until the very end. The nervous tension was tangible, and that was no surprise given the catalogue of turnarounds, leadership changes, safety car interventions and yellow flag incidents that marked the eighth and final round of the series. On top of that, the name to put on this year's trophy was only confirmed in the very last laps of the ultimate race…
Following his success at Nogaro, youngster Gaël Castelli profited from the first clash to collect his second win of the season thanks to a smart, opportunistic drive. Second place for Grégory Guilvert put the latter well on track for victory in the championship thanks to a cushion of seven points over Simon Moulton who was sidelined by a tangle with one-off contestant Jean-Marie Clairet. Meanwhile, German youngster and THP Spider Cup newcomer Robert Schlunssen, a familiar face in the Danish Spider Cup, made a name for himself by finishing on the podium ahead of Julien Briché who still had a mathematical chance of clinching the title despite a long list of setbacks. These included a drive through penalty for a jump start, but that didn't stop him from producing one of his famous fight backs which also saw him bag the fastest race lap.
Given the complexity of the different scenarios stemming from the result of Race 1, the weekend's second showdown promised to be particularly tense, and everything was still possible for the remaining candidates for the 2008 crown. Julien Briché started from pole position and fought tooth and nail for supremacy with Robert Schlunssen. The two drivers battled hard until Lap 15 when the Frenchman made a mistake and went off, unable to rejoin. The German was consequently first past the flag, but he was later penalised for having overtaken under yellow flags and was relegated to sixth place. Grégory Guilvert, who topped the championship going into this final race, was also part of the scrap for top spot during the first two laps, but he found himself at the back of the field after going wide at one point. The incident seriously threatened his title chances and left the path clear for Simon Moulton who, in addition to winning the race, clinched the 2008 title – the first of his career, and a fitting reward for his unfailing determination and exemplary race intelligence. The Briton made no attempt to conceal his joy on the season's ultimate podium on which he was joined by Gaël Castelli and Alexandre Rambure.
It is consequently Simon Moulton who will get to test drive the 908 HDi FAP on February 16, 2009, after first taking part in a fitness training course with the factory Peugeot Sport drivers on December 11.
Simon Moulton: "I am so happy to have won this title against an outstanding, international field of drivers. I must admit that I thought my chances were very slim after Saturday's race. My objective was to win today, so I tried to think only about that and give it my best shot by passing Guilvert. My team kept me informed over the radio about where I stood with regard to the title and I just focused on defending my position. This season is the very best I have enjoyed since my debut in motor racing. My team has been fantastic and they gave everything they had to make this result possible. I can't wait to drive the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP! That is going to be incredible!"
Simon Moulton in brief:British driver Simon Moulton, 36, began racing at the age of 15 in karting before moving on to Formula First, then Formula Vauxhall Junior and the Formula Vauxhall Lotus Winter Series. Budget problems forced him to put a halt to his competition activities in 1995, but he returned to the sport 2001 and collected two titles in the Radical Endurance championship. He first contested the THP Spider Cup in 2007, finishing seventh.
Race 1: 1, G. Castelli (16 laps in 26m 32.350s). 2, G. Guilvert (+0.186s). 3, R. Schlunssen (+2.673s). 4, J. Briché (+9.567s). 5, J. Beltoise (+14.725s). 6, F. Bry (+32.927s). 7, P. De Thoisy (+33.039s). 8, V. Porta (+35.707s). 9, M. Broggi (+37.728s). 10, O. Freymuth (+44.340s). Etc. Fastest race lap: J. Briché (1m 24.338s, 162.204kph). Pole position: G. Guilvert (1m 24.019s, 162.820kph).
Race 2: 1, S. Moulton (16 laps in 23m 02.424s). 2, G. Castelli (+0.129s). 3, A. Rambure (+7.110s). 4, A. Albouy (+9.910s). 5, M. Sciabbarrasi (+15.109s). 6, J. Beltoise (+16.407s). 7, R. Schlunssen (24.151s). 8, V. Porta (+24.490s). 9, G. Guilvert (+31.642s). 10. T. Fillatre (+46.801s). Etc. Fastest race lap: J. Briché (1m 24.140s, 162.586kph). Pole position: J. Briché (1m 23.671s, 163.497kph).
2008 THP Spider Cup – final positions: 1, S. Moulton (225 points). 2, G. Guilvert (214). 3, J. Briché (191). 4, G. Castelli (169). 5, J. Beltoise (151). 6, M. Sciabbarrasi (132). 7, A. Rambure (125). 8, A. Albouy (82). 9, D. Pouget (70). 10, F. Bry (60). Etc.