Coles Racing’s Ed Brand scored his first international victory in last Sunday’s (15 February) Rotax Winter Cup after a nail-biting Junior final in Spain.
Created as a curtain-raiser to the 2009 Rotax Euro Challenge series, the event had attracted twenty five of Europe’s top junior drivers (from thirteen different countries) and from the outset the young Englishman faced a stern challenge.
“I was second fastest after timed qualifying with just two one-hundredths between me and pole position. The rest of the field was separated by little more than two tenths of a second.”
Despite his front row starting position for the three heats, Ed was in a potentially vulnerable position for his three heats. He explains, “The first corner at Campillos is a tight right-hander followed by a short straight and then a series of tricky bends. At the start they’re pretty densely packed with karts. There was quite a bit of wheel-banging.”
Two 3rd-places and an 8th gave the 14-year old fifth place on the grid for the pre-final. He was up to 3rd place but, as the chequered flag was readied, the driver ahead – Aavo Talvar - suddenly slowed. “Talvar knew if he finished in second place that would be his starting position for the main final. He didn’t want to do that, so slowed right down, hoping that I would pass him. I was thinking the same thing, so I tucked up onto his rear bumper. He was zig-zagging and brake-testing me as we approached the finishing line, but I was so close behind him that I had nowhere to go clouted him across.”
Further drama followed. During the final’s rolling-up lap the pole-sitter, Mark Megens’ coil failed, leaving Ed having to maintain his third spot but with an open gap ahead of him. This played into the hands of Talvar, who needed no prompting and swept across from the left to lead the pack into the first corner. “We’d put brand new tyres on for the final and they had virtually no grip at the start. It took me a lap to put enough temperature into them before I could challenge for the lead. I managed to get through and then tried to pull away.”
He succeeded but a slight mistake midway through the fourteen-lap encounter saw his pursuers close in on the CRG pilot, “The chasing group caught me but fortunately a scrap broke out for second place. This handed the advantage back to me, although my winning margin was just half a second at the end.”
Greeted in Parc Ferme by rapturous applause from the Coles team, Ed was equally delighted, “I’m on a high right now. This (victory) means a lot. I’ve won something before the main season has begun (both at home and internationally). I hope that we can build on this and challenge for the British and European titles.”
He added, “The KT1 chassis felt fantastic and was perfectly suited to the track and conditions. I’ll be getting the Dark Knight for this weekend’s club race at Whilton. I expect it to be perfect there and when we go to the other Super 1 circuits. I must thank