GAZ Shocks Production BMW Championship

Round 1 Brands Hatch

The opening round of the 2009 PBMW Championship saw a grid of 51 cars take to the track over 3 races during the day, which meant that each driver took part in 2 races out of 3, and 3 reserve drivers.

Series sponsor Pure D-zign worked around the clock to ensure all the cars where presented perfectly and correct to the latest regulations, they also completed a number of complete car vinyl wraps, resulting in some very striking liveries.

Qualifying saw all the cars go out over 2 sessions, with 26 cars in the 1st qualifying session and 25 in the 2nd session. Qualifying sees a few drivers break the 1minute barrier, including PBMWC debutants Nick Padmore and Neil Adams plus series returnee Tim Wilson.

Race 1 saw a number of cars, including the 320i of Andrew Fletcher have very hairy moments at Paddock Hill bend on the opening lap, with constant position swapping and a relentless pace being set. Len Colley spun and regained positions twice, eventually finishing 6th.

Lap 4 saw the 320i of Stuart Ziemelis leaking fluid onto the track, (the worst affected area being Clearways) which causes him to retire on lap 6. Due to the fluids on track, Neil Adams almost spun but recovered to 15th by the end of the race, however the following lap, the 320i of Jimmy Cuthbert wasn’t so lucky, he took to the grass and left the track covered in debris and grass. He’d recover to 19th.

The fastest lap was set by the 320i of Len Colley on lap 11, Colley being a regular to the series.

The end of the race saw series returnee Alan Wileman win the race by 1.010s from Rob Smith with Nick Padmore taking 3rd, and with this being the best placed of the debutants. The best of the 318i’s in the series finished 4th in the hands of Robin Welsh, who built the car in 3 weeks after saving it from the breakers yard!!

Top 3:1st – Alan Wileman. 15 laps in 15m08.7642nd – Rob Smith @ 1.010s3rd – Nick Padmore @ 5.450sFL: Len Colley. 59.174s on Lap 11.

Race 2 saw Tim Wilson start on pole with Liam Crilly alongside him, who took the lead into Paddock, but Wilson regained the position along the Cooper straight on the same lap. After this Tim Wilson is largely untroubled on his way to a 1st win of the day and the season, Tim came 8th in the 08 season and is looking to better that.

The main action of the race came on lap 7 when Tony Smith took 2nd from Liam Crilly, and managed to keep Crilly behind him until the end of the race, however, it was a different story for the 1st 5 laps as Richard Thomas kept the pressure on Crilly until he dropped 2 places in 1 lap, going from 3rd to 5th. Thomas recovered to 4th.

Top 3:1st – Tim Wilson, 15 laps in 15m03.3912nd – Tony Smith @ 7.645s3rd – Liam Crilly @ 7.841sFL: Liam Crilly, 59.444 on lap 15.

Race 3 saw a 2nd race win from Tim Wilson and with it the Championship lead. In a race that was rather dull compared to the previous 2 races, Tim started on pole and was never troubled on his way to the win, while 2nd on the grid Alan Wileman had a race to forget.

Race 1 winner Alan Wileman retired on lap 13 with engine trouble, thus denting his title challenge within the 1st 3 races of the season.

Further down the field, Neil Adams was one of the drivers to slowly slip down the field as the race progressed to finally finish 16th.

Top 3:1st – Tim Wilson, 16 laps in 15m56.6852nd – Rob Smith @ 2.673s3rd – Liam Crilly @ 6.823sFL: Tim Wilson, 59.042s on lap 3.

Championship Standings after 3 races:1. Tim Wilson – 60 Points2. Rob Smith – 56 points3. Liam Crilly – 52 points.3. Tony Smith – 52 points.

At the end of the day, Simon Bassford was awarded the MSAR Safety Driver of the day award for his superb effort in qualifying, breaking the 1m barrier with a time in the 59s time bracket, this being a first for the driver.

Richard Thomas and Graham Collison were also mentioned for this award, with regards to their performance and preparation in such a short space of time, Collison’s car was built in 3 days and managed to get a 5th place result!

The lunchtime challenge, one lap around the circuit, on foot, raised over £1000, all for Comic Relief and Red Nose Day.

The next rounds for the Championship are at  Donington Park on the 18th and 19th April.

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