Time Attack Round seven - Snetterton 25th September 2011
Last weekend saw Gavin Renshaw as the fastest man on the track for the fourth time this season, his performance at Snetterton earning him another Time Attack victory and, most importantly, the 2011 Pro-Class Championship title! Following the NR Autosport driver into second place was Marcus Webster in his Midlands Performance Nissan Skyline R32 with Duncan Graham in the BC Racing Subaru in third.
In the Club-Pro Class it was Warren Kelly and his Airtec Escort Cosworth who won the day, with Romain Levesque finishing an impressive second in the Buddy Club Honda Civic - the only two-wheel-drive car to compete in the category which is usually dominated by 4WD machinery. Third place went to Walter Morris in his Midlands Performance R32 - his podium finish enough to secure him the Club-Pro title.
It was a similar story in the Club Classes, where Jon Mathers - driving the Pro-R sponsored Subaru - finished third and, in doing so, wrapped up the 4WD Club-Class title. Andrew Barbour in his Mitsubishi Evo V took the event honours on this occasion ahead of Gary Searl in his Evo VIII.
Wins for Gerry Atkinson and Ronnie Amis in the FWD and RWD classes respectively were not enough to secure the titles. Instead, these went to Bo Nielsen in his Forge Motorsport Astra VXR and Jimmy White in his VX220, with both drivers finishing second in their respective categories.
Following the extensive work on the track last winter, this year's weekend at Snetterton provided a slightly different configuration for the Time Attack competitors, who performed on the mid-distance two-mile version that is known as the '200' Circuit. And, with the sunny weather pushing the late September temperatures well into the 20s and encouraging huge crowds to the Norfolk venue, the scene was set for a fitting grand finale to another exciting season of Time Attack.
Pro ClassWith the event being the championship decider, there was a tension in the air as the teams worked on their cars in readiness for the day's action. This was particularly apparent amongst the Pro-Class runners, where the standard of preparation was higher than ever and where a number of cars were sporting aero-mods in order to assist with Snetterton's high-speed sections. These additions were also a reminder that Time Attack is the only MSA affiliated series that allows teams to up-rate their cars without being regulated to any particular technical specifications - other than those for safety.
Renshaw looked strong right from the start, although at one point during the morning's practice sessions, the 'One-Hit-Wonder' (and therefore ineligible to score points) entry of last year's Champion Gareth Lloyd in his 900bhp Evo V looked as though it could have taken the spoils on the day, albeit not effecting the chase for the 2011 title. However, engine problems for the Mitsubishi meant it never made it through to the Finals.
When it came to the Pro-Class Finals, Renshaw initially went fastest and then returned to the pits, but was then forced in into a second outing by Marcus Webster. Renshaw then responded by setting a time over half-a-second faster than his first, with his lap of 1:16.641 winning the day and the title.
Webster's 1:17.825 was more than good enough to secure him second place in both the event and in the series standings, whilst Duncan Graham's 1:17.898 proved that Time Attack continues to be one of the closest fought series' there is, when he finished just 0.073 second behind to take third place. Michael Mahoney in his Wallace Performance Mitsubishi was fourth, whilst Paul Doyle in his K-Sport Subaru was fifth and, although a little frustrated not to appear higher up on the time sheets, was still pleased to have finished the season in third.
Club-Po ClassWhilst Kelly drove off into the distance to record the fourth fastest time of the day with an excellent 1:18.027 and therefore claim the category honours on this occasion, the battle for second place was fought out right to the end between Levesque and Morris, who set a 1:19.697 towards the end of the session.
The attentions then turned to Levesque, with the crowd waiting to see if he could beat the time in his two-wheel-drive Civic. Passing the start/finish line with seconds to go before the chequered flag, the Honda driver gives it his all on the final lap and posts a stunning 1:19.377, which rewards him with a well-deserved second place.
However, Morris' third was enough to provide him with the Cub-Pro Class title, whilst Mark Pollard's fourth in his Metro 6R4 netted him second in the end of season standings, with Kelly's top performance at Snetterton securing him third.
Club 4WDUncharacteristically, a few Issues with his Impreza meant that Mathers did not spend as much time on track as he would have liked during the morning's practice sessions. However, his third place in the finals with a 1:22.416 was all he needed to claim the category title in his first season of Time Attack.
On the day it was Barbour who was best with a 1:20.213, followed by another 'One-Hit-Wonder' entry of Richard Marshall in his stunning orange Nissan GT-R R35 with a 1:20.869 - and then Searl - who stopped the clocks on 1:22.256. And, once the mathematicians had added up the final haul of points, the final Club 4WD standings read: Mathers, Barbour and then Eric Holmes with his Mitsubishi Evo VI, who got no further than one lap this time around.
Club FWDIt was another three-way battle between Gerry Atkinson in his Seat Leon, Bo Nielsen in his Astra VXR and Dave Thorpe in his Honda Civic. The trio set a 1:24.586, 1:225.875 and a 1:26.055 respectively, which meant that the final points table read: Nielsen, Atkinson and then Thorpe, the Danish driver taking his second Time Attack Club FWD title in succession.
Club RWDWith three-way battles appearing to be the order of the day in the 2WD Club Classes, it was once again Ronnie Amis, Jimmy White and Umar Masood who populated the RWD category podium. The Sierra driver posted a 1:25.124, whilst the Vauxhall VX220 pilot did a 1:25.239 and the Mazda RX7 exponent was more off the pace that he would have liked with a 1:27.445. However, the final event positions did little to alter the final series positions, with the Club RWD title going to White, with Masood second and Amis third.
For a full set of results click here <http://www.rpmpromotions.com/timeattack/113870.pdf
To view the final series standings click here <http://timeattack.co.uk/2011/page.php?a=7&s=154&p=154
To see photos from this event click here <http://www.timeattack.co.uk/2011/page.php?a=5&s=246&p=144
Once again the Time Attack series shared its day with that of the Pirelli European Drift Championship, with Snetterton also hosting the seventh and final round. Winning on the day was Andy Cooper, who put on a top-quality performance in the RMS Nissan S14a. But it was third-placed Brett Castle who stole the show, with third place rewarding him and the Sumo Power NISMO Competiton.com Nissan S15 team with the Championship title.
And, as if that wasn't enough for a day's automotive indulgence, Sunday at Snetterton also featured the Modified Live show, the static displays by car clubs and individual owners, trade stands and a host of other attractions, looking more spectacular than ever in the late September sunshine. On track there were two rounds of the pick-up racing series, plus demonstrations by racing trucks and a stunt motorcycle rider.
There was also an appearance by Rob Huff, who tried his hand at both Time Attack and Drifting - and commentating! The current World Touring Car Championship front-runner visited the event on behalf of Autosport and Motorsport News, who will be publishing features about Time Attack and the Pirelli EDC later this year.
And, to round-off the day, organisers arranged for charity passenger rides around the track in some of the Time Attack cars to raise money for 'Help the Heros'.
The Time Attack organising team now turns its attentions to 2012 and have already rumoured that they have a few surprises in store for next year!
This year's sponsors are: Pirelli, Sumo Power, NISMO Competition.com Kleers, Cosworth, K-Sport, SuperPro, BC Suspension and Santa Pod Raceway.
2011 Time Attack CalendarRound 1: 16 April Oulton ParkRound 2: 15 May KnockhillRound 3: 25 June Brands HatchRound 4: 26 June Brands HatchRound 5: 31 July: Cadwell ParkRound 6: 28 August AngleseyRound 7: 25 September Snetterton