CRG UK in Winter Wonderland.
Singleton puts CRG on top in Winter Series outing.CRG drivers on the pace up and down the country.
Track temperatures across the UK may be cold as the 2012 karting season bursts into life from its brief winter slumber but CRG drivers up and down the country have quickly discovered that their pace is red hot.
Nowhere was the pace of the CRG chassis more evident than at Paul Fletcher International for the second round of the ABkC Winter Series where James Singleton emerged victorious and Charlie Turner and Josh Collins scooped third and fourth places in the Senior Rotax final.
Coupled with further strong performances from CRG drivers Oliver Beesley, Gemma Batstone and novice pilot Dan Gould in the Senior Rotax class at Dunkeswell, and from new CRG recruit Lewis Seville at Three Sisters it was a case of warm smiles all round in the CRG camp despite the chilly weather.
Against strong competition at the extended Paul Fletcher International venue, CRG UK drivers Singleton and Turner monopolised the leading positions throughout the day despite having minimal time to work on the new 2012 CRG chassis.
Even though Singleton and the Coles Racing team only completed his CRG barely 48 hours before qualifying was due to begin James wasted no time in asserting his authority as last year’s Junior Rotax O Plate winner set the standard in Sunday morning’s timed session by a full tenth of a second, thereby securing pole position for the three heats races.
James also gave his new CRG a winning start in the opening heat as he fended off a concerted late challenge from his teammate Turner to snatch the win by nine tenths of a second. With the whole field separated by fractions Singleton and Turner swapped the lead time and time again in heat two before Singleton prevailed by less than two tenths.
The heat results allowed the CRG teammates to lock out the front row of the grid for the 14-lap final and both Singleton and Turner found to their delight that their karts were equally adept in the longer race.
A fantastic duel for the lead was eventually settled in Singleton’s favour as he passed Turner on the penultimate tour, a move that dropped Turner to third such was the close proximity of the chasing pack.
With Singleton victorious, Turner third and Collings fourth, there were plenty of smiles all round for CRG at the end of the day.
“It was a great win for James, especially as it was the first weekend out for the 2012 CRG,” commented team principal Adrian Coles. “There was only one day of testing to get used to it and it was quick as soon as we put it down on the track. The CRG responded well to the small changes we made and we only had to do minimal work during the weekend. It was very quick out of the box and it is a great start to the year”
Turner echoed Coles’ sentiments.
“The CRG always performs well at PFi particularly on the new circuit,” added Turner. “We won on the CRG at our last meeting there in October beating some top drivers and setting the fastest lap of the day.”
Just a couple of kart lengths behind Turner in fourth place, Collings put in an encouraging performance in the final as he tries to capitalise on his strong rookie performances in last year’s Super One Championship.
“Considering that I have not had a lot of experience at the new PFi circuit the CRG was very easy to set up and we found that it did not take long to get the kart to my liking” commented Collings. “It was good to know that we had the pace to race with some of the top Super One drivers. The result gives me a lot of confidence for the year ahead.”
At the same time as Singleton was putting one 2012 CRG on the top step of the podium at PFi, another group of CRG mounted drivers were performing well in the opening round of the Dunkeswell Kart Club Championship and round two of the Manchester and Buxton Kart Club Championship.
CRG drivers Oliver Beesley and defending DKRC Senior Rotax Champion Gemma Batstone finished a very promising third and fourth in the final in a large and highly competitive field where the top four finishers were separated by less than one second when the chequered flag fell.
Under the guidance of CRG agent Ian Batstone, Beesley and British Women’s Racing Drivers Club Gold Star nominee Batstone initially disputed third place in the final, a battle won by Beesley, before setting their sights on the leading pair. With their CRG karts both showing an impressive turn of speed Beesley and Batstone were able to catch the leaders, setting their fastest laps of the race in the process and finished inches behind the top two.
“Dunkeswell has a very strong Rotax grid and the pace of the CRG karts was positive so it sets the benchmark for the season ahead,” stated Ian Batstone, who also oversaw Dan Gould finished an impressive 14th overall in his very first MSA race. “Gemma was quicker than the winner in the final which shows that the pace is there and the fact that her best lap was lap seven of the final shows that her CRG was continuing to improve until she caught the leading pack.
“I’m sure she would have gone quicker and quicker if she wasn’t in a pack but we all know that the CRG team has the equipment to succeed at Dunkeswell in what is a really strong field.”
Completing the weekend was Lewis Seville who, on his second outing with his CRG was faced with a full grid of Senior Rotax drivers at the Three Sisters circuit in Wigan, including three drivers ranked in the top ten in last year’s Super One standings.
Running as an independent driver Seville belied his lack of track time on the CRG with a storming drive in the first heat, gaining ten places from 21st on the grid to finish eleventh, setting the sixth fastest lap time of the race in the process despite being mired in heavy traffic throughout the ten lap race.
An unfortunate crash in heat two dented Seville’s progress but the University of Central Lancashire Sports Science student bounced back with aplomb in the third heat, moving from seventh on the grid to finish third with the third fastest lap of the race, a result that put him on the sixth row of the grid for the final.
With such a competitive field around him it was almost predictable that there would be chaos at the first corner of the final and unfortunately Lewis found himself on the receiving end of someone else’s over exuberance and finished the opening lap in 24th. Undeterred however and thankful for such a strong chassis Seville put his CRG into top gear and began a remarkable fightback, picking off an average of one kart per lap to take the chequered flag in 15th place, but with the fifth fastest lap of the race.
Commenting on the result Lewis said that the decision to switch to CRG for 2012 had, in his eyes, paid off already.
“After two years on a different chassis I really did not fancy getting used to something else,” he commented. “However, when I tested the CRG I immediately felt at home on it. The biggest plus point for me has been my performance in the wet. I never really classed myself as a good driver in the wet and always dreaded a wet meeting. We have now found a set-up that really suits me and can't wait to get out in the wet again. Overall, I think the CRG is brilliant and would like to thank Mark Collings and all at CRG for their help and support to date."
CRG UK Managing Director Mark Collings pronounced himself happy with the results, which prove yet again that whether it is club or national level karting you are competing in, the 2012 CRG is a winning choice.
“I’m obviously very pleased with how the CRG’s performed and it bodes well for a highly successful season ahead,” said Collings. “A lot of hard work has gone on over the winter to ensure that CRG is represented by some of the best teams and drivers and these results show that we have an excellent opportunity to have a successful season in 2012.”