Strawberry Racing Turns Up The Heat on Rivals

Blazing temperatures welcomed the drivers to the penultimate round (20 July) of the already hotly-contested Euro Max Challenge but cool performances saw Harry Webb and Sean Babington dominate the Senior and DD2 classes, whilst there were podiums for Guan Yu Zhou (Snr) and Dean McDonald (Jnr) .

Fresh from his success in the BNL series’ visit to Ostricourt in France the weekend before, Sean Babington carried his form to Spain. However, a battery failure during timed-qualifying meant he had to start from last place in each of his heats; ensuring that the spectators were treated to demonstrations of his electrifying pace and racecraft, as he scythed his way through the traffic to qualify on P7 for the pre-final, five places behind his team-mate, Andreas Backman. The Super Swede’s own prospects of a podium were boosted by his qualifying performance and heat results.

Babington made a brilliant start and took the lead after a handful of laps. From there he was able to open an advantage and maintain it to the chequered flag. Behind him, Backman was able to secure 3rd spot on the podium with a strong drive against tough opposition.

A thrilling final, eventually went Sean’s way after an enthralling three-way fight between the Strawberry star and fellow Brits Ben Cooper and Jordon Lennox-Lamb. Andreas wasn’t quite able to run with the front trio but netted 4th at the finish and with the corresponding points, moved into 3rd place overall in the title race, with Babington in 4th.

If Babington had been impressive, Harry Webb could only be described as imperious. The Strawberry driver marched to victory in the Senior pre-final, having dominated the preludes. Guan Yu Zhou made it double joy for the Tony Kart team as he took 2nd with Lars Lamborelle 5th and Josh Price 6th. Joseph Reilly had originally crossed the finishing line in 4th place but was later disqualified for contact driving.

This would have been a bitter blow for most drivers but Reilly appeared to be inspired by his penalty. The Londoner charged up to 7th, to keep his title hopes alive. However, neither he nor his rivals had any answer for Webb. Harry completed his perfect weekend with a lights-to-flag victory, leading home Zhou; who is now 2nd overall in the championship table, one place ahead of Reilly. Lamborelle managed to snatch 4th on the run to the line with Price 6th. There was heartbreak for Jessica Backmanthough, who was sidelined by a collision in the early moments of the race.

In the Junior Max pre-final, Dean MacDonald figured strongly, disputing the lead for much of the race. He dropped to an eventual 5th which benefitted Darren Keane, who nipped by to take 4th, with Max Timmermans also making up ground – from 13th on the grid – to claim 7th at the finish. Jack Martin took 18th with name sake Jack McCarthy rounding out the top 20.

Dean scored an important 3rd in the main final, bagging sufficient points to take the championship lead with just one round remaining – next month’s (7 September) showdown at Salbris. Max moved into 3rd spot in the title fight with 8th on the road, while Jack McCarthy brought his Tony Kart EVK home 12th, with Jack Martin 22nd and Darren enduring a nightmare final, limping home in 28th place with a damaged kart.

“All in all the team had great results in all the classes,” said Team Manager Warwick Ringham. “All the drivers qualified straight into the finals, which was fantastic but I have to give a special mention to Harry and Sean. They drove exceptionally well all weekend and richly deserved their victories.”