Time Attack - Round 1Oulton Park - 16th April 2011
This weekend saw Time Attack start its sixth consecutive season, the 2011 series blasting off at a dry and sunny Oulton Park on Saturday (16th April). Quickest overall on the day was Duncan Graham, who brought his BC Racing Subaru Impreza across the line 1.39 seconds ahead of Michael Mahoney's Mitsubishi Evo VIII to win the Pro-Class - the event's top category.
Other winners included David Jackson, who was fastest in the Club-Pro Class in his Spec-R sponsored Escort Cosworth, whilst in the other categories: Club 4WD was secured by Andrew Barbour in his Evo V, Club FWD by Bo Nielsen in his Forge Motorsport Astra VXR and Club RWD by Jimmy White in his Vauxhall VX220.
2011 marks a new era for the series as it sees the introduction of controlled Pirelli P-Zero Tyres for all competitors. The switch from the Toyo tyres that were used in 2010 provides a new challenge for competitors, as they find the limits of the new rubber.
Series organisers are keen to maintain the ethos of Time Attack, by providing a competitive arena for cars that can be used on both road and track. They are therefore pleased to introduce a tyre that features a conventional-style tread pattern, especially as results have shown that lap times improved with the use of the new Pirelli tyres.
As its name suggests, the Pro-Class is for professional drivers and performance tuning companies and therefore, features the most powerful cars in the series - some capable of producing 900bhp! As it turned out, the battle for supremacy in the series' top category went down to the last few laps of the final.
During the qualifying sessions no one could get close to the pace of Gavin Renshaw, who recorded a blistering 1:31.220 in his NR Autosport Mitsubishi Evolution. But, just when it looked like he was going to be the man to beat, a problem with his car's steering saw the Evo take to the grass and sustain too much damage to continue.
In the final it was Paul Doyle in his K-Sport Subaru Impreza that initially held the advantage with a 1:36.733 putting it at the top of the time sheets. But then, with only a few minutes to go, Michael Mahoney posted a 1:36.134 in his Mitsubishi Evo and at that point it looked like he had sewn things up.
However, Duncan Graham was still out on the circuit and, after five quick installation laps, he put in a blistering 1:34.744 on his sixth. It was the fastest lap of the day overall and good enough for the BC Racing Subaru driver to secure victory in the Pro-Class by 1.39 seconds - a significant margin in Time Attack terms.
Also home to powerful four-wheel-drive machinery, the Club-Pro Class final took place at the same time as that of the Pro Class and was also a fiercely fought affair. In the end it was David Jackson who came out on top, setting the fastest Club-Pro time of the day at 1:36.850 in his Escort Cosworth.
Jackson was closely followed by two Nissan Skyline R32s: Walter Morris's Midlands Performance Skylines example setting a 1:37.570 to claim second in the category and Fiona Kindness, who ended the day less than three-tenths behind with a 1:37.865 - a time which put her on the podium in her Club-Pro Class debut.
The Club Class features cars of closer-to-standard specification and is split into three categories: four-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive. The two-wheel-drive classes are then further split into turbo-charged or normally aspirated cars.
After his Metro 6R4 survived an engine fire in the morning's practice session, Mark Pollard was fastest off the blocks in the Club 4WD final, setting his best time of 1:36.987 on only the second lap. Eric Holmes was the first to mount a challenge and posted a respectable 1:37.731 in his Mitsubishi Evo VI. But it was Andrew Barbour in his Evo V that blitzed the opposition by setting an impressive 1:36.186 - a time that would have also seen him win the Club-Pro Class and finish third overall!
The class for front wheel-drive-cars is becoming increasingly popular and, therefore more competitive, with a mix of different makes and models taking part - a factor which has become the hallmark of the Time Attack series. After a highly successful season in 2010, Bo Nielsen was again in top form and, driving his familiar Forge Motorsport Vauxhall Astra VXR, set the Club FWD pace right from the start.
His 1:38.502 was nearly 3.5 seconds quicker than second-placed Charlie Butler-Henderson's 1:41.090 in his Redbrick Racing Honda Civic, whilst adding to the variety of cars taking part was the third-placed Seat Leon of Gerry Atkinson, with a 1:43.437.
Jimmy White took advantage of his agile Vauxhall VX220's excellent power-to-weight ratio and was in a class of his own in the RWD category. His 1:41.769 was almost four seconds faster than that of second-placed Umar Masood in his Mazda RX7, who went round in 1:45.64. Ronnie Amis brought his Sierra Cosworth home in third by a similar margin, with a tine of 1:49.401.
For a full set of results click here <http://www.rpmpromotions.com/timeattack/TAresults0411.pdf
The event also featured the first round of this season's spectacular Pirelli European Drift Championship, which was won by Paul Conlan in his BC Racing Nissan S15. Adding to the on-track action - and new for 2011 - was the appearance of the Mighty Minis and Super Mighty Minis (for more experienced drivers), which raced in-between Time Attack sessions and provided some highly-entertaining, bumper-to-bumper competition.
And, if all this circuit action wasn't enough, the event also hosted the Modified Live 'Season Starter'. The UK's leading celebration of modifying and tuning culture continued to prove massively popular, with the spring sunshine attracting 1000s of visitors and bringing out some of the country's most exceptional cars. As well as the individual exhibits, the show also included club displays, trade stands and a host of attractions, including the fiercely fought Show 'n' Shine competition sponsored by Kleers.
Time Attack competitors now prepare themselves for the annual trip north and round two of the series, which takes place at Knockhill in Scotland on 15th May.
The 2011 Time Attack series is sponsored by: Pirelli, Cosworth, Sumo Power, NISMO Competition.com, BC Suspension, Kleers, K-Sport and SuperPro.
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