Last weekend’s visit to the Lotus test track in Norfolk saw the 2016 Pace Ward MLR Sprint Series resume competition after a break of over two months. Driving his Class B Evo VI, Steve Peel set the series' fastest time of the day by a slender 0.11 second margin ahead of the Class D winner Stephen Moore in his Evo VI.
For fourth round of the season Anthony Lidster swapped his bright red Class D (the category for the most modified cars) Evo VI for a Class A (the category for the least modified cars) Evo V. And whilst the vehicle may have been unfamiliar, the result was not, with the 2015 champion winning the class and setting the third fastest time of the day. 0.6 seconds behind Lidster and fourth in the overall positions was Alan Rochell, who scooped the Class C honours.
In contrast to the previous round that took place at Castle Combe in June, the weather that greeted the teams when they arrived at Hethel was more in keeping with what’s expected of a summer’s day. Using almost all of the track’s 2.2-miles of FIA specification asphalt that combines a series of tight technical corners and flat-out straights, the dry and warm conditions meant that competitors we able to push their cars to the limit during the day’s six competitive runs.
The action began with the traditional sighting lap followed by three practice runs. After a short break, the competitive element of the event got underway, with Peel setting out his intentions from the start with the quickest time in Class B and the fastest overall time - albeit just 0.32 seconds ahead of Moore.
It was clear that Peel was in the zone and he went on to set what was to become the eventual FTD on the second run. In contrast, Moore’s second run was not as good as it could have been and it was run four before he could set a time that was quicker than his first.
With things clicking into place as the day went on, Moore pushed hard on his sixth and final run, but just missed out on the accolade of being the fastest man of the day by a fraction over a tenth-of-a-second. It was however, more than enough to secure him his second Class D win in as many events.
Whilst Rochell was equally as dominant in Class C, Class A was to become the most hotly contested category - albeit behind Lidster who, having set his class-winning time on his third outing, was quickest on all of the day's six runs. Ross Walker, who was in fact sharing his Evo V with Lidster, was the best of the rest and secured the second-fastest time on his first attempt.
Although they got close, no one - except the eventual Class A winner - could beat Ross’ time, although Raf Katowicz did get close in his Evo X and consequently, claimed the final place on the Class A podium.As Peel stamped his authority on Class B, the battle for the remaining positions in the category went in favour of regular category front-runner Nick Greenwood in his Evo V, while John Mattingly scored an impressive third driving his well-presented Evo II.
Another notable performance came from Nicholas Doyle, who took advantage of the series' taster option where drivers have the opportunity of taking part in the practice runs free-of-charge.
Having enjoyed it so much, Doyle - who was driving an Evo X - decided to pay the entry fee and take part in the competitive runs too - and he was pleased that he did, as his efforts rewarded him with the best Rookie award.
There’s now just a three-week break before the fifth and penultimate round of the series that takes place at the Croft Circuit near Darlington on Saturday 3rd September.
Increasing the series’ profile this year is the addition of live commentary and video filming at every round that will be broadcast throughout the season on social media.
The six-round 2016 Pace Ward MLR Sprint Series is sponsored by: Pace Ward performance insurance, SuperPro suspension parts, AP Tuning, Ross Sport, Turbosmart and HKS Europe.
Round 4 Class WinnersClass Class sponsor Driver Car TimeA SuperPro Anthony Lidster Evo V 1:25.35B AP Tuning Steve Peel Evo VI 1:25.02 (FTD)C Ross Sport Alan Rochell Evo VI 1:26.17D Turbosmart Stephen Moore Evo VI 1:25.13
The Pace Ward MLR Sprint Series features four classes:
Class A: Fast Road - sponsored by SuperProClass B: Track - sponsored by AP TuningClass C: Super-Track - sponsored by Ross SportClass D: Unlimited - sponsored by TurbosmartAll cars must be road legal.