ARLTC Season 1 - R2 Silverstone Report
With a scrappy but exciting first round of the ARLTC at Mid-Ohio cleared out of the way, 56 drivers headed to Silverstone circuit in the UK for the 2nd round of the championship.
The relatively short circuit and long straights would shape a highly tactical racing style with the gaps between drivers closer than ever, and room for error (if there ever was any in this series) close to absolute zero!
Qualifying was intense with a consecutive line of 56 cars circling the track. This made finding room for your perfect lap very difficult, with the only saving grace for some drivers the short laptime allowing them multiple attempts to get it right.
In the end, Ashley Sutton put his knowledge of the circuit from the BTCC to good use and was able to snatch pole position by a whopping -0.002s from rival Jack Sedgwick. This was a warning shot that kicked off an awesome battle between the pair throughout the night’s racing.
The top 7 cars were separated by under +0.1s, and the ENTIRE TOP 45 entries were within +1.0s of the pole-time!
It was a good qualifying for Damien Harris who was the top independent runner, while Simon Field was the fastest Pro-AM qualifier with an impressive 18th overall.
As the green flag dropped for Race 1, Jack Sedgwick caught Sutton napping and leapt off the line into the lead through copse for the first time. However, Sutton wasn’t going to let that slip easily and worked hard to get the lead back. A pass attempt came on lap 2 with the pair making contact into Brooklands. This pushed Sedgwick down to 5th place, while Sutton was able to gather it up and retain the lead.
From there Sedgwick mounted an incredible comeback with such a tight field in order to battle his way back past Macfarlane, Balfour & Cooper, eventually aiming his sights on Sutton who had not managed to break the tow of the chasing pack
On lap 13 Sedgwick took advantage of the tow and made a move to the inside into Copse. Sutton undercut but Sedgwick instead held the outside line into Becketts and held enough speed to confirm the move.
Sutton tried his best, but was unable to break Sedgwick’s hold on the race, coming home P2 with Jason Cooper scoring a 2nd podium in a row with 3rd place.
Simon Field held onto his AM lead, managing to avoid incidents behind him and hanging onto the back of the Top 10 to bring the car home in 11th place and pick up the AM victory.
Race 2 was a tale of escaping the pack. Tyler Lugo-Vickery took the early lead from Rob Jackson in the opening corners but was quickly swallowed up by the chasing peloton on lap 3.
Leading the charge was Pete Newman, who was closely followed by Kip Stephens and Scott Malcolm. A mistake on Lap 3 into Brooklands saw Stephens momentarily take the lead, but Newman was quick to regain it and even quicker to extend a margin back and carry the lead until the race finish.
Behind them the PRO’s were battling through the pack to reach the front. Tim Greven, Peter Dempsey, Daniel Nagy and Connor Parise each traded positions as they worked their way to the front, until Greven misjudged a defensive move on the Wellington straight and made contact with Dempsey, removing them both & Nagy from the lead fight.
That left Baldi Gergo, Connor Parise & Craig Williams to scrap for the final podium position, with Williams able to make his escape as the pair behind him battled for 4th and seal himself a podium finish.
Shaun Gardiner made the most of a front-row start to take the lead of Race 3, and held onto it for a good while against tough competition as James Holman applied pressure from behind.
Eventually Holman was able to make it past, and a couple of laps later Damien Harris also snuck through into 2nd and joined the lead fight. With just 3 laps to go Harris made a move around the outside of Copse, but with Tim Greven sneaking up the inside of them both the cars were 3-wide on the exit and something had to give. Contact was made and Greven slipped past as Holman and Harris slid into the gravel trap.
In the background Jack Sedgwick was lurking, having made nothing short of an incredible drive through the pack from 33rd on the grid to 3rd. With just 3 laps of the race to go he was now in with a chance of the victory, and set about to chase down AM leader David Van-Broeck and Greven.
In the end, Sedgwick lead the only lap that counts and brought the car home for his 2nd win of the evening. Greven held on for 2nd and Van Broeck picked up the AM victory and the final podium spot in 3rd.
After all the protests were said and done, unsuprisingly Jack Sedgwick took the top-spot with 255 points for the week. Once again Jason Cooper scored another great result to take 2nd place for the week with 244. This time Ben Palmer came home 3rd overall on 235, with George Simmons, David Baker and Gergo Baldi each sharing 4th place on 224 points.
Simon Field was top AM for the week after an impressive showing all night. He picked up 221 points while Pete Newman was just -4 behind on 217.
In the overall standings the Cooper brothers lead the way with Jason topping the PRO drivers and Luke in the AM’s.
CQR Club are leading the PRO teams standings with a 43 point lead over Automek and the CQR Puresims guys
BoosTED are not to be messed with in the AM teams, their cars holding a lockdown in 1st & 2nd at the moment ahead of Team MAD.
This week we are heading to the infamous Virginia International Raceway for what promises to be another exciting round of the ARLTC.
I expect the long circuit will provide plenty of opportunity for passing as the drivers spread out a little more than we have been used to over the past 2 weeks. However, the long and windy circuit will also be tricky so once again the drivers will have to be on their best behaviour in order to keep their noses clean and stay out of the stewards room.
See you there!