TW Steel DMAX Champs 2014, Round 2, Daytona Sandown Park, 16th March
With bright sunshine and un-seasonally warm temperatures, the drivers were treated to dry tarmac for the second month in a row.
David Vincent led from pole as Bennett grabbed 2nd, taking Gareth Holt through with him. Haine held onto 4th ahead of Carter who moved up from 6th as the leading four quickly began to break away at the front. Haine moved into 3rd on lap 3, passing Holt with a tidy move up the inside at turn 4 and set after Bennett all the while, Carter was gradually closing in on the leading group which was still headed by Vincent. Carter moved into 2nd at the halfway stage, getting ahead of Bennett at the final corner only to have the full course yellow brought out again, reducing Vincent’s lead once again. The green flags got racing back underway with Vincent soon stabilising the gap to Haine at 1.5 seconds with Carter now running on his own in 3rd a further 3 seconds behind with 20 minutes of racing remaining. Vincent gradually edged out another half a second over Haine as the race entered the final stages with Carter running in 3rd, albeit with Jamie Pender and Clark right on his tail and pushing him for the final podium position. Vincent took the chequered flag after an hour of racing, beating Haine by 2.367 seconds. Carter came home in 3rd holding off Pender and Clark who completed the top 5 with half a second covering the three of them. Chris Carter – David Vincent – Andrew Haine
The green flag got the hour of racing underway with Dom Whiting leading James Baldwin and Josh King from pole. The leading pair was quick to open a gap over the field which was soon headed by Chris Hackworth who had passed King for 3rd on lap 2. Baldwin was looking for a way past Whiting by lap 3, but Whiting was placing his kart well to keep Baldwin at bay, but was allowing Hackworth to close in. Baldwin finally got passed Whiting on lap 10, but Whiting got back ahead half a lap later to regain the lead. King. Whiting’s charge was unfortunately brought to an end with an incident at turn 5 with the race being briefly stopped. Those involved, including Whiting, were deemed to be ok and the race was soon restarted with 10 minutes of racing remaining with Baldwin now enjoying a lead of 25.5 seconds over Hackworth. Baldwin had an easy run to the line from then on, taking chequered flag 27.515 seconds ahead of Hackworth. Spencer completed the podium ahead of Leslie and Gibbons. Jonny Spencer – James Baldwin – Chris Hackworth
Joe Holmes led the field away with Russell Endean, James Northfield, James Pratt and Stuart Foster all behind him; as they completed lap 1, there was just 1.6 seconds covering all 5 of them. Holmes was keen to build an early lead, pulling out 0.8 seconds after 4 laps, but Endean responded with a fastest lap to stop him from disappearing into the distance. Northfield lost out to Pratt, Foster and Joseph Ellis as the race progressed with traffic allowing Ellis to nip past Foster. Holmes and Endean had built a small lead over Pratt who still had Ellis and Foster close behind with every intention of taking 3rd if they got any closer. After 50 minutes of racing, the podium was still not decided as Endean was on the back of Holmes in the fight for 1st and Pratt was on the back of Ellis in the fight for 3rd.
Pratt was closer to Ellis than Endean was to Holmes with the gap at 0.305 seconds with 5 minutes remaining. Pratt eventually got his man however, with just 3 minutes of the race left, he grabbed the final podium position from Ellis. Ellis and Partt swapped third place twice more before Holmes took the honours from Endean, eventually winning by 4 seconds. In the close fight for 3rd, Ellis and Pratt swapped places twice on the final lap with Pratt just taking it from Ellis and Knapp, the three of them separated across the line by just 0.273 seconds. James Pratt – Joe Holmes – Russel Endean Throughout the afternoon, the drivers competing in the TW Steel Dmax Heats Championships raced three qualifying heats each to set their grid positions for the Class Finals. The Heavy Heats saw two race wins for Tomasz Zaustowicz and one for Chris Munro. The Lights Heats winners were James Baldwin, Josh King and Chris Hackworth. Joe Holmes recorded two Inters Heats wins, with the third heat won by James Pratt.
Chris Carter soon hit the front with a late lunge at turn 4 which also allowed Malcolm Clark into 2nd and dropped Zaustowicz to 3rd. Jamie Pender and Ian Brooks were lining up behind Zaustowicz on lap 2 as Carter started to build an early lead over Clark who now had Zaustowicz coming back at him. Brooks had moved ahead of Pender to take 4th and began to close on Clark and Zaustowicz ahead of him. Michael McKeegan and Robert Bennett were having a good scrap for 6th and had Pender in their sights. Michael McKeegan got ambitious with possibly the move of the day, passing both Pender and Bennett at turn 6 as they got in each other’s way. Carter won comfortably by 5.583 seconds from Zaustowicz, Clark, McKeegan and Brooks. Malcolm Clark – Chris Carter – Tomasz Zaustowicz
James Baldwin headed Josh King and Chris Hackworth through the opening three corners, but Hackworth soon deposed King at turn 4 to take up 2nd with the move allowing Baldwin to build a small lead over Hackworth. Ben Leslie and Jonny Spencer were having their own battle for 4th with Marco Coltelli and Kyle Jackson a further 2 seconds behind. Hackworth found his rhythm and set a series of fastest laps in his pursuit of leader Baldwin, leaving King behind in 3rd. Richard Lacey had joined Coltelli and Jackson to make a three kart train in the battle for 6th. Hackworth took the lead with a move up the inside at turn 5 on the penultimate lap, but Baldwin responded on the final lap at turn 3 to get back ahead. Baldwin just beat him across the line by 0.104 seconds with King completing the podium. Josh King – James Baldwin – Chris Hackworth
Joe Holmes got a good start from pole with James Pratt losing out to Andrew Knapp and Kai Watson at turn 2. Pratt quickly began to put the pressure back on Watson as Holmes quickly began to establish a lead over Knapp, who was in turn leaving Watson behind who was defending against Stuart Foster, Pratt, Allan Curtis and Lawrence Howlett. Pratt eventually squeezed past Watson at turn 4 on lap 4 to take 3rd and had it all to do to close the gap of 4 seconds to Knapp in 2nd. Curtis appeared to be taking a tenth or two out of Pratt as he chased him for 3rd, but Pratt kept responding to maintain the gap at the 2 second mark. Holmes took the chequered flag by 10.425 seconds from Knapp. Pratt completed the podium ahead of Curtis and Foster. James Pratt – Joe Holmes – Andrew Knapp The TW Steel Dmax Driver of the Day was Tomasz Zaustowicz. Tomasz wins one of the limited edition TW Steel Daytona Motorsport Watches. The next round is on Sunday 20th April at Whilton Mill. Call Mark Wimblett on 0845 644 5504 if you would like to join in.