TW Steel DMAX Enduro Championship Round 7 Report

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Sandown Park Alternate Reverse

Heavies

Qualifying

The Heavy drivers kicked off the day’s action, taking to the track in cool, overcast but dry conditions. Tomasz Zaustowicz was the early pace setter with times dramatically improving as the session went on with the drivers settling in to the new circuit layout. Adam Nakar hit the top of the pile ahead of Zaustowicz and Jamie Pender with the three of them separated by 0.044 seconds. These three continued to swap positions at the top of the timing screens with Championship leader, Chris Carter, sitting in 4th, just two tenths behind.

With Nakar getting ahead of Carter of track, Carter tucked in behind and followed, moving him up to 3 rd on the timing screens, just 0.087 seconds off pole and 0.003 ahead of Zaustowicz. Pender moved to the top of the pile with 5 minutes remaining with a 46.632 and the time appeared good enough for pole as the rest of the field seemed unable to match it. With 1 minute remaining, Zaustowicz dug deep, posting a 46.417 to take provisional pole. The rest of the field were unable to top it, earning Zaustowicz pole position for Round 7. Pender claimed 2nd ahead of Nakar, Carter, Adam Daly and Robert Purtak. 

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Race

Tomasz Zaustowicz and Jamie Pender led the field around on the rolling lap with the green flag dropping to start the first race of the day. Zaustowicz held the lead through turn 1, heading Pender with Chris Carter going around the outside of Adam Nakar to grab 3rd. Carter tucked in behind Pender down the main straight and pulled out to take Pender into Vale as the pair flicked to the left for the long, fast left hander. This gave Zaustowciz a small gap over Carter and Pender as Nakar held off Robert Purtak and Adam Daly. A incident into turn 5 saw Antony Unitt, Blaze Sienko and Rob Moore drop down the order with a couple of laps of local yellows to deal with the incident. Zaustwociz continued to pull a gap over Carter as Pender followed in his wheel tracks. Nakar took a couple of laps to settle in, but got into his rhythm after 5 minutes and began to reduce the gap to Carter and Pender in front with a string of fastest laps. Daly was running on his own in 5th but had Tom Pughe closing in as Pughe began to set some fastest laps.

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Nakar caught the pair in front and was happy to sit behind them and pick his moment, choosing turn 5 after 10 minutes of racing to take 3rd from Pender with a text book out-braking move up the inside. Pughe had managed to snatch 5th from Daly and set after the battling trio ahead of him. Nakar was now pushing Carter for 2nd and repeated the move he pulled off on Pender, out-braking Carter into turn 5 and moving himself into 2nd. This allowed Zaustowicz to extend his lead and Pughe to close the gap further with 2.5 seconds still to close. Nakar was closing the gap to leader Zaustowicz and gapping Carter and Pender as Pender continued to lap on Carter’s rear bumper. Pughe then joined them to add to the pressure on Carter in the battle for 3rd. Pender finally got Carter into turn 1 on lap 22 with the move leaving Carter out of position through the next two corners and allowing Pughe to get ahead through turn 3 and onto the back of Pender. Pughe waited just a lap before attacking Pender and passed him into turn 3, completing the move and taking 3rd as the pair headed into Vale.

Nakar proceeded to reduce Zautowicz’s 2 second lead and was within 4 tenths of Zaustowicz as the race approached half distance. Pughe was 5 seconds off the race lead but was continuing to gradually reel them in, leaving Pender in 4th with a 2 second cushion over Carter in 5th. Zaustowicz was doing well to keep Nakar behind and was eager to take points off Carter, but would he risk slowing himself and Nakar down defending for the lead or would he let Nakar go and take the points for 2nd? Zaustowicz was maintaining his lead over Nakar as they negotiated their way through the traffic with Pughe still reducing the lead setting a new fastest lap –a 46.115 – on lap 42 with the gap now down to 4 seconds to leader Zaustowicz. Daly was scrapping with Diogo Silva for 6th with Silva nearly through with a move up the inside into turn 3, but Daly held on as they headed into Vale.

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Nakar continued to trail Zaustowicz around the circuit as the race entered the final quarter with Pughe’s momentum seeming to come to an end as the gap between Pughe and the leaders stabilised at 3.5 seconds. Pender was still on his own in 4th with Carter also on his own in 5th , comfortably ahead of Daly who had seen off the challenge from Silva. Nakar lost some ground through the traffic with Zaustowicz’s lead going back up to over 1 second with 10 minutes remaining. Zaustowicz continued to extend this lead as Nakar appeared to be running out of steam as the race approached its conclusion. Zaustowicz held his advantage over Nakar at 2.4 seconds as Zaustowicz took the ‘last lap’ board and looking secure for the win. Zaustowicz took the chequered flag for Round 7, leading Nakar home by 2.224 seconds with Pughe joining them on the podium a further 2.987 seconds behind. Pender and Championship leader, Carter completed the top 5.

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Lights

Qualifying

Qualifying got underway with a full course yellow early on for the Light drivers, with the green flags waving to resuming qualifying and allowing the drivers to push for their grid spots. Cameron Noble and Tom Golding were the early pace setters with Noble the first of the day to go into the 45’s with a 45.820. Golding and William Thomas quickly joined Noble in the 45’s with Golding hitting the top spot at the half way stage. Golding was in his stride, bettering his time by another tenth to lead Thomas, Noble, Sam Bennett and Tom Sibley.

Golding extended his lead over the field further with a 45.383 with Thomas bettering his time in 2nd almost immediately afterwards. Sibley had spotted his Championship rival behind him, waved him through and tucked in behind to follow him around the circuit and try and better his time. Times continued to tumble with the order constantly changing as the chequered flag was readied. After 15 minutes it was Golding who took pole, his Masterclass a week earlier clearly paying di vidends as he beat Noble in 2nd by 0.155 seconds. Thomas and Kyle Sagar would line up on the second row ahead of Bennett and Graeme Cobb.  

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Race

Tom Golding and Cameron Noble led the field out of the pitlane for their rolling up lap with William Thomas and Kyle Sagar lined up behind them on the second row. Sagar however had to dive into the pitlane after the field went around for another rolling up lap. Golding held the lead through the opening sequence of corners followed immediately by Noble, Thomas and Sam Bennett. Noble was all over the rear of Golding’s kart in the first couple of laps as they quickly looked to put some daylight between themselves and Thomas with Bennett dropping back and Graeme Cobb hot on his heels. Thomas responded to the pair in front and closed the gap back down, setting a fastest lap on lap 3 and was on Noble’s bumper.

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Four laps in and Golding had found his rhythm setting the fastest lap and opening his lead up to half a second over Noble. The full course yellows then neutralised the race as Steven Cobb hit problems, but the top three were well behaved and maintained the gap. The race got back underway with the green flags waving for the leaders at the start/finish line with Noble coming under pressure from Thomas and Golding stretching his lead as his Championship rival, Tom Sibley, appeared to be struggling in 10th.

With a quarter of the race completed, Golding had pulled out a lead of 2 seconds over Noble and Thomas as Thomas continued to harass Noble for 2nd place, all the while, pulling away from Cobb, James Wickham and Harrison Pughe as they lapped in close company for 4th. Cobb began to put some distance between himself and the pair of Wickham and Pughe as Pughe really began to apply the pressure for 5th as the gap at the front between Golding and Noble hovered around 2.3 seconds. As Thomas ramped up his attack on Noble, Noble was forced to start defending, allowing Golding to extend his lead to 3.5 seconds. Noble eventually succumbed to the pressure from behind as Thomas slipped by into 2nd on lap 39 as they made their way through traffic. The big winner from the move was Golding as his lead went over 5 seconds for the first time in the race as the race passed half race distance.

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Having cleared Noble, Thomas set after Golding and was eating into Golding’s lead, getting it down from 5 seconds to 2 with 15 minutes of the race remaining as Golding came across a group of back markers with Thomas making the most of it and continuing to close the gap with just one second between them as they headed into the final 10 minutes. With Sibley getting caught up with a backmarker, he decided to call it a day and leave Round 7 as a drop round having been out of his usual front running position. Noble was looking comfortable in 3rd with 16 seconds back to the battle between Cobb and Wickham as they continued to lap the circuit together in 4th and 5th respectively. Golding responded to Thomas’ pace to hold the gap at the 1 second mark as the time ticked away with Golding digging deep and crucially extending his lead to 1.4 seconds with 5 minutes of the race left to run. Golding and Thomas made their way through another group of backmarkers with some blue flag assistance as Golding continued to extend his lead over Thomas. Cobb and Wickham had been caught by Dom Whiting, giving Wickham the hurry up and taking 4th on lap 76 with Whiting quickly following through for 5th, dropping Cobb to 6th.

With the ‘last lap’ board going out, the full course yellow was subsequently brought out to assist Russell Horton as he hit problems at turn 3. This neutralised the race with the chequered flag greeting Golding who took the win in arguably, his most dominant and convincing performance of the season. Thomas had to settle for 2nd, unable to challenge in the final two laps with Noble completing the podium ahead of Wickham and Whiting.

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Inters

Qualifying

With the skies overhead finally beginning to clear, the Inters drivers took to the track for their qualifying session and have their turn at tackling the Reverse Alternate circuit. Tor Ryan was the early pace setter after 5 minutes of running with a 46.584 to give him provisional pole, 0.007 seconds clear of Luke Cousins. Bobby Trundley soon split them as Ryan improved with Ronan McClintock jumping to the top of the timing screens with a 46.211, 0.066 seconds ahead of Ryan. Michael Coppin then moved into 3rd, ahead of Trundley as Ryan moved back to the top of the pile with a 46.156, pipping McClintock by 0.055 seconds with Trundley less than a tenth of a second further back in 3rd. As the time ticked away, drivers appeared to be unable to improve as the chequered flag waved after 15 minutes with Ryan taking a maiden pole position from McClintock. Trundley and Coppin claimed the second row ahead of Richard Lacey and James Perry.

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Race

Tor Ryan and Ronan McClintock led the field around the final corner for the start of the race with the green flag waving to get an hour of racing underway. Ryan held the lead with McClintock holding off a challenge from Bobby Trundley through the first three corners. Trundley had to wait until turn 5 before getting 2nd from McClintock with Michael Coppin slipping through for 3rd shortly afterwards. Ryan completed lap 1 with a comfortable lead over the chasing pack thanks to Trundley’s move with Ryan extending his lead over lap 2 as Trundley settled in for the hour.

Trundley was towing along Coppin, Richard Lacey and McClintock as they gapped Xander Mahony and Joseph Ellis with Ellis getting ahead on lap 5. Ryan posted a new fastest lap on lap 5 with a 46.276 to extend his lead to 2.6 seconds over Trundley as Coppin edged closer to the rear of Trundley’s kart. Lacey had his hands full with McClintock, Ellis, James Perry, Mahony and Tom Eastwood as they all lined up bumper-to-bumper with Luke Cousins closing in. Trundley was keeping Coppin at an arm’s length with Coppin having a go under braking into turn 1 on lap 13 with Trundley holding on around the outside and keeping 2nd through turn 2. This allowed the chasing pack, still headed by Lacey, to gain ground and Ryan to extend his lead further to 3.9 seconds. Coppin tried again to get ahead on lap 14 into turn 5 having had a run through Vale, but Trundley again regained the place as they made their way through turn 6. This put Lacey and Co. on the back of this battling pair with Ryan’s lead now up to 5 seconds.

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Coppin continued to apply the pressure on Trundley and once again, tried into turn 1 with Trundley unable to get clearly ahead at turn 2 and finding himself out of position with Coppin and Trundley approaching turn 3 side-by-side with Coppin having to go around the outside of turn 3 and getting the run onto the Top Straight, giving him 2nd place as they headed into Vale. Coppin was now able to set after Ryan as he began to leave Trundley with Lacey, Ellis, McClintock and Eastwood. Ryan’s lead was approaching 9 seconds after 20 minutes with Lacey getting up the inside at the final corner and completing the move for 3rd into turn 1 on lap 27. Coppin was 2 seconds clear of Lacey by this stage but was still losing out to Ryan despite breaking free of the large train of karts behind him. Lacey was now breaking free as Ellis harassed Trundley for 4th with Ellis nearly getting ahead through Vale on lap 32 with Trundley just holding on into the hairpin at turn 5. Meanwhile, out front, Ryan was still extending his lead with a new fastest lap on lap 33, aiding him in pulling further away from Coppin in 2nd – his lead now out to nearly 12 seconds with half race distance in sight. Ellis had been patient and finally got his reward, passing Trundley under braking into turn 5 – a popular move – on lap 40, moving himself into 4th and dropping Trundley to 5th. Ellis proceeded to pull a gap immediately on Trundley and set after Lacey in front as Eastwood was next to attack the struggling Trundley. As the race approached the final 20 minutes, Trundley was held out to dry through turn 6, ending up on the grass and dropping to 12th as the pack headed by Eastwood and Cousins, moved ahead. Trundley decided to pit and swap karts with enough of a points lead to be able to drop the Round.

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Out front, Ryan had no such issues as he continued to extend his lead with 17 seconds in his favour with just over 15 minutes remaining. Lacey and Ellis had been closing in on Coppin for 2nd, but with Ellis now on the coat tails of Lacey, Coppin could be off the hook with Lacey keeping a close eye on Ellis behind him as the race entered the final 10 minutes. Ryan had lapped Trundley who was now in 16th, but Trundley was holding onto the back of Ryan as they made their way through traffic as the fight for 2nd began to heat up between Coppin, Lacey and Ellis with half a second covering the three of them. Ellis lost a kart length or two on the exit of Vale as they made their way through some traffic. Ellis quickly closed the gap back up to the two in front of him as Lacey began to ramp up the pressure on Coppin for 2nd with Coppin, Lacey and Ellis going three-wide into the final corner on lap 72 with Lacey nearly through at turn 1 on lap 73, but Coppin holding on around the outside. This gave Ellis a run on Lacey through Vale and handed 3rd to Ellis on the exit and put him on the back of Coppin with Eastwood now joining in to make it a four-way scrap for 2nd place. Eastwood immediately passed Lacey for 4th through turns 1 and 2 and was onto the back of Ellis as Coppin continued to keep them at bay.

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The fighting was allowing Cousins and McClintock to close in with a handful of laps remaining. Ellis saw his chance into turn 1 on the penultimate lap, but Coppin held on and Eastwood pounced on Ellis for 3rd into Vale as Ellis found himself out of position through turn 3. Lacey and Cousins also snuck through to drop Ellis to 6th with a move from Cousins into turn 3 on the final lap nearly seeing Cousins pass Lacey for 4th. Ryan claimed the win by a country mile as the battle for 2nd continued. Coppin held on for 2nd as Lacey lunged Eastwood through the final corner, setting up a drag race to the line. Eastwood held on for the final podium position by 0.009 seconds from Lacey with Cousins completing the top 5.

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Report and Images courtesy of Daytona Motorsport

 

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