One of the best things about Brands Hatch is the amount of OHW (one hit wonder) drivers it attracts being so close to the London area. 2011 competitor David Jackson has brought along his new Cosworth-powered 4WD Focus ST going head to head against Club Pro and fellow Cosworth rival Warren Kelly in the Escort who, after a difficult first couple of rounds is hoping to get back on the podium at Brands. Team Eurospec have clearly been working non-stop to get Romain’s CRX back together while Marc Kemp’s Evo 8 returns after missing Knockhill – he’ll be keep to get some much-needed points here. Despite missing the Saturday warm-up, Pro driver Gareth Lloyd in the Bob Moore Racing Evo will be praying for no more mechanical gremlins after clutch problems put him out at Knockhill. With over 900bhp on tap and full slicks permitted we know this car and driver has a LOT of potential, but will it be his day today?
Round 3 also welcomes a very special guest to witness the action – Pro racing driver and Japanese Time Attack expert Eiji ‘Tarzan’ Yamada. The last time Tarzan witnessed the UK Time Attack was back in 2009, and it’s safe to say the series has progressed a fair bit since then. Tarzan has travelled all the way over with Do-Luck founder Mr Ito to showcase their new G-Box, an electronic device developed specifically for Nissan GT-R and Mitsubishi Evo models to replace the standard ATTESA and AYC systems to sharpen and improve the 4WD and ABS systems. This system has been fitted to several competitor cars including Marcus Webster’s R32 GT-R – we can’t wait to see how they get on with this fantastic device!
Sunday morning and predictably the Time Attack competitors have been left with a damp track overnight. With clear skies in the distance and no actual rain falling many of the drivers are simply learning the track and building up confidence in practice ahead of qualifying where (fingers crossed) they’ll be able to switch tyres and properly go for it. In the Club warm-up the track is hugely greasy, if anything making it worse to drive on than when it’s raining due to the unpredictable grip levels around the entire circuit. With wet tyres fitted Marc Kemp’s Evo 8 looks in good form setting the fastest overall time with a 1:00.018. Bo Nielsen is second in the FWD Astra with a 1:02.535 while Neil Fitzpatrick’s E46 M3 leads Club N/A with a seriously impressive 1:04.265 given the conditions.
Into Pro qualifying and lining up first is Gareth Lloyd is just in front of Gavin Renshaw – a cheeky move given how often Gavin’s lined up first to head out during the season! Both are determined to asset a fast lap and down the straight Gareth’s clocked an astonishing 142.8mph. Gavin is just a few feet behind him – c’mon guys this is Time Attack remember! Coming down into Graham Kill Bend and they’re almost touching – both have gone wide and Gareth’s off – there’s smoke coming out of his bonnet which doesn’t look good. As the session is red flagged Andrew Barbour just sneaks in a 53.562 lap – not a bad effort, but as the circuit opens once again Marcus Webster immediately heads back out and smashes a 49.750 – a full 1.3-seconds ahead of rival Gavin Renshaw.
Unfortunately Gordon Wight’s Pro 2WD Skyline has gone off and hit the barrier bringing the red flag out once again – luckily Gordon seems to be ok. What this does mean is the added delays have allowed a big black cloud to loom over the circuit; can anyone beat Webster’s time? Five minutes remain and OHW Chris Randall is seriously flying in the Lotus Europa, running around 400bhp but only weighing 900kg. His best time so far is a 50.830, not bad considering the power difference compared to those above him. With the session now over Steve Peel has gone fastest in Club Pro ahead of Jamie Wilson and Andrew Barbour. Cosworth rivals Warren Kelly and Dave Jackson are just 0.128 seconds between each other, while Gareth Lloyd fails to set a time in the Evo, with the early damage now looking terminal.
Finals time, and although the track is provisionally dry there’s a slight mist in the air and dark clouds lurk above the circuit. It’s going to be a mad dash to set a flying lap in case rain returns, so once the green flag is shown every Club competitor heads out on semi-slicks. In fact, midway through their warm-up lap the rains beginning to lash it down – this is going to get interesting! First flying laps over and Richard Marshall’s GT-R jumps to the top of the chart with a 53.850 – fast, but we know people like Marc Kemp and Dave Coe have been quicker today. With the rain coming down even harder there’s only going to be a few minutes left before the track’s far too slippy for these tyres. Two minutes remain and in 4WD it’s Richard Marshall followed by Dave Coe and Christopher Hamer – the rain’s absolutely bucketing and there’s no way anyone will be able to go faster. Ronnie Amis has managed to pedal the Sierra Cosworth to the top of RWD along with Bo Nielsen in FWD but there’s disaster for Umar Masood – he’s spun coming out of Graham Bend and gone into the wall backwards damaging the RX7. The big man seems alright and the RX7 doesn’t look too damaged, so fingers crossed it’s a relatively easy fix after putting in a series of good laps throughout the day. For the end results Click HERE
– (Words & pictures: Time Attack Website)
Audio – Chris Ramos – Emergency (feat. Natasha Waterman) & Matduke – Bloodlip (feat Veela)
& Indivision Livewire – Wont You Stay (ft. Tasha Baxter)
Filmed – Mark Henderson, Peter Farrow, Tim F.Matthews, James Young, Simon Opie
Edited – Tim F.Matthews
Producers – Pete Farrow