In a neck-and-neck battle to the last, Gareth Lloyd recorded his third victory of the season in this weekend’s fifth and final round of the 2010 Time Attack series at Snetterton and, in doing so, became this year’s Pro-Class Champion. He was pushed all the way by Steve Guglielmi, who could did all he could to take the title, ending his day – and his season – in second place.
After the twists, turns, rises and falls of round four at Cadwell Park, the season’s finale at Snetterton provided teams and drivers with yet another challenge to get their car’s set-up right for the Norfolk circuit, with it’s long straights, fast, flowing corners and flat topography. Therefore, out-and-out speed was likely to provide a distinct advantage to those competitors who had it on tap.
As has been the case throughout the year, the Time Attack series shares its weekends with two other major events: the Pirelli European Drift Championship and the Modified Live show, with its static displays, trade stands and ‘Show ‘n’ Shine’ competition. Added to this are the ‘Live Action’ demonstrations that provide even more entertainment to what is already a packed timetable.
With two wins a-piece from the four previous rounds, the battle for the Pro-Class title could not have been closer and it was always going to be a winner takes all scenario at Snetterton between Lloyd and Guglielmi. With the title at stake, the tension mounted as the day progressed and inevitably, it all came down to the final.
The two protagonists proceeded to swap times: first it was the Mitsubishi Evolution of Lloyd, then the Lotus Exige of Guglielmi who held the advantage. Then, on his sixth lap Guglielmi put in a flyer, stopping the clocks at 1:09.032, but a lap later Lloyd replied by posting a Time Attack circuit record of 1:08.299, which was enough to secure the win and the 2010 title.
For the second time in succession, Gavin Renshaw in the Lateral Performance Subaru Impreza finished third. His time of 1:11.163 putting him ahead of the 1:12.010 set by Jamie Nicholls who was fourth, the second CPR Evo driver claiming enough points to clinch third place in the championship.
Even though cars in the Club-Pro Class are less modified than those running in the Pro Class, it’s not unusual to see them mixing it with their more powerful rivals – and the outcome at Snetterton was no exception. Paul Doyle in his Green Subaru Racing Impreza scored his second victory in a row with a 1:11.581, a lap time that was impressively the fourth fastest of the day.
Kevin Horsley claimed second place with a 1:13.905, his performance good enough to see the Scooby Clinic Impreza driver become the first ever Club-Pro Challenge Champion. Third in the four-wheel-drive category on this occasion was Simon Deaton, posting a 1:18.787 in his bright-pink japdna.com Mitsubishi Evo.
In an exciting finale to the Club-Pro rear-wheel-drive category, the Lotus Exige of Cadwell Park winner Jamie Wilson was this time surrounded by the Wifbitz Toyota Supras of Steve Linton and Paul Wiffen. By the end of the event it was only 0.37 seconds that separated the top two drivers, with the clocks for the leading trio stopping at: 1:14.787, 1:14:824, 1:15.833 respectively, Wilson’s second place finish securing him the title in this highly-competitive category.
In the classes for cars that are near-to-standard specification, although Rob Cowling was quickest in his Evo VII. But, as a ‘one-hit-wonder’ guest-driver and therefore un-registered for points, it was the Escort Cosworth of Warren Kelly who took the honours in the 4WD category, recording a best of 1:16.040.
However, it was Fiona Kindness’ day. Setting a lap of 1:17.425, her excellent second place meant that she had done what she needed to do to claim the Club Challenge 4WD title.
The rear-wheel-drive class saw Matthew Webb take his Dragon Motorsport Mazda RX7 to another convincing victory with a time of 1:18.285, nearly two-seconds ahead of Gordon Wright in his Nissan R33 Skyline. This result confirms Webb as the Club-Challenge RWD Champion and puts him sixth overall in the overall category standings.
In the NA (normally aspirated – non-turbo) class, it was Jeff Mileham in his Lotus Elise that set the fastest lap this time round. An impressive performance saw him a slender 0.113 seconds ahead of Mark Pollard’s always spectacular Metro 6R4, Pollard more than happy with his day’s work, as he had done enough to claim the NA title.
It was a nail-biting finish in Club Challenge front-wheel-drive class for the season’s front-runner Bo Nielson, when his Astra VXR’s engine expired in one of the early sessions. Suddenly, his comfortable 100-point lead did not look so safe, as Dave Ward was poised to snatch the crown in his Mini Cooper S.
However, a blistering performance of 1:18.936 by Honda CRX driver Romain Levesque meant that Ward had to concede the win by almost two seconds. Therefore, Nielson’s emergency measure to score points by borrowing a friend’s near-standard Astra for the final runs was not required and he deservedly lifted the 2010 FWD title.
“2010 has been a superb year for the series and I’m delighted that the battle for the classes came down to the wire”, said Time Attack organiser Andy Barnes. “This season has seen a record number of entrants, with more than 75 teams at every round and a record number of spectactors. Therefore, with figures showing over 6000 at each meeting, we will continue to push Time Attack onwards and upwards in 2011.”
Organisers are aiming to announce details of the 2011 Time Attack series by the end of October and have a number of new ideas up their sleeves, one of which is a class for manufacturer-supported teams, based on standard, two-wheel-drive, production models.
Time Attack is sponsored by: Sumo Power, Kleers, Cosworth, K-Sport, SuperPro, Toyo Tires, BC Suspension, Speedhunters.com, HKS, HEL Performance, Samco Sport, Blitz and Santa Pod Raceway.
2010 Time Attack Calendar
24 April: Oulton Park
16 May: Knockhill
27 June: Brands Hatch
1 August: Cadwell Park
10 October: Snetterton