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RESULTS: Monday Mixed League Championship Round 1 - BMW 1 Series @ Brands Hatch

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

BMW 1 @ Brands Hatch

Racecentre’s mixed league opened its account this season in the United Kingdom at Brands Hatch. The field looked calm and were talkative as they relaxed in the pits, the BMW M1 didn’t have any of the drivers on edge . . . However, they would all discover its oversteer trait quickly and this had them fighting at the wheel for the remainder of the weekend. Tensions rose in the pits as the field of drivers pushed hard to find, and indeed, break the limits of the European hatchback.  Practice witnessed quite a few hot laps and saw the drivers break up into three groups who lapped at a similar speed; the entire field was covered by four seconds from first to last. All the drivers knew that Druids would be the favoured overtaking place; however, they were aware that arriving too hot could leave them stranded in the sand and fast sinking to a DNF.

Qualify:

The cars fired out of the pit lane and onto the track to set their hot laps. The session was a short five minutes so they had to post a clean lap quickly, the pressure was on! Palladino set a 01:37.349 early, would his pace be the benchmark? Pernesz came within four tenths and was the only other to set a time in the 1:37 bracket, well done! Mr Consistency: Salteri posted a 1:38.832 to take third spot on the grid. Unfortunately Durham, Owen and Francarlo Rizzo did not manage to set a time so they would be taking up their places on the grid at the rear of the field.


Race 1:

As the engines began to rev the UK Racecentre fans cheered, grateful they were about to witness the enigmatic pace of Aussie hot-shot Palladino first hand. Pernesz and Palladino fired off the line cleanly from the front row whilst the others pursued, the entire field started cleanly! Francarlo Rizzo rocketed off the track around Sheene’s and struggled to reunite with the tarmac. Salteri lead the chase behind Pernesz and Palladino who were driving quickly, trying to break from the field. Lord must have unsettled the car through Clark as he ran off whilst coming onto Brabham Straight. Palladino started to pull away which meant the battle for second heated up as Salteri closed the gap to Pernesz. Lord spun on the second lap and rejoined amongst the midfield, Owen sensed a chance to capitalise on his mistake and tried to hunt him down but Lord was hard on the gas now he was off the grass.

 

Nathan Tregarthen spun coming onto Brabham Straight but managed to rejoin. Scott Durham was chasing Jason Brooks whilst lapping consistently. The fans roar heightened throughout lap four as Palladino left the rest of the field to battle amongst themselves by driving on a limit only he knows . . . Meanwhile Tregarthen was hunting down Francarlo Rizzo in a quest for sixth position. Pernesz and Salteri’s battle concluded on lap six when Pernesz dived for the pits. However, the stop proved to be unnecessary. Whilst Pernesz pit crew refreshed his tyres Lord and Durham buzzed past as they flew along Brabham Straight and through Paddock Hill. Durham couldn’t get past Lord but the chase was enthralling and Durham showed some fine pace to stay in touch. Pernesz fortune did not change as he spun two laps out from the finish but rejoined with his tyres remaining relatively fresh, could he hunt down Lord and Durham whose tyres were falling off the performance cliff to their fiery, overheated demise?

Palladino crossed the line first to seal his first victory of the weekend with Salteri following in second, crossing the finish line eleven seconds later. Ross Rizzo took third and Brooks came fourth.


Race 2:

The second race was to entail fifteen laps and it would test the drivers’ endurance and tyre nursing skills. The reserve grid format would prove interesting, as it takes time to carve through a field with performance equality. The race began and Durham and Brooks went into the gravel trap at Paddock Hill whilst the rest of the field drove by. They both blew their engines trying to clutch kick it out of the gravel trap, perhaps, they forgot these engines are not JDM spec! Their mechanics cast filthy looks towards them from the pits as clouds of smoke bloomed from both cars as the marshals removed them. Meanwhile Lord took the lead and was looking keen to create a gap.

 

Owen was the victim of a chain reaction and spun at Graham Hill Bend after Pernesz misjudged his brake marker and pushed Salteri straight into Owen’s rear bumper. Palladino wasn’t willing to let Lord extend his lead and started applying pressure throughout the second lap; Lord’s M1 started sliding about. Owen recovered from his forced venture to the off field and lapped quickly and consistently. The second lap shaped the race more so than any other – Pernesz and Ross Rizzo, both pace setters in the first race, ended their races in the gravel trap. Throughout lap six Palladino closed in on Lord and they drove within six tenths of each other for the entirety of the lap and the first half of the next. However, Lord folded to Palladino’s pressure at Sheene’s, after Palladino closed the gap by benefitting from a better run out of Surtees. Lord ran wide and kept the petal to the metal in hope of clearing the gravel trap; he made it back on track.

 

Most of the cars pitted for fresh tyres on lap eight and the cheerful mechanics, who didn’t have to fix blown engines, happily embellished the running cars with new rubber. Whilst Palladino sat in the pits Mr Consistency, Salteri, drove into first place. Palladino spun on lap nine and was stranded with his two rear wheels stuck in the gravel; he nursed his car back on the road and rejoined in third but was unable to give chase to Lord as his engine had overheated; fresh cold air and short shifting for red hot engines is bliss. Salteri took the win because he masterfully managed one set of tyres and ran a quick pace throughout the entirety of the race. Lord came second in front of Palladino whose mistake banished him to the lowest step of the podium.


Race 3:

The twenty two lap race got off to a very clean start. Tregarthen, Owen, Durham and Pernesz were embroiled in a mid pack battle as Lord chased Salteri who rocketed into the lead. Ross Rizzo showed great pace as he chased the top three by tailing Palladino. However, Ross Rizzo lost control of his car on lap two and a DNF ensued. Salteri also ran off on the second lap and rejoined in third which left Lord leading, would he succumb to the fast flying Palladino once more? On lap three Palladino placed his car on the inside of Lord’s at Druids and took the lead. Francarlo Rizzo came to grief at Clark Curve and could not get out of the gravel trap. The middle of the race produced the battle of the weekend with Pernesz, having shrugged off the middle order, battled with Salteri for third. 

 

Meanwhile Tregarthen spun at Stirling’s. On lap six Lord, who was valiantly trying to keep tabs on Palladino, spun and this meant that the heated battle for third became a battle for second. Pernesz was driving superbly and pulled off some of the saves of the weekend whilst tailing Salteri. On lap eight Pernesz bumped into Salteri’s rear bumper at Druids but they both continued unscathed – Pernesz raced respectfully but may have benefitted from firing a move up the inside, perhaps, that could have broke Mr Consistency’s consistency. Tregarthen had worn his tyres out by lap nine and spun twice, the first pit stop was impending for most of the drivers! Salteri and Pernesz pitted together on lap ten and both drivers took deep breaths whilst their mechanics bolted on fresh rubber. Lord drove past the pit stranded into second. Owen also pitted on lap ten. Lord, who was making spinning a habit hence the name “Spin King”, lost control on lap eleven but kept it out of the gravel.

 

Palladino nursed his tyres well throughout the first stint and pitted on lap eleven. Owen lost control of his car on lap twelve but rejoined the race track and made his way up to seventh until his engine gave out which ended his weekend on a sour note. Brooks, who was running at the top of midfield after pitting early, ran wide at Paddock Hill and blew his engine trying to venture back onto the track. Lord spun once again on lap fifteen but did not lose any places. Pernesz could not keep up with Salteri and once Lord recovered from his spin he moved into third on lap twenty. Palladino took the win with Salteri in second and Lord in third.

 

The fastest lap of the races was Palladino’s 1:37.076.


Race Results:

      2013 Mixed League
Drivers Race 1  Race 2  Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Race 6 Race 7 Race 8 Race 9 Race 10 Race 11 Race 12 Race 13 Race 14 Race 15 Race 16 Total Points Current Place
Iain Salteri 20                               20 1st
Michael Palladino 17                               17 2nd
David Lord 15                               15 3rd
Jeremy Pernesz 13                               13 4th
Scott Durham 12                               12 5th
Sam Owen 11                               11 6th
Ross Rizzo 10                               10 7th
Nathan Trentgarthen 9                               9 8th
Francarlo Rizzo 8                               8 9th
Jason Brooks 7                               7 10th

 

By Scott McDonald

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