Bradley Smith Opens 2017 Radical Challenge Account with Double Victory at Donington Park

Bradley Smith Opens 2017 Radical Challenge Account with Double Victory at Donington Park

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Donington Park, Leicestershire, UK – Saturday 22 April 2017;

The Radical Challenge Championship kicked off the 2017 season in style on Saturday 22 April, with 32 entrants delivering a dramatic day of racing action at Donington Park. Multiple Radical UK and European Champion, Bradley Smith opened his 2017 account with two trips to the top of podium but was unable to seal a hat-trick due to a mechanical issue while leading race three.

If the first qualifying session of the year is anything to go by, the 2017 Radical Challenge field is set to deliver a stunning season of fierce competition, as 1.1 seconds covered the top eight cars and 1.9 seconds separated pole and 21st on the grid.

Reigning Radical Challenge Champion, Steve Burgess set the early pace in dry and cool qualifying conditions on Saturday morning, before eventual pole-sitter Bradley Smith commanded the top spot. The Mectech Motorsport driver didn’t have it all his own way, however, as Radical SR1 graduate Oliver Barker closed to within 0.002 off Smith’s then best time before locking out the front row 0.147 seconds adrift.

Burgess kept in close contention to qualify third, three tenths of a second off pole, while Harry Cockill clocked in fourth fastest, 0.092 seconds further back. Qualifying fifth overall, Tom Harvey topped the Team Challenge cars while Jack Manchester delivered an impressive debut to round out the top six.

The 2017 Radical Challenge season got properly underway with the first 20-minute sprint race under sunny skies on Saturday lunchtime. It was reigning champion Burgess who launched the perfect start from the second row on the grid to take the early race lead into Redgate. However, pole-man Smith took over the top spot after finding a way past the defending champ in a move that started at Redgate and ended at the Old Hairpin on lap six.

Following a storming start from sixth on the grid, Jack Manchester headed the early battle for third from Harry Cockill and John Macleod. However, his potential podium hopes were dashed after a spin on the safety car restart led to retirement.

Despite losing his advantage under the full course yellow to retrieve the stricken car of Shahin Nouri, Smith remained unchallenged to take the first spoils of the year. Oliver Barker, who recovered after dropping back to sixth from his front-row start, and Burgess rounded out the podium.

Tony Barwell took the first Team Challenge win for RAW Motorsport in 16th place overall, ahead of Peter Tyler just behind for Nielsen.

Bradley Smith followed up his opening race victory with a lights-to-flag win in round two. Smith had a comfortable drive to the top step of the podium as Harry Cockill and Steve Burgess battled hard for the honours of which step they would finish on throughout the closing stages of the 20-minute race. Cockill eventually came out on top after he and Burgess went side-by-side on the run into the final chicane on the penultimate lap.

Behind the leading trio, Jack Lang took fourth as Tom Harvey secured the Team honours with fifth overall. Racing returnee Dominik Jackson fended off a challenge from his team-mate Marcello Marateotto to bag sixth place.

Double race victor, Bradley Smith commented: “I’m really happy with the weekend. Obviously it was disappointing not to finish race three, but the car felt good and strong up until the mechanical failure and the first two races were exactly what I needed to start the season. I don’t think we’ll be out at Spa, but we will be back at Silverstone where Mectech Motorsport hopes to run a four-car team.”

The results from the third and final race of the day, the 40-minute mandatory pitstop event, are subject to further investigation and will be released on Sunday.

For full Donington Park race results visit www.tsl-timing.com