Donington Park, Leicestershire, UK – Sunday 23 April 2017;
The 32-car Radical Challenge class of 2017 served up a dramatic 40-minute feature race at Donington Park late on Saturday afternoon. Three safety car periods within the first 18 minutes of racing produced a hectic pitstop window and intense dash to the chequered flag, which saw defending champion Steve Burgess emerge with his first win of the season.
Bradley Smith retained his pole lead while Harry Cockill got the initial jump on Burgess at the rolling start, with the Team Challenge car of Tom and Brian Harvey heading series newcomer Oliver Barker and Guyanese driver Kristian Jeffrey. A spinning Adrian Watt first-time in to Redgate, however, dictated the first full course yellow on lap two.
A spin out of second spot from Cockill exiting the Chicane at the restart saw the order change behind Smith, with Burgess second and Barker up to third. But there was soon more drama at the top of the order as Smith retired from the lead with a mechanical issue during the second safety car period, required to recover Brian Murphy’s car from MacLeans on lap 5.
Reigning Radical Challenge champ, Burgess led Barker in second and the Harvey-piloted top Team Challenge car third. But, just as the field of Radical SR3s started to settle in to a rhythm, Brian Caudwell and Mark Richards came together at Roberts, triggering a third safety car just as the pit window opened.
As the pit stops played out, the order at the top changed once more, with Barker taking up the mantle from Burgess with John Macleod third on track. An excursion into the gravel for the father/son Harvey duo dropped the #64 car to 16th place with just 11 minutes remaining, leaving Shahin Nouri and Rupert Svendsen-Cook to complete a storming drive from 22nd to win the Team Challenge and finish sixth overall, after only taking delivery of their Radical SR3 earlier this week.
Uninterrupted running allowed the Barker and Burgess battle to play out, with the pair trading places and best lap time over the final 10 minutes of racing. Barker kept Burgess at bay to take the chequered flag 1.1 seconds ahead, with Macleod crossing the line third.
Following the race, however, Barker was excluded from the results for overtaking under safety car conditions. Macleod received a 30-second penalty as a Stop/Go penalty was not served under race conditions, as per Championship regulation 188.8.131.52.
Consequently, a first win of the season on home soil for Burgess, together with two top-three finishes earned in the Radical Challenge sprint races held earlier on Saturday, puts the reigning champ top of the first championship table of 2017. Jack Lang sealed a weekend of consistently strong results with a sterling second place while 2016 Radical Euromasters Champion Marcello Marateotto completed the top three.
Race victor Burgess commented: “It’s been a very good start to the season at Donington Park with two thirds and the feature race win. We kept consistent where others had problems and it’s great to get good points in the bag from the first rounds. Now we look ahead to the Radical Festival at Spa where we hope to achieve more of the same.”
For full revised results visit www.tsl-timing.com