Britcar Oulton Park Round-up

Wins for Ian Humphries and Chris Hart / Steve Harris at a wet Oulton Park.


Race 1

Even though the rain had stopped the track was still very wet as the field took the rolling start. Pole sitter Bailey in his Ferrari initially lost out to Richard Neary in the BMW, but the Ferrari driver was determined to hang on and duly did until they reached Cascades. As he was out in front, he was the first driver to hit any watery issues and unfortunately for Bailey his race ended in the gravel trap at Cascades. This led to the safety car being sent out and also meant the single crewed teams could make their mandatory pit-stop.


One of the single drivers to stop was Tim Docker in his VW Golf. The plan though unravelled when he had to serve a drive-through due to being judged to be out of place at the start.


With the stricken Ferrari now removed (and back racing albeit a lap down) racing resumed with Neary fighting off the challenge of Mark Cunningham in his Porsche who in turn was fending off Kevin Clarke in the Moss BMW 1 and Max Coates all making it interesting out front. Cunningham though had an off and as a result fell down the order.


With the pit-stop window open, Bailey immediately pitted to hand driving duties over to Andy Schulz who now had a huge task as they were now two laps down.


Further back, the Sakers hadn't featured much, but slowly and surely they were working together to get further up the field. The pair had caught up with the Ginetta of Steve Burgess who was up to third. Chris Hart managed to get his Saker through, but the Ginetta went wide, spun back and collected the unfortunate Paul Rose. There was debris all over the track and race leaders, Neary and Clarke did a sterling job to pick their way through. The Ginetta front was heavily damaged and for the second time, the safety car made an appearance.


As the Safety Car was sent out around the thirty minute mark, it was an ideal time for those who had pitted to take their mandatory stop. Once everyone had stopped and rejoined, it was the Porsche of Ian Humphries who was out in front. Humphries being single crewed stopped early and now had a lead of 6s over Sam Neary in the Team ABBA BMW. Sam put in some quick laps and was soon on the tail of the Porsche and made a move for the lead. The move resulted in contact between the pair, the Valluga Porsche continued but the BMW was heading for the pits with front suspension damage and duly retired.


With Mike Moss having a spin in the Moss BMW 1 after being behind the Team ABBA BMW, Humphries had a trouble free run to the flag over the remaining 11 laps to claim the win alongside Class 3 honours. Moss recovered from his spin to finish second only 12s behind the Porsche after putting in some quick laps having previously been 30s off the lead. The last podium spot was claimed by the Saker of Chris Hart and Steve Harris.


Of the title contenders the Cunninghams' in their Porsche finished back in P9 as they struggled without ABS. Tim Docker initially held the upper hand after pitting during the first safety car period, but a drive-through and a spin meant he finished P8 and fourth in Class 4. Paul Bailey and Andy Schulz finished P8 and 2 laps down after their excursion and recovery from the Cascades gravel trap yet still claimed more championship points for starting on pole and fastest lap.

Race 1 winner Ian Humphries. Source: Gemma Thomas Photography

Race 2

A great start from Chris Hart in the Saker saw him move up from the second row to challenge Moss in the BMW on a track that still hadn't dried. Just two laps later the Saker was in the lead and there they stayed for the rest of the race. With a lead of a lap over the field at the time of the mandatory pitstop, Harris rejoined with an advantage of 60s. For the remainder of the race Harris managed to maintain this up to the end of the race and the chequered flag.


Although wet tyres were still the order of the day, the track was slowly improving allowing some of the faster cars to make their presence known. One of these, Paul Bailey in his Ferrari was the first to stop and change for more wet tyres and hand over driving to Andy Schulz. Humphries also pitted from third in his Porsche and once a glitch had been rectified on the timing screens, showed him correctly to be fourth.


With the majority taking their stops around half distance, a couple of pairings left it as late as possible. Graham Roberts finally handed his EDF Ginetta to Paul Galladine while Chris Hart left it with seconds to spare before handing over to Steve Harris.


Trying something different, Max Coates in the DAT Racing SEAT opted for slicks on the front and wets on the rear, a trick from the Touring Cars.


After a lack lustre race 1, the Cunningham's were hoping for a better race. Unfortunately a stop/go penalty for a short pit stop dropped the pair down to P8.


Back out the front Andy Schulz in third was closing the gap to Kevin Clarke in the Moss BMW but would be running out of laps. However, a spin for Clarke meant the gap back to Schulz was only 3s with a lap to go. At the flag though Harris took the win and 60s later Clarke crossed the line just 0.5s ahead of Schulz.


Humphries victorious in race 1 crossed the line in P4. The sister Saker though was in and out of the pits numerous times with Paul Rose and ultimately retirement before Kristian Rose was able to take the wheel.

Race 2 winners Chris Hart / Steve Harris. Source: Gemma Thomas Photography

The title is still up for grabs and will be decided at Brands Hatch in the dark.


Header pic: Paul Cherry / Britcar