JOE WIGGIN TAKES MAIDEN WIN IN ACTION-PACKED BRANDS FINALE
Joe Wiggin secured his maiden win in the Quaife MINI CHALLENGE Trophy in a chaotic second race of the weekend at Brands Hatch, which featured drama for the championship leader.
When the lights went out, Alfie Glenie held the lead from pole going into Paddock Hill Bend but on the exit of the corner, Joe Wiggin got a better run and jinked to the inside to slide through into the lead at Druids.
As the field headed through Surtees however there was drama as points leader Matt Hammond got out of shape and went sideways onto the grass where his car then rolled – with Nathan Edwards, Nelson King and Alex Jay all then going off in avoidance.
The race was red-flagged to allow the stricken cars to be recovered, with the field then lining up for the restart – albeit with some sizeable gaps where cars were now missing.
Glenie once again held onto his advantage going into turn one with Wiggin unable to replicate the move he had made first time around as he was forced to slot in behind instead. However going into Clearways, Wiggin launched his move up the inside and slipped through to hit the front, with Glenie, Morgan Wroot and Charlie Mann behind.
Harry Nunn held onto fifth spot from Ricky Page, who had been one of the beneficiaries of the retirements from the first start as he moved up into sixth spot, putting pressure on the defending champion before making his move into turn one at the start of lap three.
Louie Capozzoli would follow Page through later in the lap, and the pair then managed to get ahead of Mann going into Surtees when the trio ran three-wide down the back straight; Capozzoli going from sixth to fourth in the process.
Capozzoli then closed in on the leading three and tried unsuccessfully to make a move on Wroot at Druids before the Mad4Mini driver then tried a move of his own for second going into Graham Hill Bend. Slight contact with Glenie saw him run off track and drop down the order, with Wroot delayed enough to allow Capozzoli to nip through into second.
The LDR Performance Tuning man then hit the front at the end of lap eight going through Clearways and just as Wroot tried to follow him through going into turn one to start lap nine, Capozzoli undid all of his hard work by going into the corner too hot – running wide through the gravel and dropping down to tenth spot.
Wroot would only remain out front for a lap before Wiggin got back ahead at Druids and from there on, the rookie – now running with PerformanceTek Racing after a switch of teams prior to the weekend – was able to hold on to secure his maiden win.
“I’m really happy with that,” he said. “PerformanceTek are a winning combination and we’ve had a great weekend. P6 in race one was great and we had the pace there to lead from the front and keep the others behind. I’m delighted.”
Wiggin’s victory charge was helped by the fact that Wroot was forced to deal with pressure from Page, who moved into the podium places when Capozzoli took his trip off track.
Page would eventually made a move stick late on at Druids to secure the runner-up spot, with Wroot having to settle for third – albeit still scoring his first podium finish of the year in the process.
Mann took fourth spot ahead of Nunn with Alex Solley, a recovering Capozzoli and Tom Ovenden rounding out the top eight; the former rallycross racer coming through the chaos unscathed for a second top ten of the season.
Glenie took ninth after his trip across the grass, with Lee Pearce rounding out the top ten and securing the Directors Cup honours.
Aside from those drivers caught up in the race stoppage – and three unable to start after dramas in race one – Clark Wells was an early retirement, whilst Shanel Drewe was forced to pit after the bonnet on her car suddenly sprung up – leaving her to complete a slow lap with it blocking the windscreen.