ALEX DENNING HOLDS ON TO MAKE IT THREE IN A ROW
Alex Denning made it three successive wins in the Quaife MINI CHALLENGE after holding off a charging Jason Lockwood in one of the closest finishes in series history.
Denning headed into the second race of the weekend at Snetterton looking to add to his victory in Saturday’s opener and lined up on pole alongside points leader Sam Weller, with the pair going wheel-to-wheel on the run to turn one.
Weller tried to make a move for the lead but had to slot back into second, and then came under pressure from Lewis Brown into turn two.
Brown edged ahead and launched a bid for the lead on Denning into turn three, but the Graves Motorsport man was able to hold on into Agostini and by the end of the lap, he had slipped back down to third once again as Weller reclaimed second going under the bridge on the back straight.
Heading into Agostini on the second lap, Weller had a look at Denning for the lead but that opened the door for Brown to try and nip up the inside but contact between the pair would damage the front right on Brown’s car and forced him to return slowly to the pits.
That contact gave Denning a slender advantage over Weller at the front, with Jason Lockwood moving up into third having got ahead of Jack Mitchell on lap one and Ronan Pearson – double winner at Knockhill last time out – jumping up to fourth in a gaggle of cars that were forced to go either side of Brown as he slowed on the infield.
Weller and Lockwood would both reel Denning in, with the championship leader having a look at Agostini on lap six only to then lose his place to Lockwood going onto the back straight.
As his car started to suffer with overheating issues, Weller dropped away from the lead battle as he slipped back to sixth with Lockwood setting about chasing down Denning at the front.
A gap of more than two seconds was quickly eradicated to leave the two cars running together on the final lap, with Lockwood making a move to grab the lead coming out of the last corner.
Drawing alongside, the pair were together as they crossed the line with Denning holding on by just 0.016s to secure the win.
“I had no clue if I’d won until half way round the in lap when I saw the team celebrating on the big screen,” Denning admitted. “I knew the car was going off and we didn’t have a strong car in the final laps, and it was about driving the car as quick as I could within its limits. Jason pushed me all the way.”
“I thought I had him and was jumping in my seat to try and get more momentum as we came up the straight,” Lockwood added. “I don’t think we had the pace over one lap but I think we had the best car across the race…”
Pearson rounded out the podium in third spot ahead of Jack Mitchell, who endured a somewhat lonely run to fourth – not able to keep pace with the leading pack but having plenty in hand to stay clear of a race long squabble between Dan Zelos and Max Coates.
Weller would drop back into the battle, with Zelos eventually taking fifth ahead of Weller and Coates, with Jack Davidson behind in eighth.
Reigning Cooper champion Dominic Wheatley broke into the top ten for the first time this season in ninth, with Robbie Dalgleish rounding out the top ten having been one of the early beneficiaries of a moment for Geri Racz that saw the Hungarian youngster lose ground before recovering to eleventh.
Twelfth spot for Liam Lambert saw him grab Directors Cup honours for the second race in a row, but only after another drag race to the line – this time with a charging Joe Tanner.
Tanner had started right at the back after missing race one through illness, but charged through the pack to take 13th spot – just 0.045s down on Lambert.
After her incident at turn one in the opening race, Lydia Walmsley was unable to take part in the race with the damage sustained bringing her home weekend to an early conclusion.