CHARLIE MANN OPENS 2022 WIN ACCOUNT IN SNETTERTON FINALE
Charlie Mann added his name to the list of winners in the 2022 Quaife MINI CHALLENGE Trophy with victory in a red-flag shortened final race of the weekend at Snetterton.
Mann had lined up on pole thanks after the reverse grid draw saw the top six from race two reversed, and he was able to hold onto his place at the front when the lights went out ahead of former champion Matt Hammond.
Joe Wiggin slotted into third ahead of Jack Byrne through the opening turn, with Nelson King taking fifth from team-mate Nicky Taylor.
Heading onto the back straight, King was able to get a run on Byrne to take fourth, with Taylor then following him through on the run to Brundle to also clear the Irishman.
At the front, Mann was under pressure from Hammond as he tried to make a move at Montreal on both the second and third laps without success, with Mann defending the inside line and positioning his car in the ideal position to prevent his rival from them getting a run as the pair headed down towards turn three.
Behind however, there were changes, with Byrne reclaiming fifth from Taylor on the second lap and then closing onto the rear of King for fourth spot. King however had eyes on Wiggin ahead, making a move down the inside into Nelson, with Byrne following him through into fourth spot.
Taylor dropped away from the battle when his car suddenly slowed on the exit of the final corner and he plummeted down the order, with Mann continuing to lead the way heading into lap five.
Running up to Montreal, Hammond saw his chance to attack and slid down the inside to grab the lead of the race, with King then making a move on the former leader into Agostini for second.
Having been unable to make the move stick, King found himself under pressure from Byrne and he got the inside line into Williams to slide ahead heading into the back straight.
Whilst that was happening however, Taylor’s ailing car was grinding to a halt at Agostini, with the Graves Motorsport driver unable to get it back underway.
The safety car was deployed before officials threw out the red flag due to the limited time available on the clock, with the regulations dictating that the result be taken from the final completed lap.
As a result, it was Mann who was declared as the winner having led the way at the end of lap four, with Hammond dropping back to second spot and King being placed back ahead of Byrne in third.
“We’d had an issue with the car earlier in the day which the team worked to sort out and it was going really well,” Mann said. “It was a close race all the way through, and I managed to hold on until I got a little nudge through turn one which meant I lost the lead,”
“Getting the win on count-back isn’t the way I wanted to get onto the top step but it’s fantastic to finally add to the victory we secured at Silverstone last year. We hadn’t quite been able to reach those heights for various reasons this season, but I’m hopeful we can now add to this over the final two rounds.”
Byrne would end up classified in fourth place as leading rookie having set the fastest lap of the race, with Wiggin in fifth and Tyler Lidsey taking sixth spot for his best result of the campaign to date.
Alex Solley and Morgan Wroot followed behind – the latter also scoring a season’s best result – with the top ten completed on the road by Paul Manning and Oliver Meadows. Meadows however was then hit with a five second penalty post-race for contact with team-mate Alfie Glenie, which dropped him back to 13th place.
Aside from Taylor’s mechanical dramas, Ben Jenkins and Sam Baker both failed to finish, with Jenkins going off into the tyres at Palmer and Baker retiring to the pits.