BUMPER JCW FIELD SET FOR SILVERSTONE RETURN
The QUAIFE MINI CHALLENGE returns to Silverstone this weekend after a year away, with Sam Weller bidding to maintain his advantage at the head of the standings.
Although he failed to add to his win tally last time out at Snetterton, a seventh podium finish at his home circuit allowed Weller to hold onto a handy advantage over closest rival Jack Mitchell in the points.
Once dropped scores are taken into account, Hybrid Tune racer Weller is 34 points clear of Mitchell at the top – but Weller is taking a drop of 71 points having not yet finished lower than sixth whereas Mitchell has suffered two DNFs so far this season and therefore isn’t dropping anything at all.
In layman’s terms, that means Weller has an additional 71 points in his back pocket should the worst happen over the final six races whereas for Mitchell, every point now counts and there is no margin for error…
Mitchell moved back up to second in the points after taking his third win of the year at Snetterton, but he is just six points clear of Jason Lockwood, who maintained his recent run of strong form with a pair of podiums last time out.
Like Weller, Lockwood is taking a big drop into the final two meetings having yet to finish lower than seventh – making him the second highest scorer before drops behind the championship leader.
It means Lockwood could yet prove to be the man Weller needs to be most wary of, with the EXCELR8 Motorsport man having been a consistent front-runner so far in 2022.
Behind the leading three, Graves Motorsport driver Alex Denning heads the chasing pack after a double victory at Snetterton – which came on the back of a maiden win at Knockhill.
That leaves Denning as odds on to secure the Rookie Cup after an impressive campaign, with his goal being to try keep pace with the trio ahead.
It’s a similar story for Ronan Pearson, who grabbed his fifth podium of 2022 at Snetterton – although like Denning, his title hopes took a hit when he was forced into retirement in the final race.
The Scot sits five points behind Denning as a result, although he is still dropping a score of 24 whereas Denning – like Mitchell – has already logged a pair of no scores.
A sizeable gap is then in place to defending champion Dan Zelos who has seen his hopes of a second straight championship crown all but vanish after a tricky campaign. Zelos still holds a mathematical chance of winning the title but he heads to Silverstone with his goal simply on trying to make it onto the top step of the podium for the first time this year.
Zelos is currently dicing with Max Coates and Jack Davidson for a place inside the top six, with only eight points currently covering the trio, whilst Joe Tanner and Robbie Dalgleish round out the top ten. Tanner is all but secure at the head of the Directors Cup class and should wrap up class honours during the weekend ahead.
A total of 28 cars are set to line up on track for the three races at the home of the British Grand Prix although there are a number of changes to the field that lined up at Snetterton last month.
LUX Motorsport’s David Stirling returns after missing the last round due to family commitments, whilst both Bradley Gravett and Harry Nunn will now run with EXCELR8 Motorsport after their switch from Graves Motorsport over the last month.
Kyle Reid and Leo Panayiotou have both elected to sit out the weekend, whilst Hannah Chapman’s bid to make a return after her accident at Knockhill have unfortunately come to nothing after she confirmed her campaign is at an end.
Her Hybrid Tune team will be back up to four cars for the weekend having, with both Matty George and Sam Smith joining the field.