NELSON KING SWIMS TO RACE TWO WIN
Nelson King made the most of his position at the head of the field to secure a second win of the Quaife MINI CHALLENGE finale at Brands Hatch.
Heavy overnight rain, which continued to fall into the morning, resulted in a revised timetable that saw the Cooper field – down to 31 with John McGladrigan not taking the start – head out on track for the first action of the day.
Following three laps behind the safety car to allow drivers to get an idea of the conditions, the action kicked off on lap four with King leading the field away thanks to his victory in the opening race on Saturday – a win that had enabled him to wrap up the championship title.
Whilst King led from Nicky Taylor and Nathan Edwards, Alex Solley was the first driver to fall foul of the wet conditions as he ran off track at Surtees to lose ground to Tom Ovenden and Lee Pearce, with Solley then losing further ground on the following lap as he slipped back to ninth.
The positions at the front remained unchanged through to lap nine, with Pearce making a on Ovenden for fourth at Paddock Hill and Taylor then suffering a spin at Surtees that cost him two spots – meaning it was now Edwards who held second ahead of Pearce, Taylor and Ovenden.
Pearce and Taylor would both make a move on Edwards at Druids but only Pearce was able to get ahead, with Edwards holding on to third until the final lap when Taylor launched his car down the inside at Graham Hill Bend.
After contact between the pair, Taylor then tried again at Clearways and as King took the win ahead of Pearce, Edwards and Taylor headed for the line side-by-side, with Taylor crossing the line in front by just 0.014s.
“It was a tricky race but I could see where I was going which was the key thing,” King said. “There was standing water everywhere and Surtess was particularly tough as the car was moving around all over the place but I’m pleased to have taken the win.”
Taylor would later be handed a reprimand for his move on Edwards at Graham Hill Bend, which will see him drop two places on the grid for race three, whilst he was also handed a ten second time penalty – and further three place drop – when deemed to have passed Edwards under yellow flags at Clearways.
That promoted Edwards up into third spot ahead of Oveden, Jack Byrne – who once again found himself being first rookie home – and Charlie Mann.
Joe Wiggin, Matt Hammond and Alex Keens followed behind – the latter securing his best result in the series to date – with Taylor classified in tenth as a result of his penalty.
Solley’s tough race would end with him back in 13th spot after a dramatic moment exiting Paddock Hill Bend saw him lose further ground, whilst Paul Manning and Tyler Lidsey failed to make it to the finish after going off into the gravel at Paddock Hill and Clearways respectively.