THREE FROM THREE AT BRANDS HATCH AS ALEX SOLLEY WINS FINALE
Alex Solley made it three different winners from three races with victory in the final Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE Trophy encounter of the weekend at Brands Hatch.
The Graves Motorsport driver had started the race from second on the reverse grid on the back of his podium finish in race two and made the best start when the lights went out to jump ahead of polesitter Nathan Edwards going into turn one.
As had been the case with Jack Byrne in race two, Solley was then able to control proceedings from the front, edging away from the squabbles behind over second place to establish an advantage approaching two seconds over his rivals.
Solley’s charge towards a first win of the campaign was only halted after a dramatic roll for debutant Ben Taylor on the exit of Surtees – which saw his car come to rest on top of the tyre wall – led to the safety car being deployed and the chequered flag coming out early.
It meant a second career win for Solley, as the Graves Motorsport squad picked up a second win of the weekend to go with Jack Byrne’s success in race two.
The early stages of the race saw Edwards holding on to second spot despite the best efforts of Byrne, who would try and make a move through Paddock Hill Bend on lap two only to then fall behind Tom Ovenden when he slipped through on the run up to Druids.
The trio would run together until lap nine, when Ovenden managed to make a move on Edwards going into Druids and Byrne then got a run on Edwards out of Graham Hill Bend to sneak through into third spot – moments before Ben Taylor’s dramatic exit from the action.
That would leave Edwards classified in fourth place ahead of James Black, who once again produced a measured drive in the front pack to take a second Rookie Cup victory of the weekend – keeping more experienced team-mate Nicky Taylor at bay in the closing stages.
Taylor had enjoyed a solid battle with Harry Hickton before a technical issue forced him to make an unscheduled pitstop, leaving Rhys Hurd to take seventh spot after a late move on Frankie Taylor.
Reece Lycett and Lee Pearce rounded out the top ten, with the latter securing a third Directors Cup win of the weekend as a result.
Ovenden heads the points ahead of Byrne after the opening weekend of the campaign, with the Cooper class next in action at Snetterton on the weekend of 13/14 May.