DAN ZELOS SCORES HOME WIN IN RESCHEDULED ROUND TWO

Dan Zelos scored his third win of the Vertu MINI CHALLENGE season with victory in the rescheduled second round of the campaign at Snetterton.

The race had been due to take place at Donington Park before falling foul of the poor weather that affected the opening meeting of the year.

Tom Ovenden had started from pole position but when he failed to get away well from the line, it was fellow front-row starter Jamie Osborne who hit the front instead going through Riches and up to Montreal for the first time.

Ant Whorton-Eales and Zelos also got ahead of Ovenden before he ran wide on the infield and took a trip across the grass, with Whorton-Eales then sliding wide at Coram in the wet conditions to drop down the order.

That left Osborne leading at the front ahead of Zelos and Nathan Edwards, with the rookie having avoided the dramas ahead to make up four spots, as had EXCELR8 team-mate Dominic Wheatley.

Osborne was unable to break clear of Zelos at the front, with the defending champion drawing alongside going into lap three before sliding up the inside going into Riches.

From there, he was able to control the race from the front of the pack to score the win, although Osborne picked up the same number of points having managed to bag the fastest lap of the race en-route to second.

“It was really tricky and the track felt so slippery,” Zelos said. “I can’t remember the last time I’ve driven here in the wet so we were learning from lap one and I tried to keep it sensible and learn what the car was doing – and then make the move. I had to then manage the gap and we came away with the best result we could have done.”

Behind, Edwards looked good for third place as he kept Wheatley at bay, but a small error at Coram saw him run wide and provided Wheatley with the chance to nip ahead and grab his first podium finish of the campaign. Edwards had to settle for fourth spot but still scored honours in the Rookie Cup.

“It was so greasy out there and I nearly went off early on,” Wheatley said. “I wanted to keep gentle pressure on Nathan and I could see his rear end kept stepping out and a bit and when it happened at Coral, I got ahead.

“I had good pace when I cleared him and it would have been nice to get Jamie for second, but third place from eighth on the grid is a good start.”

Bradley Gravett overcame a clash with Nelson King on the second lap of the race to come through to fifth spot to equal his best result of the season, with Max Hall producing one of the drives of the race as he came through from the back of the field to take sixth spot. Marlo Cordell, Lydia Walmsley and Nelson King rounded out the top ten in the class.

Hall’s charge through the field was aided somewhat by the issues for some of his rivals ahead, which included title front-runner Lewis Selby – who had been running in the top six himself before sliding off at Coram and hitting the wall, forcing him into an unscheduled pitstop.

Selby’s issues, which left him a lap down, meant that Directors Cup honours went to James Griffith for the first time this despite him too being forced into a mid-race pitstop. Matt Hammond, the other Director Cup entrant, was an early retirement.