DOUBLE TOP FOR
MITCHAM AT OULTON PARK
On 7 April, Angel Air-sponsored driver Will Mitcham staged the
best possible start to his campaign to recapture the Avon Tyres
Caterham Superlight Challenge crown by winning both of Oulton Park's
exciting opening rounds.
It was a repeat performance of the twin wins Will claimed at Oulton
in 2005 to set him on the road to title glory. The 31-year-old from
Suffolk claimed pole position in qualifying and - despite
considerable pressure - led every lap of both 30-minute races his
Taylor's Foundry Motor Sport-prepared Superlight.
Both races were real Easter crowd-pleasers and, with 25 Caterhams
arriving to compete, they boasted the healthiest Superlight
Challenge grid seen for several seasons.
Mitcham fulfilled all his pre-season promise with an impressive
qualifying performance and a dominant showing in the race. He was
the first of the field to break the 1m 49s barrier in qualifying and
remained on the pole, by three hundredths of a second, despite a
last-moment assault on top spot by a determined Rachel Green.
Colards Motorsport new signing Glen Denny marked himself down as a
man to watch, the 27-year-old ex-karter claiming third on the grid
for his first car race, just ahead of Nick Payne and former
Roadsport runners Gary Halcrow and Chris Bialan.
Mitcham made a superb start in the Angel Air and Brown & Co-backed
Superlight to claim a handy early lead, pursued by Green, Payne,
Halcrow and Peter Ratcliff, up from seventh on the grid.
Mitcham was 4.2s ahead at the chequered flag with Green resolute in
her defence of second. "I had the biggest battle with Peter
Ratcliff," said Rachel, "and I'm absolutely shattered from keeping
him behind me. I was determined not to give up my position."
There was a familiar feel to the start as Mitcham once again took
advantage of pole position to establish an early lead. And yet again
Will was unable to make a break as first Green pursued him for all
she was worth and then Ratcliff took up the pursuit after slicing
past Rachel through Old Hall on the sixth lap.
"That was a harder race," said Will. "The track conditions were
different and didn't suit my car, but I consoled myself with the
thought that it was probably the same for everyone. It's a great
start to the season - I still can't quite take it in."
Mitcham won this time by 2.1s, with Ratcliff on this occasion
second. Green's hopes of wresting the position back were thwarted
when she came under prolonged attack from Payne, and she had her
hands full keeping Nick behind her.
Provisional results - 2007 Avon Tyres Caterham Superlight
Round 1 (of 14) Oulton Park 7 April
17 laps / 45.8 miles
1 Will Mitcham, Taylor's Foundry; 31m22.598s 87.51mph
2 Rachel Green, Fauldsport; +4.255s
3 Peter Ratcliff, Freestyle; +4.431s
4 Gary Halcrow, Colards; +4.706s
5 Nick Payne, Hyperion; +4.894s
6 Glen Denny, Colards; +5.392s
R400 class winner: Alastair Chalmers / 15th overall +42.010s
Fastest lap: Ratcliff 1m49.409s / 88.6mph
Round 2 Oulton Park 7 April
17 laps / 45.8 miles
1 Will Mitcham, Taylor's Foundry; 31m24.849s 87.40mph
2 Peter Ratcliff, Freestyle; +2.159s
3 Rachel Green, Fauldsport; +2.553s
4 Nick Payne, Hyperion; +2.709s
5 Gary Halcrow, Colards; +3.216s
6 Pat Gormley, Virtual 7; +3.309s
R400 class winner: Alastair Chalmers / 18th overall +43.555s
Fastest lap: Gary Halcrow 1m49.425s / 88.6mph
Provisional championship standings
1 Will Mitcham 41 points; 2 Peter Ratcliff 36; 3 Rachel Green 35; =4
Gary Halcrow & Nick Payne 31; 6 Pat Gormley 25; =7 Glen Denny, Chris
Bialan & Clive Coote 23; =10 David Bend & Craig Welsher 22 etc.
R400 Class: 1 Alastair Chalmers 43; 2 Stuart Dixon 36.
Next rounds: June 2/3 Donington Park Caterham Jubilee