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Will Mitcham

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.

Race 1

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."


Race 2

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 Challenge
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


 


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