Donington Park 5hr
Sat 24 Apr
25 KA's battle for the 12 Heures crown
25 KA's battle for the 12 Heures crown
Mon 17 June 2019
As qualifying got underway for the “12 Heures Du Norfolk”, it was Donington Park pole sitters IP Racing who set the early pace, with a time in the first five laps that would prove to be unbeatable. This didn’t deter PistonHeads though, as they once again took second, this time ahead of the KA of track-club who improved on their sixth place at Donington, with a third on the grid at the Norfolk circuit. Donington Park race winners Burton Power had to settle for sixth on the grid, just 5 hundredths of a second ahead of newcomers Frugal Racing. In fact the whole field was so close that when the flag came out for the end of the session, only two seconds separated the first eleven cars on the grid.
When the lights went out, it was IP Racing’s Adam Blair who lead the pack into the first corner, leaving PistonHeads and Track-Club to fight off the KA of Kool Airunnings. As the hour progressed, Pete Dignan of PistonHeads managed to catch and pass the leading KA, dropping them to third as Burton Power also seized the advantage, squeezing through into second. This sparked a three KA fight for second place as the Burton Power, IP Racing and Kool Runnings cars all traded places to be best of the rest behind PistonHeads. The battle raged on until a stranded car at Wilson corner brought out the safety car.
Once clear, it was PistonHeads who lead the group, having had a strong restart with lapped cars between them and the rest of the front running pack. Kool Runnings were now in second, just ahead of Burton Power with Peak Performance Reviews and SuperKA Racing in fourth and fifth following an early stop under the safety car by the IP Racing team. Further down the field the tack-club KA was forced to retire with technical gremlins.
As the race pressed on, new comers to the Series Frugal Racing were pushing hard to catch the leading pack, setting the fastest lap of the race in this portion of the race. This was rewarded as they climbed to fourth, closing the gap to Burton Power KA in third. Their progress was halted however with another appearance by the safety car, this time to aid the recovery of the Octane Junkies KA from Brundle. This time though there was a flurry of pit lane activity as all of the lead lap KA’s took to the pit lane, with the exception of the Burton Power car. When the safety car peeled back into the pit lane the Burton Power car, albeit a pit stop down, had a two minute lead over the Kool Airunnings KA, who was now the only car on the lead lap.
Then the rain came. Burton Power, now back in the lead following a round of driver and fuel stops were holding a marginal lead PistonHeads, who in turn had a comfortable lead over the Kool Airunnings and Frugal Racing cars. But with the rain coming down the times tumbled. PistonHeads clearly not as comfortable in the wet conditions dropped back into the clutches of Kool Airunnings, who had been able to dispatch the Frugal Racing KA to catch the second place car. Kool Runnings made short work of the PistonHeads KA to take second, something the Frugal Racing KA was also able to do a few laps later.
With a drying circuit and a round of driver changes, the PistonHeads KA found it’s form again and started its push back to the top. The leading pair were now Frugal Racing and Kool Airunnings, but an extended stop for the former and a string of slower laps for the latter brought Burton Power back into the fight.
As the chequered flag neared, the top three cars were separated by just under a minute. The fight for the top sport was fierce, with less than a second separating the top two cars of Kool Airunnings and Burton Power at times, but PistonHeads was the KA on the move – and at pace! As the leaders slowed each other down through the lapped cars PistonHeads were closing at three to four seconds a lap. Through the traffic it seemed like the leading car of Kool Airunnings was going to be caught, but following a string of good laps the leader managed to break the tow and gap the Burton KA, but PistonHeads had halved the gap to the second place car. The top three were now only twenty seconds apart after twelve hours of racing, and PistonHeads in third were the fasters KA on the circuit. It wasn’t to be however, as despite having the Burton KA in its sights the PistonHeads KA ran out of laps, and when the flag came down had to settle for third place, Burton Power held onto second with Kool Airunnings left to take the first ever “12 Heures Du Norfolk” win. The Dagenham Dustbin award, issued by the Snetterton Marshals, went to the 107 Racing KA.
1. Kool Airunnings - Matthew Eldridge, Nick Naylor, Justin Roberts, Ralph Fernihough
2. Burton Power Racing – Andy Burton, Ashley Davies, Tom Valentine
3. PistonHeads – Pete Dignan, Oliver Lewis, Ben Lowden, Sam Sheehan, Matthew Bird
Dagenham Dustbin (for best presented KA):
107 Racing – Neale Hurren, Benjamin Monday, Philip O'Halloran, Harry Scott
Frugal Racing – Jim McDougall, Mike Marais, Matthew Waymouth - 1:37.729