Oulton Park Feature Race - Race Report
21 June 2013

Oulton Park witnessed a thrilling race day of ‘firsts’ as the inaugural Radical Feature Race delivered fascinating racing in challenging weather conditions. Olympic gold medallist Jason Kenny enjoyed his first Radical race driving alongside Radical Works driver James Abbott whilst the new Radical RXC coupe made its competitive debut.
Torrential rain just before qualifying meant the advantage normally enjoyed by SR8s at Oulton was cut to nought with Mectech’s pairing of Bradley Smith/Lewis Plato qualified their SR3 RS on pole, just two-hundredths ahead of Mark Smithson/Christian Kronegard and Chris Hyman/Alex Mortimer only 0.4s behind. 

Rollcentre’s pairing of Marcel Marateotto/Martin Short qualified fourth; Marateotto and Kronegard’s performances were particularly impressive given neither had visited Oulton Park before. Radical Australia’s Greg Smith was not only new to the circuit but new to the conditions and series! He qualified a very respectable 11th.

It was clear from the start that teams were taking very different strategies to make the most of their 90-minute race. Some teams elected to short-shift and minimise fuel usage whilst others took a more aggressive approach to win on sheer pace. A clean rolling start saw Smithson dive into the lead on the first lap, chased by Marateotto and Plato. By the end of lap 2, Alex Mortimer had demoted the MecTech SR3 RS to fourth with the SR3 RS of Michael Broadhurst/Tom Ashton comfortably in fifth. The order settled down for a few laps before a mistake by Tom Jordan saw both him and Andy Cummings in the gravel at Shell Oils, scrambling the safety car and closing up the field. Both were able to rejoin; Cummings immediately back on track and Jordan after a brief spell in the pits. Jordan’s team-mate Smithson also made a stop on lap 15 for a brief tyre and setup change.

At around half way there was a flurry of pit stops as driver changes were made and SR8s and SR1s were re-fuelled. Dan Vaughan was the only SR1 not to stop and despite starting from the pitlane had worked his way up to fifth overall.  Three drivers were “solo” entries and as the SR3s they were driving have excellent fuel consumption their plan was to complete the 90 minutes without taking a pit stop.  Mark Abbott made good progress and moved up to second overall by lap 33, holding his position despite being challenged by reigning 2012 Clubman’s Cup champion Bradley Smith and SR8 driver Alex Mortimer until minor technical gremlins brought his race to an end. 

Meanwhile the SR3 RS of Michael Broadhurst/Tom Ashton was putting in consistent laps and was now leading the race, with Smith hot on the heels.  A move on Lap 44 moved Smith back into first place and demoted Broadhurst/Ashton to second, before an unscheduled stop for the current Performance Direct Radical SR3 Challenge leader saw the battle for victory switch between Alex Mortimer, Martin Short and Broadhurst/Ashton. As the flag dropped Mortimer/Hyman took the overall and Masters class wins just 3.9s ahead of Supersports Class victors Broadhurst/Ashton and Short Marateotto, an incredibly close margin after 90 minutes of racing. Steve Quick was the highest placed solo driver in his SR3 finishing fifth overall and third in class looking very fresh afterwards, just behind Plato/Smith. Dan Vaughan took the Invitation class win in his SR1 ahead of visiting driver Greg Smith, Rob Almond/James Littlejohn and Colin Noble Jnr/Anthony Dunn.

The second 2013 Radical Feature Race will be an even bigger test for the assembled teams with the weekend including an hour of qualifying and a longer two-hour endurance race. Taking place at Snetterton on Saturday 27 July this event is open to any Radical-badged racing car and is set to be another fascinating event. Click here to find out more and register your entry.
 
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