|2012 races 1+2 - Oulton Park|
The 2012 season of classic 2CV racing got under way at Oulton Park on March 24th, and it was as if no one had been away! Many of the same cars that finished the season in 2011 were still present, and no major colour scheme changes to confuse the spectators!
What was evident however, was that quite a few cars that only turn up for the 24 hour race were now entered into the sprint races, piloted by some new faces. Ian Arnold was driving the old orange 'Boss Hoggs Army' car (#50). David Watson and Marc Nordon (ex-BTCC) had taken on 'Badgaroo' (#89), James Northfield joined Nick Finch in the #59 'Traleda' car, and the pairing of Adam Bollons/Bankhurst took on the Overflow car (#81) - Bankhurst returning after competing in the 24 hour in 'Team Dogfish'.
With Christer Hallgren taking over Nick Paton's previous car (#44), and Julie Walford driving the Steve Walford Motorsport car (#55), there were at least 5 new drivers at Oulton, and we also welcomed back some of the drivers who have raced with us before!
Oulton Park is known for its fickle weather, but with mid-March enjoying a slightly unseasonal run of good weather, all the races took place in the sunshine. Qualifying took place early at 08:55, and there were some pretty tired people in the paddock.
Sammie Fritchley and Peter Rundle were wide awake though, as BOTH of them got exactly the same time in the first qualifying session, a 2:08:248. Rundle took the top spot however, having set the fastest lap time a lap prior to Fritchley. Nick Paton, just 8 hundredths of a second behind, qualified 3rd.
Engine problems for David Watson in the #89 ex-Badgaroo car meant that his teammate Marc Nordon couldn't qualify in the second session, and would have to follow the safety car around in another session in order to qualify. Badgaroo's engine had given up the ghost (failed valve spring leading to a holy piston), and the front right king pin was in a pretty sorry state too. Fortunately, Tete Rouge were able to save the day by lending a spare engine.
The second qualifying session saw the #57 Davies/Rundle car at the top again, this time with Lien Davies at the wheel. Sandro Proietti, making his 2CV return, qualified 2nd, and Nick Paton once again took 3rd spot.
Race 1 became an epic battle between Phil Myatt, Sammie Fritchley, and Alec Graham - at the end separated by 7 tenths of a second. Glen Oswin (#33) took little harmless spin on the grass on lap 2, and was joined there by David Watson, who also self-spun. Peter Rundle and Phil Myatt (#63) were enjoying a good battle, but a slightly wide Nick Paton forced Davies into the Cascades gravel. Rundle managed to extract his car, but finished well down the order. Christer Hallgren only managed to complete 7 laps before retiring the #44 car.
Race 2 saw Nick Paton take to the lead early doors, with Proietti and Graham in close company. Paton was able to stretch his lead as 2nd and 3rd place fought. Mick Story scrambled up the order to 4th, only to fall away towards the end of the race. James Sutcliffe was also competing at the sharp end of the field in 5th. Meanwhile, Matthew and Richard Hollis managed to tangle together on the 1st lap, leaving Matthew's car stranded! Luckless Glen Oswin somehow also got embroiled in the accident and hit the barriers, retiring him on the spot. The ex-Badgaroo car developed further gremlins in race 2, with Marc Nordon only managing 5 laps before the gearbox cried enough.
The championship now moves on to Silverstone in a month's time on the 5th/6th of May. Silverstone always provides close racing, so don't miss out!