In Motorsport News
A full-field of 27 Co-ordSport Tin Tops produced some fine racing over the late-bank holiday session (28th August 2023) at Mallory Park, with momentum swinging towards four different drivers over the course of the two legs.
Danny Cassar did enough to secure pole position on his first flying qualifying lap before pulling in a few minutes later with a misfire aboard Nigel Ainge’s Honda Integra Type R. The Ford Fiesta ST150 raced by Adam Brown barely lasted longer before its gearbox gave up but he too had set a time fast enough for the front row, just 0.2s back.
Garry Barlow’s Integra was the only other car within 1s as Steve Papworth (Honda Civic Type R), father and son Field (Proton Persona GTI Coupe) and Alfie Jones (Civic) completed in the top six. Brake failure on Jonathan and Tom Dee’s Integra caused a heavy impact at Gerard’s that paused the session and sadly ending their day.
Similar to the earlier Special Saloons race, Daniel Cassar made a quick start and led by 2s after the first lap, but again, it didn’t last long. A lap later he slowed down, Brown rounded the Integra through Gerard’s and Cassar pitted to retire with a suspected cracked head.
This gave Brown the advantage from Jones, who had started strongly but was facing pressure from Barlow. This was possibly aided by traffic, Barlow got ahead of Jones and then started reeling in Brown. The leader then responded but Barlow went faster still and the pair were together halfway through the first 20 minute section. As they negotiated through traffic, Brown appeared to be a little more decisive, and he held on to cross the line first – despite his clutch failing just 0.34s ahead. Jones was a further 11s adrift.
The battle then resumed a couple of hours later. The Fives Garages team had repaired Brown’s clutch in the interval but this only lasted a couple of more laps, putting him on the defensive for the rest of the race. Barlow’s pressure told as he moved ahead at the hairpin on the third of what become another 23 laps. The Integra pulled away to the tune of around a second, but then the gap then stabilised until Brown lost out similarly to Jones around 10 minutes.
The momentum was now with Jones, who admitted he found some extra pace for the second part of the race. Four laps later, he was in the lead and pulling away as his pace dropped. A deflating tyre was the culprit and it blew completely as Barlow crossed the line. By that time Brown had already demoted him on the outside of Gerard’s on the last lap to cross the line second, 8.5s behind Jones. Jones’s advantage was a few seconds short to deny Brown on aggregate, and in fact Barlow also clung onto second by just 0.1s. So when Jones was handed an additional 10s.
Brown’s success that ends Cassar’s three race winning streak (excluding Anglesey), was a fine reward for this team who had changed the Fiesta’s gearbox after qualifying. Barlow, on the other hand, will need to wait a bit longer for that fleeting victory, adding “I’ve got to get it sometime, haven’t I?” he rued.