Blancpain Endurance Cup racer Seb Morris encountered major disappointment during round two of the season at Silverstone on Sunday when his Bentley Continental had to be retired from the race – less than 30 minutes into the contest.
Chester-based racer Morris, who was scheduled to take the final stint of the three-hour encounter, had been confident of mounting a serious bid for more podium silverware at his ‘home’ event but after the car’s sump fractured when team-mate Derek Pierce was at the wheel, their race was run.
Everything had looked incredibly positive for the Team Parker Racing entry. From second position on the Pro-Am grid, Pierce made a great start to the race and quickly moved into the class lead. Looking very comfortable at the front of Pro-Am, he then had to pit the car at around the 25-minute mark with oil leaking from the underside of the engine.
After checking over the Bentley in the pits, the extent of the mechanical damage due to kerb usage was clear to see and, as such, the car had to be retired – a bitterly disappointing, and all too early, conclusion to the weekend for Morris, Pierce and fellow Team Parker racer Rob Smith.
“It’s very disappointing, pace wise we were definitely on for a win and I was really looking forward to wringing the car’s neck in my stint at the end on some fresher tyres”, said 22-year-old Morris, a former student at Abbey Gate College in Chester.
“It’s always frustrating when you have so many friends and family along to a race and this sort of thing happens, and especially as we were looking very strong.
“Everything was going to plan, but then it all came crashing down pretty quickly. It’s just one of those things, the sump fractured at Turn One on the kerb and oil was going everywhere – something broke internally and that was it. The car was great at Paul Ricard when we tested there, so I’m really looking forward to the next round now.”
Paul Ricard in southern France will host the next instalment of Blancpain Endurance Cup action, the annual six-hour ‘into the night’ race, on Saturday, June 2.
Gavin Johnson got his BRSCC Toyo Tires Porsche Championship campaign up and running after a successful weekend north of the border.
The Chester-born racer from Frodsham had seen rounds one and two end in disappointment after mechanical issues hampered his progress, with one non-finish and a seventh place to show for his efforts.
Heading into rounds three, four and five, title favourite Johnson was propping up the leaderboard.
But his luck changed at the Scottish track of Knockhill where he took pole position in race one before being narrowly edged out by Phil Waters who took the chequered flag by 0.6 seconds.
Johnson went one better in race two when he held of the challenge of Karl Rossin and Waters to take top spot for the first time this season.
And race three saw him and Waters duel once more before Johnson had to settle for second and some solid championship points to finally get his season motoring.
“It was a really solid weekend for me, much needed after Oulton Park,” said Johnson.
“The pace was there and im disappointed to not have won more races but it’s a long season and I’m here to win the championship so consistency is critical.
“There is a lot to take from pole position, winning the TV race and taking two seconds.
“The team have given me a great car and really boosted my confidence for the next round.”
Chester rally navigator Dan Nieroda took to the forests at the weekend to tackle the Plains Rally in Powys, Wales.
Stepping in for his usual navigator, Nieroda joined driver Kieran Darrington having duelled as competitors over a decade ago during in the inaugural Formula 1000 Rally Series.
And the pair put in an assured display as they battled their way to fifth in class in their Q8 Oils backed Vauxhall Corsa.
“I’ve known Kieran since we competed against each other in 2004. He took a year out of rallying last year and is returning this season asked me to join him on this event,” said Nieroda.
An opening loop of two stages in Dyfnant and Gartheniog awaited the 130 crews as they set off from Welshpool town centre and it was a great start for Darrington and Blendline Apparel backed navigator Nieroda who found themselves holding third in class.
Sadly an accident forced the cancellation of the next two Gartheniog Stages, meaning the crews headed straight back to the service area in Dolgellau.
The afternoon saw them head straight back to Dyfnant and as expected, the battle for class positions became fierce as the Corsa crew dropped to fourth in class before heading to Gartheniog for the final pair of stages.
The final two stages saw the pairing climb two places on the leaderboard but dropped to fifth in class by ten seconds.
“We came to the event with a game plan and it’s important we stuck to it,” said rally driver Darrington.
“It’s a great event but we’ve never had much here.
“The aim is to get some more miles under my belt, it’s surprising how 12 months away can affect your confidence.
“It’s been a great day, Dan’s been great on the notes and the car has run faultlessly, I’m really pleased. I’m hoping Dan is free for the next rally.”