Traction 2016 - Round 3 Race Report
Round 3 of the Traction series was expected to be a lot more tense than previous rounds with drivers starting to work out what positions they needed to keep their championship hopes alive. However, this didn’t seem to be the case. In usual fashion there was a very relax atmosphere in the pits as the days racing started to unfold. The track was very fast and flowing, it required a lot of aggression to stay competitive.
For Formula 1 the early stages saw James Wright lead the way while Championship leader Luke Lee struggled with a few problems. This was only short lived and he quickly move to the top of the time sheets in round 3 and held it to take pole. In GT10 the main battle appeared to be between two late starters to the series. Dave Sedgwick was just holding the lead in the earlier rounds but a DNF in round 4 allowed Bob Hill to steal it by just 2 seconds.
In the smaller classes, GT12 Gavin Stephenson was in full control FTQing most of the rounds. Craig Nutting and Craig Binns wasn't far behind though. And finally, LMP saw some blistering times by the three front runners of Andy Murray, Tim Wood and Craig Nutting. The trio kept swopping the top spots throughout qualifying. On the final round it was Andy Murray who came out on top but it was clearly going to be another epic final.
Super Lap Challenge
Once again in the break before the finals the drivers were treated to another episode of the ever popular Super Lap Challenge. The 4 lucky drivers this round were Stephen Rogers, Nigel Wyse, Michael Lee and Martin Harris. Rogers was first to hit the track and he literally did by rolling the car and only setting a time of 18.18. Wyse was next up and learning from Rogers example he took more care to set a clean lap of 17.76. Lee's practice laps were very spectacular as he tried to find the super car weaknesses (it’s only weakness is it's drivers). It seemed to work though because he found over a second to lead with a 16.69. The pressure was now on Harris with everyone in the hall checking out the action. He tried the same tactics as Lee to add more scuffs to our lovely new body shell! It was a good final lap but 0.23 seconds slower than Lee's. So Michael Lee was added to the super lap hall of fame winning a very nice Schumacher setup board.
It was an action pack start to the F1 final with almost every driver changing positions. All except the front 4 who quickly escaped away from the opening lap battles. As expected Luke Lee controlled the front followed by Wright and his brother Michael. As the race started to settle Wright went on the attack pushing Lee for the lead. Wright got his opportunity to pass when the pair caught up with back markers. There was no shaking Lee and he pressured Wright for the next three laps until he found the smallest of openings to get back past. Behind them David Underwood had slowly caught up to Michael Lee and was fighting for third until an incident with a back marker wiped out his hard work. The lead battle still continued with Wright pushing hard just to stay with Lee, it seemed to much and it was his car that buckled first forcing him to retire. The race finished with Luke Lee the winner followed by Michael Lee and Underwood.
To say the start of the World GT10 race was action packed would be very much an understatement. The only car that managed to have a clean opening lap was pole sitter Hill. Sedgewick was the biggest loser having been hit by 5 cars, he unsurprisingly had to retire. Championship leader Deacon was another one in trouble as he lost power from a turn one incident. As the drivers tried to cut through all the red mist it was Hill leading with a comfortable margin to battling group of Patton, Christopher and Stokes. Although there was plenty of little scuffs through the race the positions seemed to settle. On Lap 21 everything changed, Christopher was like a rocket as he caught and passed Patton for second. As for the leader, Hill lost his body clips and his shell lifted going down the straight forcing him to retire dramatically. From there the top positions never changed again with Christopher winning followed by Patton and Gaz Dearing.
After all the action of the other finals it didn’t look right seeing the GT12 start so clean. Stephenson had a solid start but Nutting was on the chase and briefly got alongside him. Stephenson was having none of it and pulled back past. The pair showed perfect car control as Nutting had a few more nibbles at Stephenson's lead. He could not convert anything into a pass though and Stephenson soon moved off into the distance. At the halfway point it was Craig Binns who was on the move and slowly caught Nutting up, the pair stayed close together for 5 laps before Binns got tangled up with a back marker. This gave Nutting breathing room to bring the car home in second, Binns in third and of course Stephenson taking the win.
The final race of the day promised to be a special one with three very experienced racers closely battling over 8 minutes. It was another clean start from the smaller cars, Wood was straight on the attack trying to find a way past Nutting. He was trying to pass at every corner which Nutting was skillfully defending. In was only until lap 7 when Nutting made a small mistake which allowed Wood through. By this point Murray was 3 seconds up the road and slowly increasing his lead. Nutting settled into a good pace behind Wood closely followed him through the never ending traffic. It was a real masterclass by the leaders, not only with their outright pace, but also with how they managed to get past so many slower back markers. The race order never changed as a result with Murray taking the win, followed by Wood and Nutting.
Round 3 was definitely a rollercoaster day with a very relaxed morning followed by a lot of action in the finals. The driving abilities were once again very high with pit banter even higher. The Swifts team would like to thank everyone who attended, especially those who helped with setting up and packing away the track. With the championships, the F1 class has already been won by Luke Lee after his three straight victories. The other classes are still all to play for, more about these will be posted later. Round 4 will surely be the best one yet as drivers focus on those all-important titles. There is also the evermore popular super lap challenge to look forward to. Get yourself booked in here.