The wait was finally over for the 48 drivers who were eager to get out on track and begin racing.
As the clouds rolled over and rain started to fall, many drivers were faced with the reality that they may only get one or two chances to produce a flying lap in qualifying. As the rain began to settle on track the cars made their departure from the grid. 48 cars all fighting for that top 24 finish, to gain a spot in the Lobby A race.
After a 10-minute session, the drivers began their eager wait to see how the other lobby went compared to theirs. The Live Timings were finalised, and it was #960 Mark Pretty (HKS Mr Bucket) who took the first honors claiming the first Pole Position for 2018!
1. #960 / Mark Pretty / HKS Mr Bucket / Ford FG X Falcon - 2:13.060
2. #1 / Jarrod Lamprey / jarrod888 / Ford FG X Falcon - 2:13.225 +0.165
3. #70 / Matt Gater / THR Nee / Holden Commodore - 2:13.288 +0.228
4. #76 / Matt Collings / holden96 / Ford FG X Falcon - 2:13.576 +0.516
5. #666 / Mark Ferdinand / Chopsticks666 / Holden Commodore - 2:14.202 +1.142
The cars lined up on the grid for Race 1 and it was all going to come down to the launch in these wet conditions. With no traction control every driver had to maximise the little grip they had to find an early advantage.
The lights went green and HKS Mr Bucket made a great jump, edging ahead of jarrod888 going into turn 1, THR Nee almost let holden96 slip by up the inside but just squeezed it out to keep it in 3rd as they approached turn 3. The 2017 Champion was quick to attack though, launching his car down the inside under breaks and taking the lead at turn 3. Bucket held on with THR Nee and holden96 right behind going through turns 4 and 5 onto the first straight.
MRN3Drifter, Sniperkill2010 and vFendz followed on just behind with a trail of cars behind in what was a wall of water back down the straight. THR Taity did his best in the opening few laps to keep up with this small battle pack, while there was a continuation of movement for the spots behind.
After the first few laps passed, jarrod888 had made his gap and looked to be in a great position to go on to victory in Race 1, THR Nee holding off Bucket and holden96 in the meantime.
Drifter and Sniper have lost time on the leaders but lead their pack, vFendz and Taity trailing behind.
FRCA Ghost05 and Saddo15 make their way into 9th and 10th, with what would be a crucial start to their debut season. Claythekiller87 only a second behind. A small pack begins to form with KombatKing, FormulaFish and lochie55555 as they near the end of the first race in this short SuperSprint format.
The chequered flag comes out and its Jarrod Lamprey taking the first Victory of the year! Followed by THR Nee who claims 2nd and Holden96 in 3rd in their return to the V8X Supercars in what was appalling conditions. HKS Mr Bucket just couldn’t hold it together from Pole Position and finishing in 4th place.
The Fastest Lap of the race goes to THR Nee with a 2:13.41
Race 2 was what most were looking forward to, with dry conditions now at play. Drivers were starting in race 1 results on the grid.
An early launch from jarrod888 saw him control the race from the front going into the first few corners. However, early drama unfolded with #42 PMS entry Lochie55555 causing a large incident with Claythekiller87 by launching up the inside of the field at Turn 1 and the ricochet causing multiple cars to go off into the grass.
The top 4 again drove into the distance, battling it out for the top spot.
THR Taity, KombatKing, FRCA Ghost and Saddo15 all battled it out for 8th place for much of the race while Drifter, Sniperkill and vFendz all made their own ground ahead to spread out the field.
Behind them was ClayTheKiller87 who climbed his way up to 12th from an early incident which had him in last on lap 1. A little further back and Schulty da ozzi, FRCA Vermin, LILSKEETERBOSS and UnrealFenix all finished from 15th to 18th within a second of each other as they crossed the line.
THR Nee stole the show after passing jarrod888 with only a few laps remaining on the back straight, holding a few quick moves by jarrod888 as they approached the chicane in the final sector before jarrod888 got caught up in a move by holden96 late in the race which saw them both lose ground on Nee.
We stay in the UK for a while yet with Brands Hatch up next in April. Round 2 will be ANZAC Round where drivers can race in their ANZAC themed cars to support the wonderful job our Australian and New Zealand Army do and to honor ANZAC Day.