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    Cavers and Simmerson victories reopen the championship

    Silverstone 03 settembre 2023

    The second race of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli UK held at the Silverstone track saw Carl Cavers (Graypaul Nottingham) confirmed after his success the previous day. In the Coppa Shell victory went to Paul Simmerson (Graypaul Birmingham). Results that leave the fight for the title still open in both categories, ahead of the last round scheduled at Spa in Belgium from 15 to 17 September.

    Qualifying 2. Cavers found even more joy this weekend by taking pole again with a 2:04:286, adding to his points tally in pursuit of championship leader, Andrew Morrow (Charles Hurst). Paul Rogers (JCT600) went fastest in Coppa Shell with a 2:06:151, despite being blocked on his fastest lap and carrying a wrist injury, as a mere tenth separated the top three drivers. 

    Trofeo Pirelli. 17 drivers formed the grid for a sunny Silverstone afternoon, each freshly motivated to gain some points on the board after yesterday’s dramatic conclusion. Polesitter Cavers came out fighting from the green flag, dictating the pace with a defensive line through Abbey. Starting from second place on the grid, H. Sikkens (HR Owen) tried to make an early pass, but fell victim to his own distraction after an error through Abbey saw Morrow sail by. With a tussle going on between second and third behind the leader, Cavers’ new-found freedom allowed him to quickly set the fastest lap of the race through clean air, increasing his advantage by 4 seconds in just 5 laps. 

    In almost identical fashion to yesterday’s race, Faisal Al-Faisal (HR Owen) began to snake his way up the field into 6th, having gained 7 places from a 13th start overall. Meanwhile, John Dhillon (Graypaul Nottingham) in 4th, lost his bonnet as damage from Race 1 came back to haunt him, leaving him at a disadvantage which allowed Graham de Zille (Meridien Modena) to capitalise. With debris on the track, a Safety Car period was necessary with 11 minutes to go, and Cavers’ mighty lead instantly evaporated. 

    The Safety Car pulled in after just one lap, allowing Cavers to rebuild the gap following his excellent judgement at the restart. Dhillon’s lack of aero meant he was fighting a losing battle, eventually letting Al-Faisal past through Club corner for 5th for another impressive drive this weekend. The top three remained unchanged for the rest of the race as Cavers took maximum points on Sunday with a second win of the weekend, just as he did here last year. By taking 2nd place again, Morrow did all he could to maintain the gap in the standings, and takes an 8 point lead away from Silverstone going into Spa, as Sikkens completed the trio to keep himself in contention for the title.

    Coppa Shell. The green light released the pack as Polesitter Rogers led the charge in Coppa Shell. Still seeking his first win of the season, he was determined to maintain track position for as long as he could, but a reinvigorated Robert Rees (Dick Lovett) pulled a sneaky manoeuvre through Brooklands before heavy traffic into the hairpin helped to reshuffle the order in his favour. By the end of this exchange, Rogers had blinked and lost 3 places as a determined Stuart Marston (Maranello Sales) profited from the tussles in traffic, passing Paul Simmerson (Graypaul Birmingham) in his travels on the exit of Luffield. 

    Rees’ opportunism paid dividends, as he’d built in a two-driver buffer from the class above as Marston and Simmerson now battled traffic as well as each other. A trio of equally enthusiastic drivers slinked through Becketts in unison, with Simmerson gaining on Marston for 2nd but any move for the position had to be timed to perfection as Rogers was waiting patiently to pounce in 4th. Simmerson finally lunged in an extremely brave move to undercut Marston through the Loop and take the position. Marston inherited a new problem with Rogers now behind him, with flashing lights and a Challenge car filling his mirrors at every turn. The pressure from Rogers finally prevailed through Aintree Corner as he forced a mistake from Marston, who ran wide and lost the position.  

    The Safety Car in the second half of the race allowed Smith, who had started from the pitlane at the start of the race after opting for new tyres, to catch up with the group and he overtook Marston for 4th shortly after the restart. As the traffic unravelled behind Rees, Simmerson took advantage of the distracted leader to overtake him through Club for the top spot. The quartet endured a frantic few corners, as Rogers went the long way round through Village, kindly opening the door for Smith too as the pair sent Rees into 4th. Rogers took one last look at Simmerson through Stowe, but it proved to be a bridge too far as Graypaul Birmingham took home their second win of the weekend and two podiums for each of their drivers.