Another Successful Weekend at MINI Challenge, 22B/MLR Sprint and Irish Drift Championship
Another weekend of racing down, more success for Owen Developments! Mini Challenge UK and the Irish Drift Championship had their first rounds at Donington Park and Mondello Park respectively with the 22B/MLR Sprint Series having it's second round at Oulton Park. Here's how our supported teams and drivers got on-
MINI CHALLENGE UK-
Owen's are sole turbo supplier to Mini Challenge UK which kicked off last weekend at Donington Park, with 30 drivers including a number of previous champions will battle it out with newcomers for this year’s crown. Races one and two were held in fine conditions, whereas race three the heavens opened causing more than one hairy moment for the drivers.
Before the racing started there was of course qualifying; in the Cooper Class pole went to Gideon Cresswell who just beat reigning Cooper Class Champion Shane Stoney; keeping Stoney behind in the races would be a challenge. In John Cooper Works Chris Knox (standing in for Jono Brown) took pole ahead of Simon Quinn and Luke Caudle.
Chris Knox’s lead would not last and he would end up 10th in class, leaving the win to Luke Caudle, who would also go on to win race two and hold the Championship lead at the end of the meeting by 10 points. Knox’s weekend would improve with a win in race three leaving him in 4th in JCW, with consistent performances by Lawrence Davy and Neil Newstead placing them 2nd and 3rd in Class respectively.
Meanwhile in Cooper Class it was the Shane Stoney show all event; after barely missing out on pole for race one he went on to win all three rounds at the meeting. Stoney will arrive at Brands Hatch with a 16 point lead over Gideon Cresswell who also had a solid weekend, scoring two podiums after winning pole position. A mention should also be made of Matt Hammond who scored a 3rd place finish in only his second race in the Championship.
The 22B/MLR Sprint series was at Oulton Park for Round 2 of the Championship on the tight and twisty tarmac rally stage. In the S2 Class reigning Champion Paul Colley wasn’t competing but fellow Owens/Chevron supported driver John Felstead was on hand.
After a 3rd place finish at Castle Combe John was in good form going into the round and he converted his good form into a class win. This combined with his 3rd moved him to the top of the S2 standings by 20 points and into 4th in the overall standings. If he keeps this up the S2 Championship will have been won three years in a row with an Owen’s Twin Scroll Turbo!
IRISH DRIFT CHAMPIONSHIP-
The first round of the 2014 Irish Drift Championship was held at Mondello Park at the weekend, without reigning Champion James Deane (an Owen's supported driver, naturally!) as he's taking on new challenges in new Championships this season, who would take up his crown? Owen Developments were well represented among the drivers; Jack Shanahan, winner of the Super-Pro class at round 1 of the BDC, Team WKD teammates Wesley Keating and Barry Leonard, Adrian Walsh of Marini Motorsports/Hankook Tyres, Formula Drift regular Darren McNamara and Team JapSpeed’s Shane O’Sullivan were flying the flag for Owen’s in the Pro Class.
Come qualifying there were some mixed result; at one extreme Jack Shanahan qualified first and at the other O’Sullivan suffered an engine failure and ended up borrowing a car! Once the smoke had cleared our drivers had done well, with six making the Top 16;
1-Jack Shanahan (Aerokit/Nexen)
5-Wesley Keating (WKD Imports/Nankang)
9-Adrian Walsh (Marini Motorsports/Hankook)
11-Barry Leonard (WKD Imports)
12-Darren McNamara (MCNSPORT)
13-Shane O’Sullivan (Team JapSpeed)
The battles didn’t go quite as well though, in the Round of 16 four drivers were eliminated leaving only two to go into the next round of eliminations. O’Sullivan was struggling to get his borrowed car to his liking and ultimately lost out to Duane McKeever (who was also in a borrowed car!). Jack Shanahan was put out by Barry Leonard after putting a wheel in the dirt; even the slightest error can have huge consequences when the competition is this close. Walsh and McNamara would be eliminated after close battles, both being judged as not having as much proximity as their opponents. So only WKD Imports drivers Barry Leonard and Wes Keating from the Owen’s boosted drivers would go through to the Great 8.
Leonard’s luck wouldn’t last much longer as he was drawn against eventual event winner Paul Murphy. Despite his best efforts he couldn’t stay close enough to Murphy and would be eliminated, a solid event for him though. Wes Keating was drawn against John McCarthy in what would become a scrappy battle; the first run gave McCarthy the advantage before both drivers had dirt drops on the second run. In the end the judges decided that Keating hadn’t been as far off the track and he would go through to the Semi-Finals.
His luck wouldn’t last much longer though as he too was drawn up against Paul Murphy and promptly ran off the track in the battle, effectively losing any chance of making the final in the process. Though Murphy did make an error on their second run it wasn’t enough and Keating would have to make do with a battle for third instead of first. His opponent in the third place battle, Duane McKeever, was out with mechanical trouble so Wes came away from Mondello with a podium.
Not a bad weekend for us by any means, keep it up guys!