BTCC at Thruxton Park and Baggsy's European Adventure
The weekend's racing is finished, more success for Owen's! The British Touring Car Championship, with all entrants boosted by Owen Developments, was at Thruxton for rounds 7, 8 and 9 of the season and the King of Europe Drift Series held it's season opener at Greinbach Austria with Acorn Motorsport's Steve Biagioni flying the flag for Owen Developments.
Pirtek Racing’s Jordan secured pole position for the third consecutive season at the high speed Hampshire circuit, but surprisingly had yet to taste victory champagne at what is arguably the UK’s most daunting track. That all changed when he took a lights-to-flag victory in the opener, however, which he followed up with second and fourth place finishes in the other two contests.
Honda Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden completed the podium in race one, but the latter would go even better in the next showdown. Shedden attacked for the lead from the outset but was lucky to stay in contention after running off at the Campbell/Cobb complex on the first lap.
It was the eBay Motors BMW of Rob Collard that took the challenge to Jordan in the immediate aftermath of Shedden’s moment, but the Honda was soon being hauled back towards the leading duo. Now running line astern, Shedden eventually passed Collard coming out of Church corner and the top two began to pull clear.
Jordan’s hatchback looked decidedly looser than its Tourer rival and when the former slid wide through Church, Shedden got a run on the outside of Brooklands and made the move stick before they’d reached Club on lap 11. Shedden went on to win from Jordan and Collard.
It was Colin Turkington’s turn to star in race three after the Ulsterman surged from fifth on the grid and into the lead before the end of the first lap. It was a postion the BMW driver would keep until the finish line, promoting him up to third in the standings behind Jordan and Shedden.
The Airwaves Racing cars of Mat Jackson and Fabrizio Giovanardi were second and third respectively, rounding out an impressive day for the Wrotham-based squad. The two Ford Focuses battled for a number of laps, with Team Owner David Bartrum warning his drivers to ‘play nicely’ over the team radio. That’s exactly what the experienced duo did with Giovanardi eventually relinquishing second place to his faster team-mate on the day. Jackson had already secured two top five finishes earlier in the proceedings, so this weekend represents his and the team’s biggest points haul of the season so far.
The final race will be largely remembered for a huge accident involving the Toyota Avensis of Simon Belcher at the fastest corner in country. His car went off at well over 100mph before hitting the barrier and barrel rolling over the tyre wall at Church Corner. Belcher emerged from the car completely unscathed although the same couldn’t be said for his rather second hand looking Toyota.
MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save endured a rather challenging day as it lost ground to Honda Yuasa Racing in both the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ standings, with eBay Motors moving into second place in the latter.
Jordan leaves the event leading the Championship by eight points from Gordon Shedden, with Turkington another ten points adrift, with Neal and Plato completing the top five. The next event takes place on the 7/8th June at Oulton Park.
King of Europe Drift Series
Owen’s sponsored drifter Steve ‘Baggsy’ Biagioni’s 2014 European adventure began at the weekend with round one of the King of Europe Drift Series being held in Greinbach, Austria. The event began in wet conditions that improved until the battles were held in clear conditions.
The Qualifying session started early Sunday morning, and run after run, it was obvious that the drivers were really in tune with the track, and that they were fully committed to their runs. With the telemetry system in place, all eyes were on the drivers as they prepared to hit the track. Everyone was shooting for first place in qualifying, but in the end it was Adam Kerenyi that did the honours, with a spectacular second run. Baggsy managed to get 7th place, for his first ever event on this circuit and against 38 of the best drifters in Europe it was not a bad showing, onto the battles!
Shortly after qualifying, the Top32 drivers were back out for more action much to the delight of the fans. The three judges, Franck Blanchard, Stathis Papargiropoulos and Julian Smith were of course ready to evaluate the skills of the drivers that made qualifying, while also making good use of the detailed analysis provided by the telemetry system.
After the disappointment of qualifying first at the British Drift Championship’s opener only to be eliminated immediately in the battles due to mechanical issues weeks before, Baggsy was hungry for his first victory in the battles. Adam Kerenyi looked to be on form this weekend, running on the high-performance Federal Tires he made his way through to the final, while taking out some big names like Dmitriy Illyuk from the competition. The 2013 Champion Francesco Conti made an unexpected mistake early in the race, which saw him out of the competition in the Top16, something no one would have thought possible until now.
Benjamin Boulbes, who was still trying to get used to his new LS engine, made it all the way up to the semi-finals, where he was defeated by Steve Biagioni, who would go on to compete against Kerenyi in the final.
The final offered the audience an all-out battle, between Adam Kerenyi and Steve Biagioni. Both drivers displayed an excellent set of skills while out on the track, but Adam managed to just stay above Steve, and took the win in both runs, thus winning the event itself.
With a great start to his European season and 7 more events to go from this season of King of Europe, anything can still happen but Baggsy's in the hunt for the Championship, and we will be seeing more action soon, as Round 2 in Italy is just around the corner, on the 10th and 11th of May!
Steve Biagioni uses an Owen Developments ODGT3076HTA-M Turbocharger.