Baggsy's European Adventure Part Two and Mini Challenge UK
This week we have part two of Baggsy's first foray into Europe for the King of Europe Drift Series, having had a really successful weekend in Austria and holding second in the Championship bodes well for Round 2 in Italy.
Meanwhile Mini Challenge UK is in Kent at Brands Hatch for the Mini Festival and Round 2 of the Championship, will Luke Caudle and Shane Stoney hold onto their Championship leads after four races at Brands?
Mini Challenge UK
The Owen Developments supported Mini Challenge UK was at Brands hatch at the weekend for the Mini Festival. In the John Cooper Works class Luke Caudle will be aiming to hold onto the small Championship lead he earned at Donington and likewise Shane Stoney in the Cooper class.
In qualifying the usual suspects were up front with Chris Smith on JCW pole with Chris Knox and Luke Caudle not far behind, with the Cooper pole falling to Shane Stoney. Race 1 continued all the trends seen at Donington with Caudle taking the win in JCW and to extend his Championship lead with Stoney doing exactly the same in the Coopers.
Come Race 2 things were all change, with Caudle taking second behind Chris Knox (who also set fastest lap) who was finding his rhythm at Brands. Chris Know would dominate the JCWs until the end of the meeting, scoring another two wins and an extra point for fastest lap where Caudle would have a non-finish leaving his Championship lead vulnerable going into Race 4 where his lead would be lost. This sets up an interesting Championship situation with Knox having overhauled Caudle by just six points, with the pair some fourteen points ahead of Davey in third.
In the Coopers Stoney continued his form from Donington winning Race 1 and 3 extending his Championship lead to 33 points; equivalent to more than two race wins already. In other words, Stoney can afford to not turn up for Snetterton and keep his lead! Gideon Cresswell and William Philips won Race 2 and 4 respectively.
King of Europe
The race for the championship is heating up, even though this was just the second round of the 2014 Monster Energy King of Europe Drift ProSeries. After two days of practice on the Castelletto di Branduzzo race track, the main action was set for Sunday, with qualifying early in the morning and the Top 32 later on in the afternoon. Steve ‘Baggsy’ Biagioni and his Owen-Garrett ODGT3076HTA-M boosted S13 had been there nearly a week already making final preparations and were again among the favourites going into the event.
Once the smoke had cleared after qualifying Baggsy had comfortably made it into the Top 32 battles with his runs enough to earn him 12th place, the top spot was taken by double French Drift Champion Benjamin Boulbes in his BMW. Onto the battles!
The Top 32 was highly competitive with the judges having to resort to a One More Time more than once. In the first round of battles Baggsy was drawn against upcoming Austrian driver Daniel Brandner, and saw him off without too much trouble. Onto the Top 16 and he was up against local Italian talent in Salvatore Pignanelli in his Valvoline liveried M3. Pignanelli was lying 5th in the Championship standings going into the event but Baggsy was able to take the battle.
Baggsy’s next battle turned out to be anticlimactic as it was ended by Nikolett Szántó’s M3 GTR having a mechanical failure and preventing her from competing, bitterly disappointing for the Hungarian. This meant that Steve was now tantalisingly close to a second successive podium, with only Nicolo Rosso and his S14 standing in the way. This time though it wasn’t to be and Rosso went through at Baggsy’s expense, but there was still the 3rd place to battle for! Baggsy’s 3rd place battle with Adam Frank and his 1000hp 2JZ M3 GTR was clumsy at best with the drivers making contact with each other. In the end the judges decided the podium was Frank’s leaving Baggsy 4th.
So that’s the first two rounds of King of Europe over; Baggsy’s been extremely consistent with a 2nd and a 4th, so who knows where he might end up come September?