Round 2 of the 2018 HEL Performance Driftcup saw a return to the Three Sisters Race Circuit after missing it last season.
This track has always been a challenge for our drivers as the track is very tight and technical to begin with before building speed through the second half of the track.
This year the judges had decided on a very challenging layout, the initiation on the outside of the track with clip on and two located on the outside of the first corner.
The drivers then had to transition across the track onto clip three on the outside of Lunar, a long right hander.
Clip four was the most difficult as it required the drivers to cut back to the inside of the circuit after clip three, this would get them onto the right line to run out to the clip, getting the line wrong would mean coming up short for the rest of the clips.
Clip five was the final clipping point, located on the outside of the track between two right hand corners as the track opens onto the Conrod Straight.
During the Saturday practice session it was showing how difficult it would be for the drivers this weekend as many of them were struggling to get onto the right line between clips three and four.
With the clipping points being on the outside of the track it was common to see dirt drops whilst the drivers pushed the limits of their cars.
Toward the end of the day the drivers had managed to get the line around the track and get some great twinning runs.
Around the paddock that night there were plenty of drivers working on their cars, replacing diffs and clutches among other repairs.
Sunday morning featured another few hours of practice for the drivers to perfect their line ahead of qualifying.
This session was used by the majority of the drivers to practice keeping proximity whilst chasing the drivers who hadn’t been in the previous practice day.
Qualifying followed and it was looking difficult to pick between the drivers, the challenging line caused the drivers to be unpredictable with several drivers scoring a zero or a low points run on one of their attempts. Josh King emerged from the session at the top of the table with a score of 76 points.
Jamie Stevens managed to get his car to work around this track scoring 74.7 points on his first attempt, his second run was thrown away early whilst trying to improve on his first run.
Stu Jones qualified in third place in a borrowed car from BDC competitor Scott Cartledge, his first run was also his better of the two, scoring 73.7 points.
The battles kicked off the afternoon with Lee Lawrence lining up against Luke Tranmer, Lee had been looking strong this weekend and his first battle was no different, taking the win and impressing us all with his proximity whilst chasing.
Dan Joyce’s S15 adds some style and colour to the field so it was great to see him through in to the battles, knocking Chris Arnott out of competition in the Top 32.
Jamie Stevens took on Chris Dawson in his immaculate R32 Skyline, Jamie pulled a small gap on his lead run but it would be enough to take the victory and advance in to the Top 16.
Craig Taylor and Luke Conte gave us the first One More Time of the day after their first attempt had issues from both drivers. On their second battle Craig pulled it out of the bag, putting in a great lead run and taking the win.
Stu Jones won his first battle of the day against Kev Bennett showing that he was going to give it his all despite it being a borrowed car.
Lozza Hinks lined up against Martyn Giles, Lozza’s weekend had been difficult after breaking parts during Saturday practice so it would be a battle that she was eager to win. It wasn’t to be as Martyn showed great form on both his lead and chase runs, knocking Lozza out of the competition at this early stage.
Jolene ‘JoJo’ Mcdonald also had a borrowed car, this time from BDC competitor Julie Robinson. Newcomer to the championship, Jake Lynch, would battle her in the Top 32. Jake had a strong chase run but it wasn’t enough, JoJo took the win.
Aidan Clarence was back at this round and looking strong after his car issues at Round 1, his first battle wasn’t going to be easy against Danny Mcquire but he managed to take the win. Unfortunately Aidan had more car issues preventing him from competing for the rest of the event.
The Top 16 saw strong performances from several drivers as Lee Lawrence defeated Dan Joyce but one driver that started to make an impression was Paul Cunnington as be beat Danny Whyman.
Craig Taylor wasn’t able to take his place his battle with Jamie Stevens due to snapping his drive shaft whilst warming his tyres. This would put Jamie through in to the Great 8 but could he go all the way to the final?
Dave Bastin and Ashley Jones battle was a great display of door to door driving, Dave would advance through from this battle which is great to see the AE86 can still be competitive in Driftcup.
Jolene ‘JoJo’ Mcdonald took on Andy Frost, both competitors are very good drivers and wouldn’t be easy to beat so it was great to see them line up against each other. JoJo stuck her car to Andy’s door on her chase run and stayed there for the whole run, it would be enough for her to advance into the Great 8.
Lee Lawrence had another battle where his made it look like he could go all the way to the final today in the Great 8 against Chris Wright.
Paul Cunnington and Jamie Stevens had to go One More Time before the judges could decide on the winner, Paul emerged the victor and advanced in to the Final 4.
Joining Lee Lawrence and Paul Cunnington in the Final 4 would be Dave Bastin after his battle with Stu Jones and Jolene ‘JoJo’ Mcdonald after her battle with Josh King.
The first battle of the Final 4 would be between Lee Lawrence and Paul Cunnington, Lee had some mistakes on his lead run handing the win to Paul Cunnington leaving him to try to claim a spot on the podium but who would he line up against?
Dave Bastin and Jolene ‘JoJo’ Mcdonald would line up to decide on which would advance to the podium, Dave had a great lead run but he just couldn’t shake off JoJo. JoJo took the win leaving Dave to battle for the remaining third place on the podium.
Lee Lawrence led in Dave Bastin in their battle for third place but he misjudged the grid levels on entry, leaving the track and scoring a 0 for his first run. They swapped over and Lee kept great proximity on Dave’s door but it wouldn’t be enough to overturn the disadvantage from the first run.
The final battle between Paul Cunnington and Jolene ‘JoJo’ Mcdonald was close with both drivers having great lead and chase runs. Paul emerged the victor, taking his first win and the top step of the podium.
All of the drivers took the chance to celebrate on the podium whilst Team Fighting Torque were awarded the team trophy and Jamie Stevens the Driven Oils Hard Charger award.
Join us at the next round at Rockingham Motor Speedway on the 17th of June!