Derek Tohill became the second repeat winner of the season after taking victory in Scotland on Sunday. He held off a close challenge from O’Donovan at the start and from there was able to cruise to victory.
At the start Ollie O’Donovan and Tohill made equally good starts. They were both pointing towards each other and made contact just off the start. Tohill got put slightly sideways down the straight but was ahead by the time they hit the brakes. With it he took the lead with O’Donovan close behind. Steve Hill looked to get past Julian Godfrey on the run to turn 1 with the pair going side by side. Godfrey was pushed slightly wide onto the grass as the field went 4 wide into turn 1. The 6 time champ then went around the outside of Hill to take 3rd place.
Vitols made a poor start and dropped behind Ovenden on the run to Duffers Dip. Sellar brought up the rear nursing a car without a working clutch. There was little wheel to wheel racing through the rest of the race with positions mainly gained through joker lap strategy.
O’Donovan and Hill jokered straight away to challenge those ahead. It was only Ovenden who responded on the next lap and let Vitols get clean air. The young Latvian set a series of quick laps to overlap the rest of the field. With 2 to go he took the lead though was still yet to take his alternate route. When he did he came out just ahead of Godfrey in second place. O’Donovan had dropped back after out braking himself on lap 3. It meant he dropped down to 4th just ahead Hill and Ovenden. Sellar came in last, only starting to try and capitalise on any retirements from the final.
Post race O’Donovan was given a 5 second penalty for hitting the cones on the joker lap exit. It dropped him down to 6th in the race, promoting Hill and Ovenden a spot each.
“I knew Vitols was going to be quick in the background. I was trying to concentrate and put in reasonable lap times.” Derek Tohill
Tohill qualified first after the series reverted back to 3 qualifying sessions. The Irishman was first in both of the morning sessions after staying out of troublem in Q3 a third place was enough to secure the top spot with only 7 competitors in the field.
Ollie O’Donovan survived contact with Vitols in Q1 and slowly worked his way up the leaderboard to be 2nd at the intermediate stage. As he exited the joker lap, Vitols on the standard lap took a wide line. The pair came together with Vitols’ suspension breaking immediately and the Latvian pulled off. A line of cones separated the joker and standard lap which neither driver hit. However, the line was too short and meant the racing line merged immediately with the joker lap exit. After this race the line was extended further reducing the risk of a crash.
Vitols’ car was able to move to the grid for Q2 but immediately pulled off. By Q3 it was all working well again and he went fastest of anyone to leap up to 4th place in qualifying.
Sandwiched between the 2 was Julian Godfrey. The engine builder suffered engine failure in his Ford Fiesta the day before and was set to sit out of the day’s running. However, Donnelly withdrew from the event leaving Godfrey to take the seat of the reigning champion. He was second each heat 1 and 2 but the car set alight at the end of the race for the second day in a row. The fire was quickly put out and the car was on the grid for the final qualifier. However, he retired with a broken oil line.
Steve Hill dropped down to 5th after Vitols’ performance in Q3 only ahead of Ovenden and Sellar. Ovenden suffered a broken turbo in Q1 which was repaired. Meanwhile Sellar had a slipping clutch that affected him while at high speed, something common at the Knockhill circuit which is the fastest on the calendar. He skipped Q3 to save the car for the final.
Despite semi-finals not being run points were still given out as if they had, based on qualifying position. It gave both O’Donovan and Tohill a further 6 points in there bid for the championship.
Ollie O’Donovan’s penalty in the final drops him onto level points with Vitols. They both sit on 124 points just 10 ahead of Tohill. Godfrey sits on 111 and Ovenden remains the only other driver with a chance at the title on 102. The penultimate round of the championship takes place at Lydden Hill in November. It will be run under floodlights on the Saturday of the event. It is likely that Q1 or Q2 will be run under the lights.
Feature Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport