Last weekend the Fueltopia Barrel Sprint sparked the ignition of the British championship and boy did it go off with a bang.
An impressive field of new and returning racers made up the 24 car field, many had livery revisions and most had taken the down season to improve the cars set-ups and power to take on the Barrel Sprint. In a sport that has more links to Gymkhana and Autotest it’s amazing to see how far the sport has progressed as it enters its third season with many of the races being one on reaction time at the lights.
2013 Champion, Dmitrij Sribnyj, returned again in his AWD Subaru Impreza, straight from the word go, he used the Impreza to great effect laying down some dominating times and it wasn’t long till it looked like he’d be a front runner in the competition as he smashed an impressive 18 second run.
Not far behind was Richard Dalby-Smith in his 200SX S13 and almost fractions of a second couldn’t separate Tim Jackon, Lawrence ‘Lozzy’ Corteil and Luke Woodham.
The top 16 always throws up some interesting battles and none more than Jason Wong in his Mazda RX-7 against Dmitrij. After such a dominating qualifying session any lesser driver might have buckled under such pressure, but Jason threw in all and bet big taking the fight to the Champ. A slight loss of power on the third barrel by the Impreza was the fractional door opening that Jason needed to storm across the line, taking the win eliminating the largest threat of the day.
Lawrence ‘Lozzy’ Corteil also nearly took out another established driver, Monster Energy’s Luke Woodham, in a battle that saw nothing but 0.182 between them. It was on the exit of the third barrel that the Monster driver squeezed hard on the loud pedal to get the maximum push of 380hp to eek over the line in front of the small Suzuki Cappuccino.
Danny Cross also brought his A-game to round 1 as his successfully piloted his car through qualifying and the battles to take third on the Shining Monkey podium – a great boost from this driver who in 2013 was always so close but never quite made it through. It might be 2014 that see’s this guy challenging for the top level spaces.
Technical and precise, Richard Dalby-Smith took apart many in the battles like a surgeon. His closest battle was that against Driftworks driver, Chris Smith, with nothing but 0.162 separating them on the line. It wasn’t long till Richard earned his place in the final.
After the smoke had cleared, two drivers were left to battle for the number one place, Richard Dalby-Smith and Luke Woodham. Both had fended off some of the fiercest attacks that the Barrel Sprint had ever seen to earn their place, but only one could win and it was the precision of Richard Dalby-Smith that earned him the number one podium place of the day.