NEWS RELEASE 11 JULY 2015
Although Michael Epps repeated his strong Friday Spa form to cross the line first, fighting through from sixth on the grid to take the lead of an exciting race with three laps in hand, he was later excluded from the results for a technical infringement. The sister Team HARD Golf of Howard Fuller this inherited the victory, ahead of Lucas Orrock for KPM and Jack Walker-Tully.
As yesterday it was championship leader David Sutton who made the early running in his SlideSports Scirocco. He made a rocketship getaway from third on the grid to force his way between front-row men Orrock and Walker-Tully (Cooke & Mason Scirocco) and take the lead into La Source hairpin. Sutton dealt a glancing blow to Walker-Tully’s car as he charged past but neither machine was damaged.
Orrock seized second from Walker-Tully on the second tour and soon narrowed Sutton’s advantage. Lucas bided his time and, as they rounded the Bus Stop on the fifth lap, he stole in front. Sutton, his tyres’ effectiveness again blunted by the extra ballast on board his Scirocco, dropped back to sixth thereafter.
Meanwhile, the Team HARD boys were massing to attack. Fuller made it past Walker-Tully for third on lap three and Epps was on his tail in fourth by the next lap. As Sutton slipped down the order, so Epps managed to get an advantage on his team-mate and by the end of the sixth lap (of nine) the order was Orrock, Epps, Fuller with barely a cigarette paper’s width between them.
Orrock defended his lead manfully but had to give best to Epps at La Source on the seventh lap, Michael pulling clear to cross the line in front of his team-mate Fuller. Epps’s exclusion from the results for engine irregularities was confirmed in early October.
Michael Epps: “I thought I would try some old karting techniques around the outside at La Source and it worked out all right on the first lap and I gained a place. After that it was like Team HARD versus the next three and we had to pick them off one by one. It was fairly simple after I figured out where they were weak. Out of Sutton, Fuller and Orrock it was Lucas that was the hardest to pass; I got up alongside him on the straight and he held his line so well, so we went side by side into Les Combes, which was interesting…Then I managed to make a really good move at La Source and that is what made the race. After that I was flat out; I had Fuller right behind me and I reckon one more lap and it could have got messy.”
Howard Fuller: “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time the whole race, always having to defend… I am a bit gutted because Michael was in the perfect spot to take advantage and I wasn’t.”
Lucas Orrock: “I had to make the move on Sutton when I did because I was getting pressure from behind from Howard. I was really late on the brakes through the Bus Stop and just hung on to it and David gave me space; there was a tiny touch but we both made it through. Once I was in the lead I tried to push but eventually the Team HARD guys came up on me. I put up a good fight but they had a better package this weekend. I’m very happy with third, it was about the best I could have done today.”
Bobby Thompson, who slipped to sixth behind Epps on the opening lap, fought through to fourth place at the line but was unable to pass Orrock despite his best last-lap efforts. Alas for Bobby, his Team HARD Golf was found to be underweight in post-race scrutineering and he was excluded from the results. Walker-Tully thus inherited what became third place to bolster his newly gained third place in the championship, with Sutton’s grip-less Scirocco coming home fourth. Sutton maintains his overall championship lead, which now stands at 42 points.
Reigning champion Joe Fulbrook was a philosophical fifth. “I was pushing really hard with zero ballast and the car was really good but I didn’t really get anywhere. I enjoyed the challenge, but it is what it is…”
Simon Rudd (Team HARD) and Aaron Mason (AWM) completed the top seven, with Mason rueing his decision to dramatically soften his suspension settings pre-race. Andy Wilmot claimed another good result for the new Team HARD Passat with eighth, ahead of Pete Littler (JWB) and Sportsman’s Trophy winner Simon Tomlinson (AWM). Said Simon: “It was a good race until I lost my clutch about three laps from the end; it was a bit scary after that.”
Simon Andrews (Safe & Sound Golf) claimed two places on the final lap to take 11th, ahead of Graham Ewing (SlideSports) and Matthew Wilson (KPM). Tim Snaylam recovered from an early clash with Ewing’s car, and a subsequent time-consuming stall, to take 14th ahead of the final finisher, Philip Morris, whose KPM Golf was down on power once again. Laura Tillett’s miserable Spa weekend continued with further mechanical woes taking her out of the running.
Amended results Round 10 Spa-Francorchamps 11/7/15
9 laps / 39.17 miles
1 Howard FULLER / Team HARD Golf GTI 25m 09.400s / 87.21mph
2 Lucas ORROCK / KPM Scirocco R +1.921s
3 Jack WALKER-TULLY / Cooke & Mason Scirocco R +4.070s
4 David SUTTON / SlideSports Scirocco R +7.538s
5 Joe FULBROOK / Safe & Sound Golf GTI +8.668s
6 Simon RUDD / Team HARD Golf GTI +14.253s
7 Aaron MASON / AWM Scirocco R +14.909s
8 Andy WILMOT / Team HARD Passat +33.563s
9 Peter LITTLER / JWB Scirocco +48.006s
10 Simon TOMLINSON / AWM Golf GTI +48.947s etc
Fastest lap Fuller 2m 45.358s / 94.75mph Rec
Sportsman’s Trophy Simon TOMLINSON / Golf GTI
Provisional championship standings
1 Sutton 398 points; 2 Mason 356; 3 Walker-Tully 352; 4 Fulbrook 344; 5 Orrock 342; 6 Fuller 286; 7 Phil House 244; 8 Epps 242; 9 Joe McMillan 236; 10 Bobby Thompson 194 etc