Friday, 9 April 2010
2010 Trofeo Abarth 500 GB – Oulton Park
Easter weekend saw the Trofeo Abarth 500 GB spring into life at Oulton Park and the signs were very encouraging for the fledgling one make series with some great racing from not only drivers who have made their names in some of the UK’s top racing series’, but also from a new breed of stars, most notably Denmark’s Benny Simonsen, who was fantastic in his first ever outing in a car race. Race one pole sitter, 2008 Clio Cup champion Ben Winrow, didn’t come back over Hilltop on lap 1, which handed the lead to ex-BTCC race winner Gareth Howell, who pulled a decent lead from James Blyth and Charlie Butler-Henderson, the latter having taken over the car due to be driven by sister Vicky, of Fifth Gear fame, who was away on presenting duties. Simonsen had spun at Old Hall on lap one, and went about carving his way through the field with great effect as he eventually relieved Blyth of third place late on. CBH by that time had got up into second place which he held on to, despite a late charge from Simonsen, who recorded the fastest lap in the process. A great first day for the Trofeo, and also for Advent Racing, who ran four of the top five finishers.
With the grid for Race two determined by fastest lap classifications from the first race, Simonsen and Howell lined up on the front row, with Winrow right at the back, having not completed a lap in Race one. Howell took the lead at the first corner and pulled out a good gap to Simonsen in the early laps, before the flying Dane fought his way back and retook the lead at Lodge on lap 6. He managed to hold off Howell until he had a moment at Old Hall on lap 14, where he ran wide and ended up on two wheels, Bond style (watch it http://bit.ly/d3BFq3), allowing Howell to retake the place, the pair were followed home by Winrow, who had made a superb battling effort to get up to third.
The series organisers should be very pleased with the result of their efforts; in a time when one make racing is struggling to attract numbers (see last weekends Clio Cup), 14 entries at the first event, with more in the pipeline, has to be seen as a good result against such a tough economic backdrop. These boys, I feel, are here to stay. Howell will take a six point championship lead over Simonsen to Silverstone on the 17th-18th of April, where the Trofeo will be supporting the opening rounds of the FIA Formula 2 championship.
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More (very amateurish) photos on our Flickr page: ifitsgot4wheels