2013 SEASON REVIEW: ARROWPAK EURO SALOON & SPORTS CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
Paul Rose quickly established his title credentials in his Saker. Photo: www.ajbphotographic.co.uk
Fifty-two drivers raced at least once during 2013 in 18 different marques spread across five classes. The championship visited eight circuits around the country with a double-header record held at each one. There were five different outright race winners, each of whom won at least two races, and 15 drivers took at least one class win during the season. Factor in three sub-championships (for saloon cars, sports cars and a marque championship) within the main framework and there was always something to race for!
2013 saw the Sakers join as official competitors rather than running in the Invitation class as before. The first round at Rockingham in April saw Saker driver Paul Rose set his marker for the season with a pair of race wins, and by playing his joker for double points in the first race, was already clear at the front of the championship. Rose would win three more races along with seven second places on his way to the championship win. His main challenger Steve Harris, also in a Saker, won two races with five second places and four third places finished both second in Class A and in the championship. Harris narrowly beat Chris Whiteley, the Class C champion in his Seat Leon, who scored seven class wins and four second places leaving Whiteley just six points adrift of Harris.
This season saw a heavy shift towards Class A, the fastest cars in the series. 28 drivers raced within the class over the space of the season, and all outright race wins fell to Class A drivers. Five for Rose, four for Danny Winstanley’s TVR (double wins at Oulton Park and Anglesey), three for fastest saloon car driver Gary Prebble (Mitsubishi Evo) with wins at Snetterton and a double at Donington Park, and two wins each for Harris (Cadwell Park) and Mike Saunders (TVR) at Silverstone. Prebble’s three wins along with four third places were enough to take third in Class A and fifth overall.
Ilsa Cox only started 11 of the races in her Class B Seat Leon Cupra, and recorded eight wins on her way to her second consecutive class title and sixth overall. Pete Challis (Nissan Primera) started the season with three wins in the first four races before selling the Primera Supertourer, and returning late in the season as a Porsche driver in the Invitation class. Also scoring class wins in Class B were Kevin Wendt (BMW M3) at Silverstone and Cadwell Park and Simon Blanckley with a double win at Anglesey in his Seat Leon Cupra.
A season long battle between 2010 champion Nick Hayes (Seat Leon) and Chris Whiteley (Seat Leon) ran to the final round where Whiteley triumphed by just four points. Whiteley took seven class wins to Hayes’ five, but if Hayes had not missed the first round at Rockingham, maybe their positions would have been different? Ian Craig only contested three rounds, a DNF at Snetterton was followed by a double race win at Oulton Park, the final class win for the season falling to Adam Prebble (Rover Tomcat) at Silverstone.
Class D, normally the preserve of the Renault Clio drivers, provided just six entrants this season, Andy Jordan (Clio) taking two class wins, as did Martyn Scott (BMW M3). Alistair Stenhouse (BMW) also took a Class D win.
It is expected that Class A will split into separate Sports and Saloon classes for 2014, so keep an eye on www.eurosaloons.co.uk for updates on this and any other changes to the class structure.