Donington Park GP Circuit, as a support race to the European Le Mans Series, set the scene for the 2012 Caterham Octane Academy debut race last weeked, with # 46 proving to be the winning number.

Academy Group1
The Hertford based Consultant, Alex Gurr clinched pole position in the damp difficult conditions and then went on the win the race beating Matthew Lawrence by only a couple tenths of a second.

Twenty five novice drivers lined up on the grid for their first ever race start, Alex Gurr made a quick exit off the start line and led into the first corner closely followed by Mathew Lawrence and Matt Dyer who approached Redgate side by side and continued through the corner in unison. Heading up Schwantz Curve Lawrence made a stab for the lead but was unsuccessful with Hertford based Gurr keen to hold on. With only half a lap completed the safety car was released as Andres Sinclair was stranded in the gravel on the Craner Curves. Commotion shortly flowed with some cars slowing more than others after seeing the yellow flags. A few cars went off at Fogarty Esses. The pendulum effect came into fruition when the first driver span the others followed in synchronisation. Brian Caudwell and Nigel Board were inches apart when Caudwell got slightly out off shape, Board managed to avoid him but ended up in the gravel trap, behind them Tristan Judge spun, part avoidance part inexperience leaving him facing the opposite direction and facing the oncoming pack. Ian Sparshott appeared to notice the waved yellows a fraction later than Michael Downing who had already slowed right down, Sparshott brushed into the side of Downing pushing him head first into Judge. Downing and Judge’s cars kissed with Sparshott the matchmaker. It was Gurr who made the jump when the safety car returned to the pits, Lawrence had to defend from Dyer while keeping his foot in. He managed to close up on Gurr briefly taking the lead on the last lap but Gurr was able to regain the lead when it counted and crossed the line in front to take his first racing victory, continuing his winning streak from the sprints. Matthew Lawrence settled for second and the fastest lap 1:56.169 with Matt Dyer a strong third. Jason Gale held onto the top three to finish forth with Tor McIlroy a lonely fifth and Zoli Csabai rounding up the top six.
Group 1
1st Alex Gurr, 2nd Matthew Lawrence, 3rd Matt Dyer

Academy Group 2
A day to remember for Stephen Nuttall who grabbed Pole position and a clear six second victory at Donington Park.

Nuttall leapt off the line instantly finding clear air from the chasing pack, Pete Fortune got away well from second place while Michael Gazda bogged down initially although he managed to hold onto third place as they navigated around Redgate for the first time. Gazda made the overtake for second place stick as the pair careered through the Craner Curves although it wasn’t long before Fortune was able to close up under breaking and pass Gazda into the last corner and down Wheatcroft Straight. The pair remained on each others tail while Nuttall gradually pulled away up front focussing on smooth lines and making no mistakes. The Mid-field spread out over the two and half mile circuit while the battle for twentieth place was as fiercely fought as the battle for second. Mike Evans, James Finch, Michael Sauer, Jurgen Rigterink and David Lillywhite (Academy’s Octane journalist), Simon Tilling and David Stephens were glued together. Tilling chanced an overtake up the inside of Evans at the Melbourne Loop which didn’t pay off as Stephens locked up and ran into the side of him pushing him into Evans. Meanwhile up at the sharp end Nuttall took the flag and honours while Fortune glided home second with Gazda just behind in third. Nick Portlock kept his nose clean in a lonely fourth place with Oliver Andrew and Max Robinson completing the top six
Group 2
1st Stephen Nuttall, 2nd Peter Fortune, 3rd Michael Gazda

The next round is at Brands Hatch on Saturday 4th August.

Jennifer Grace – Championship Co-ordinator


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