FIESTA CHAMPIONSHIP EMBARKS ON EASTER WEEKEND AT PEMBREY
Much was anticipated at the opening rounds of the 2019 BRSCC Fiesta Championship racing with MRF Tyres at Silverstone just two weeks ago, as it was the first event since the regulations had streamlined the class structure from four down to two. For the first time, both the “Class C” Fiesta ST150s and “Class D” Fiesta Zetec S models ran together in the same class with the newer Zetec S cars brought up to speed thanks to a couple of engine modifications. What followed was two thrilling races to kick off the year, and this weekend at Pembrey the story continues with plenty of drivers lining up to pick up where they left off.
In terms of race winners, Silverstone produced two new names at the top of the podium as last year’s Class D vice champion Zachary Lucas christened his first Fiesta outing in an ST150 with a win in Race 1, followed by Fiesta Junior graduate Isaac Smith finally collecting a victory that had eluded him in the junior ranks last year, as he picked up 1st place in Race 2 on his senior debut. Both look as though they will be in contention for the title all season long and the battle between the pair of them will certainly be fascinating to watch.
Ryan Faulconbridge was the nearly man on both occasions a couple of weeks ago as despite starting on the front row for both races, he couldn’t better 2nd place in each even though he’d led at some stage each time. With renewed vigour after his taste of victory last season, Faulconbridge will know that Pembrey is another prime opportunity for him take home at least one more winner’s trophy, but given the amount of competition he’s already faced it won’t be an easy task. That said, he’ll certainly have plenty of support from his JamSport Racing teammates.
James Waite, another Fiesta Junior graduate and last year’s FJC vice champion, will certainly be one of them as he, like Smith, showed everyone exactly how quick he was on slicks by collecting 3rd place in Race 2 at Silverstone. Having won several times in the junior ranks over the past couple of years, winning isn’t something James is estranged to but even so he still knows that getting one over his senior rivals doesn’t come easy. Pembrey could be a great opportunity for him to stake his claim as a fellow title contender, should the pace from Silverstone carry over and luck be on his side. Also set to be in the mix will be his team boss Jamie Going, a veteran of the Fiesta Championship and another driver capable of winning races. He came away with 5th and 7th for his efforts, however he would dearly love to leave Wales with a podium and some silverware for his troubles at least.
One driver who only got to show his true pace briefly at Silverstone was Samuel Watkins, as pole position for Race 1 quickly turned into a lead that he would have to defend in the opening laps. Unfortu
Unfortunately, his weekend was cut short after a three abreast moment exiting Copse Corner didn’t work out in his favour. The subsequent impact into the wall left his car out of action for the remainder of the meeting, leaving him with a race against time to get prepared for Pembrey. Thankfully, he is set to line up on the grid this weekend, although whether it’ll be in his regular yellow Fiesta or possibly even his brother Joshua’s red machine remains to be seen.
Former champion Alastair Kellett certainly did appear to enjoy being part of a fantastic 8-car scrap for the lead in Race 2 at Silverstone, as he was able to show some of the true potential and pace the upgraded Fiesta Zetec S really had. An 8th place in Race 1 was followed by 4th in Race 2, and with Pembrey’s layout featuring one or two technical sections this may play into Alastair’s hands. It may also favour long standing championship competitor and fellow Zetec S driver Jon Cooper, who will be hoping to bounce back after electrical problems plagued him in the opening weekend. If he’s been able to solve them for this weekend, he should certainly be aiming to keep pace with Kellett in an attempt to be the best of the newly upgraded cars.
Plenty of other contenders will also be on the grid once again including Tom Hutchins and Jake Dawson, two drivers that didn’t perform as well as they feel they could have done by their standards. Both have shown flashes of pace in previous races, so they will head to South Wales hoping for a return to that vein of form. Former BTCC ace and Class C champ David Nye also had an unusually subdued opening weekend and hope that whatever troubled him at Silverstone has been cured and will see him back on the pace in a bid to catch up. Fiesta debutants Joel Ryton and Sam Walton are back once again to try their hand at improving their results from Silverstone, while the remainder of the grid is made up by two familiar names making their first appearances of 2019 respectively.
Simon Horrobin, team boss of Specialized Motorsport and a regular Fiesta race winner, is set to be on the grid for the rest of the season starting here and in the few races he contested towards the tail end of 2018, he proved he’d lost none of his touch. A race win at Thruxton showed that he was able to adapt to the new MRF tyres quickly, so expect him to waste no time in chasing down the front runners in his bid to steal a win. Also reappearing is another stalwart of the championship, as Daniels Motorsport regular Tim Bennett is back on the grid albeit this time in a Fiesta ST150 for the first time having previous raced a Zetec S and beforethat a Fiesta Si in what was formerly known as Class A.
It should be an exciting weekend in prospect for the Fiesta Championship racing with MRF Tyres, especially as for all drivers involved this is most likely the first time they’ve ever driven or raced here. The tight opening corner of Hatchetts Hairpin will certainly be nail-
biting on the opening lap of both encounters, but the fast sweeping corners coupled with the Clubmans layout’s new tight and twisting S-bend complex certainly create a recipe for some great racing across the meeting. Onwards to Wales!