ROUND 7: FEATURE RACE
Expensive day out as Armco barriers take the strain
Rapp was an elated winner of the feature race on Sunday when he fended off the challenge of Slater and Chambers to score his first win in the championship.
"It’s been a long time coming. I’m absolutely delighted," said an elated Rapp after a race shortened due to an accident that befell Ian Croft. With Croft’s 968CS parked upside down at Dingle Dell after hefty contact with the tyre wall, the race was halted after a couple of laps behind the safety car. Fortunately, Croft was unscathed. In class two, Kevin Harrison battled ahead of Chris Heeley to take a hard-earned victory as Robert Babikan clinched third.
With rain threatening, Slater led from the rolling start to head the pack into Paddock Hill Bend as a fast-starting Rapp fired into second at the expense of Chambers. On the run out of Druids, the cars of Tim Bartlett and Richard Burnett crashed out and forced the safety car to be used for the first time.
After three caution laps, Slater headed the field away at the green flag, but Rapp was soon looking to make a move. His chance came after he bravely went for the outside at Clearways. The cars ran side-by-side over the line and Rapp stayed on the outside as they braked for Paddock. Still he held on and was able to grab the lead as they plunged down through Paddock.
Chambers tried to follow through and made contact with the rear of Slater’s car at Druids. Further round the Grand Prix loop, Chambers worked ahead to take second, but this was a win that Rapp was not about to let slip away. With Chambers filling his mirrors, Rapp stood his ground and was ahead when the race was halted.
"Eventually," he shouted as he climbed out of the car in victory lane, to the cheers of his team. "I managed to keep it together! I’ve got a lot of guests here today," added a jubilant Rapp. Chambers and Slater took the other leading positions, while Armstrong took fourth from the battling duo of Bernberg and Demeroutis. Having started at the back of the grid, Rice forged through to seventh in the limited racing laps that ran between the safety car periods. However, there was disaster for Mike Salmon who ended his drive from the back of the car with a heavily damaged front to his car after an accident.
GT3 Coming Through...
Class two also produced some great racing as Heeley shot straight into the lead from Harrison, Babikan and a fast-starting Graham Hellier. Heeley looked to have made the break, but once again the GT3 cars coming through the field changed the complexion of the class two race and Harrison was able to close back in again.
On lap seven, Heeley ran marginally wide at Graham Hill Bend and Harrison seized his chance to charge ahead on the run to Surtees. Heeley tried to follow suit and a moment on the Grand Prix loop delayed Hellier, Heeley and Wiley. All of that left Harrison with a clear lead that he retained until the race was halted.
"Chris made a mistake and I got him. I’m very, very pleased," said Harrison after the race. Heeley recovered to take second from Babikan and Andrew Shelley, who had battled up well after starting at the back of the grid. With the spectacular demise of Croft, Ellis clinched class three after chasing Croft hard through the early laps.