Sunoco GRAND-AM 200 Challenge round up

06/04/2011 - It’s all change in the Sunoco GRAND-AM 200 Challenge this week as Aaron Steele has a series of unfortunate events.

06/04/2011 - It's all change in the Sunoco GRAND-AM 200 Challenge this week as Aaron Steele has a series of unfortunate events.

This weekend saw the MSV F3 race at Donington. Aaron Steele who had been leading the Challenge after a fantastic point scoring weekend at Snetterton (winning both races and setting 2 x pole position and 2 x fastest lap) unfortunately had to retire from both races despite qualifying in pole for both.

Steele was fastest throughout the qualifying session and set an excellent time of 1:03.80 to achieve pole position in race one. However after completing thirteen laps Steele pulled off the circuit at Redgate, in his Renault Sodemo powered Dallara F302, due to a battery problem.  Newcomer to the F3 cup, Louis Hamilton-Smith, was chasing Steele down hard in qualifying and as the session progressed seconds were tumbling off Hamilton-Smith's lap times. On his thirteenth lap Hamilton-Smith set a time of 1:04.56, which resulted in him achieving the second fastest lap, behind Steele, and a place on the front row.

Race one saw pole sitter Aaron Steele stall on the grid after spinning on the warm up lap; which left the rest of the field wide open and allowed Hamilton-Smith the opportunity to capitalise on the opportunity. He then went on to finish the race 6.085 seconds in front of second placed Chris Needham and walk away with 120 points towards the Sunoco GRAND-AM Challenge for first place and fastest lap.  

Race two however saw Hamilton-Lewis bring his average point score down.  After a drying track and being out on slicks he battled his way through the field and on the last lap he briefly clinched second place before out breaking himself and running into the gravel.  This left Chris Needham to take first place and fastest lap equalling Hamilton-Smiths points from the first race towards the Challenge. Steele unfortunately suffered another problem with his car and retired from the race right at the start.  

With Aaron Steele out of both races this has changed the overall average point scores dramatically with Mark Cunningham from Britcar Production in first place and Adrian Churchill from the Dunlop Production Touring Cars in second. Steele is now in third place with fellow MSV F3 racer Chris Needham.

  The next race weekend for the Sunoco GRAND-AM 200 Challenge is the Britcar Production GTN at Rockingham and MINI Challenge and GT Cup at Silverstone 16th-17th of April.

Top 5 Standings:

Standings Driver Name Team Series Average Points
per round
1 Mark Cunningham SG Racing Britcar Production 100.00
2 Adrian Churchill Courtenay Sport PTC 90.00
3 Aaron Steele Grays Motorsport MSV F3 Cup 80.25
4 Chris Needham   MSV F3 Cup 80.25
5 Steve Guglielmi Guglielmi Motorsport Britcar Production 75.00