Craven quick off the mark to continue championship challenge
There was no doubting what the talking point was of the second race of the Brands Hatch Grand Prix round.
There was no doubting what the talking point was of the second race of the Brands Hatch Grand Prix round. Championship hopeful Alex Craven lined up in seventh place on the grid after an unusually quiet race one, but got the best start of the season to be in third at turn one.
The start was so good a jump start was called, bringing with it a 10 second penalty to be added to his race time. That dropped the Lanan Racing driver back to fifth on the timesheet, behind Alice Powell and Henry Chart. A series of quick laps moved him back ahead of Chart and as the race went on, he had Hamilton-Smith in crosshairs.
"It was a perfect start." He said after the race. "If there was probably another lap or a few more corners I would have probably had second. We caught Hamilton-Smith pretty quickly near the end but Tristan was a long way in front and didn't have much chance of catching him."
The decision was overturned following an appeal and it was the perfect tonic after a fourth place in race one that was effectively handed to him when Robbie Watts and Henry Chart spun at Graham Hill Bend.
"Yesterday was obviously very, very steady. I didn't want to throw away the points by running off the track. I had a bit of a moment on lap two with Robbie Watts and went over the grass. I thought then I'd back off, take it slowly and took one place behind Alice. That meant I'd concede two points and just try to make them up in race two.
"It was a difficult weekend. Yesterday in qualifying was the first time I had driven a race car on this track so it was damage limitation this weekend."
The fourth and third place finishes mirrored the results of current championship leader Alice Powell. Tristan Cliffe's three wins in four races has brought him well and truly into contention but Craven is keeping his eyes looking ahead and only focusing on Powell.
"I'm not really thinking about Tristan." Craven said. "There are eight points between me and Alice I think, the same as it was coming into this weekend. She's the only person I'm focused on at the minute."
There are still four more rounds and eight race wins to fight for starting at Silverstone on 17-18 August. The championship battle looks like it could well go down to the wire once again and a fascinating second half to the season is in store.
Photo credit Jonathan Hatfield