Wiltshire Wins in Kent
CF Racing's Stuart Wiltshire scored a commanding victory in race one at Brands Hatch
As the sun continued to shine in Kent today (19 May), the grid lined up just after lunchtime for the first race of the weekend. When the lights changed, pole sitter Jacopo Sebastiani struggled to hook the car up and the rest of the field wasted no time taking advantage. Cian Carey led from second on the grid but left enough of a gap for Stuart Wiltshire to squeeze through to take control of the race. Sebastiani recovered sufficiently to then take second from the Irishman at Surtees. Shane Kelly also joined the pair, which allowed Wiltshire to build a gap of more than two seconds in the first lap.
Kelly would continue to pressure Carey for the duration of the race, but the Chris Dittmann Racing driver held his nerve. Ahead, Sebastiani set about trying to catch his team mate, setting the fastest lap in the process. Further back, another pair locked in battle were George Line and Tony Bishop, though Bishop would come unstuck in the final lap allowing Tristan Charpentier to move up to sixth.
Backmarkers would play a key role in the later stages of the race, as the leaders caught and tried to pass them cleanly. The traffic allowed Sebastiani to close on Wiltshire, though not enough to pass. Likewise, Kelly closed on Carey again, posting a new fastest lap in the chase, but Carey responded and was lapping faster than the two cars ahead of him in the final laps.
As the flag fell, Wiltshire celebrated a well earned victory, sharing the podium with team mate Sebastiani and Carey. Kelly claimed the fastest lap point.
On the podium, Wiltshire enthused, “Cian left half a door open and I thought, "If I don’t take it now, then I won’t get it" and then I put in a few good laps. I perhaps took a bit out of my tyres, and then I watched Jaco [Sebastiani] slowly but surely creep up and I thought at some point he was going to have a go. He did, and I was able to fend it off. Backmarkers played a massive part in that but I’m really pleased to take the victory!”
Sebastiani said, “It all went wrong at the start. It’s quite difficult here because it’s an uphill start, and I’ve never started on pole here. I just couldn’t get the car off the line quick enough and I saw two of them storm past me. I got behind Cian and managed to pass him on to the back straight but by that time this man [Wiltshire] was already far ahead! I tried to pass him on the outside of Hawthorn’s, which is what I did last year, but this time it didn’t work!”
Carey commented, “I thought I had the job done there coming into Paddock Hill, but I gave Stuart [Wiltshire] a little bit too much room and then Jaco got the tow down the back straight. Towards the end Shane started putting me under a bit of pressure but I knew if I just stayed calm he wasn’t going to get me anywhere. There was one point where I thought I was going to lose the podium because of backmarkers but thankfully it paid off.”