Qualifying saw Chris Hyman set the early pace, the track dry in the morning sunshine despite recent showers. Woodward quickly responded, before Zac Chapman set the first sub-2:20 lap of the session. As Q1 drew to a close, Manhal Allos rose to the top of the timesheets with a 2:19.222 lap. Q2 started with Ross Kaiser immediately on the pace, 2:18.581 the early pole time. Radical stalwart Stuart Moseley replied with a stunning 2:16.581, quick enough to hold the top spot until the end of the session, and pole for Race 2 tomorrow.
Racing commenced at 16:20; a frenetic first pass through La Source and Eau Rouge soon settling to a close battle between leader Allos and Woodward, fourth-tenths behind. However, Jeremy Ferguson’s off at Eau Rouge on lap 4 brought the safety car into play, the race becoming live again just as the pit window opened.
Most teams elected to pit immediately leading to an action-packed handover for many drivers in the busy pit lane. With a shorter driver performance penalty in the stops, Silverstone race-winner Greg Hart took the lead as the pit window closed, with single drivers Mike Cantillon and Jamie Constable also in the hunt, the three drivers split by 5.3 seconds.
The racing got ever-closer towards the end of the race, as Woodward’s co-driver Kaiser, and Hyman’s team-mate Alex Mortimer battled through the field. By lap 14, and with only eight minutes remaining, Kaiser was able to overhaul Hart at La Source for the lead, Mortimer doing the same on Cantillon and Constable one lap later. He wasn’t able to pass Hart though; in the end only 14 seconds splitting the podium.
In the Supersports Class for SR3s and SR5s, Radical Czech’s pairing of Josef Koller/Ondrej Navratil took the win, just pipping RAW Motorsport’s David Thorburn and Alex Kapadia, deputising for usual partner Rob Wheldon this weekend. Behind them, Silverstone class-winners Gary Kane and Nick Padmore; again, a tight finish with only six seconds behind the cars.
Race 2 takes place at 09:00 tomorrow morning; check back for more updates.