Three races into this year’s Radical Challenge championship and a thrilling title fight is already unfolding heading into the second round battles at Snetterton on 11-12 May, with no fewer than four prospects staking an early claim on the 2019 crown.
The championship’s revised new format, with two extended endurance races on top of a 20-minute sprint, has attracted a growing grid of returning champions and seasoned racers, plus new teams and drivers. The second round entry list also shows the global appeal of the SR3 RSX sports prototype, with drivers hailing from France, Germany, Iceland and Switzerland entering the UK’s fastest domestic single-make series at Snetterton.
Reigning champion Dominik Jackson got his title defence off to a flying start at Donington Park, winning both of the higher point-scoring 50-minute endurance races and adding a second place in the sprint. But the RAW Motorsport ace faced plenty of stiff opposition sharing the podium honours.
Former SR1 Cup Champion Jérôme de Sadeleer claimed the sprint race spoils amid a clean sweep of second and third place podiums to sit second to Jackson in the standings. His 360 Racing teammate Mark Richards showed race-winning potential and notched up a pair of third places, but missing Snetterton means he’ll be playing catch-up at Spa-Francorchamps next month.
Jackson may have predicted strong opposition from de Sadeleer and Richards, but a fresh rival emerged from the opening round battles. Hart GT’s Jac Constable impressed on his race debut and switch from the TOCA paddock. Bagging a pair of fourth places before earning his first series podium in race three, the newcomer lies third in the title fight.
“We had a pretty good first round at Donington Park with three solid results and we improved a lot over the weekend,” comments the 21 year-old Fix Auto UK-backed driver. “I wasn’t expecting to get a podium at the first round, but it’s a great thing to tick off early-on! We now know what we’ve got in the bag, and there’s more to come from me and the car, but we’ve already made good progress.
“Fighting for the title was a long-term rather than short-term goal, so it’s great to be up the front from the start. I like Snetterton and we had a good run there in the pre-season test. We know everything can change come the race weekend so we’ll take it as it comes, but I’ll be aiming for more podiums.”
Brian Murphy and his privateer Orwin Racing team are threatening for top-three status this term, having twice finished just outside a podium-paying result last month. Elliot Goodman, John MacLeod, Brian Caudwell, Spencer Bourne and Jason Rishover also established themselves within top six contention.
More new faces are welcomed to the Challenge fold for round two. Auõunn Guõmundsson, who comes to the series via Radical’s Icelandic dealer, will make his SR3 race debut with the Works team. A rapid and experienced track day driver, Auõunn is looking forward to racing on UK soil, and says: “Since I was 14 years old, I have always wanted to race on asphalt and there is no track in Iceland. I have owned a Radical SR3 for a number of years and done lots of track days, now I want to see how I do in competition.
“My first pre-season test at Snetterton went well and, with some good support from Radical, I was able to improve and do much better than I expected driving there for the first time. The car has excellent balance and is great value for money. My goal for Snetterton is to get some experience before we race at Spa-Francorchamps next month, and to enjoy it!”
Returning to racing for the first time in four years, Guillaume Gruchet will also make his Radical Challenge debut. The former Britcar and Porsche racer will contest select 2019 rounds with international race and championship-winning team, Newbridge Motorsport.
The Radical Challenge action starts at Snetterton with qualifying at 09.25 on Saturday 11 May, followed by a 50-minute endurance race at 12.35 and 20-minute sprint at 16:25. Live timing is available via www.tsl-timing.com. Race highlights will also be available from the Radical Sportscars Facebook page, and via the Radical TV YouTube channel.