A bumper day culminating in two hours of Radical Challenge racing at Oulton Park produced three different winners in three races as the series hits the halfway mark this weekend. 360 Racing’s Jérôme de Sadeleer returned to his winning ways in the first endurance race, reigning champion Dominik Jackson took the race two spoils, while Hart GT’s Jac Constable took his maiden series win in the final 50-minute outing.
Heading into the fourth round battles, de Sadeleer was intent on making up for a disappointing last round at Spa which left him trailing Jackson by 97 points heading to the Cheshire track. With the title protagonists taking a win apiece in the fourth round battles, de Sadeleer walks away having successfully slashed the deficit in half ahead of the summer break.
De Sadeleer returned to the top of the Radical Challenge podium in a thrilling first 50-minute endurance race in changeable conditions on Saturday morning. Starting off in heavy rain, he seized the lead when pole-sitter Jackson slid wide heading into Lodge for the first time.
Whilst de Sadeleer set about pulling out a comfortable lead, Jackson was on a recovery charge. Back up to third, taking Jason Rishover and Constable the following tour, the reigning champ took two seconds out of Mark Richards before a slick move on the brakes into Old Hall secured second on lap four.
The leading duo traded fastest laps as the gap reduced from 4.4 to 3.8 seconds before a safety car, required to recover John Caudwell’s car from Druids, closed up the field. Still under yellow as the pit window opened, the field piled into pit lane en masse. With a full success penalty to serve from Spa, Jackson’s stop was further hampered as he had to wait for a train of cars to file past before rejoining in 12th.
Back to green with 20 minutes remaining, de Sadeleer was still out front but with a new contender on his rear wing. Thanks to a scything drive from 11th on the grid and lightening pit stop, series returnee Joe Stables got the better of Richards at the restart to run second.
Jackson, meanwhile, was storming back through the pack to move up seven spots in three laps to lie fifth approaching the final ten minutes. His charge, however, was called short when he slowed and retired at Lodge corner three laps from the end.
By then de Sadeleer had the measure of Stables, who fell back into the clutches of Richards and was demoted to third as he struggled on a drying track. From there the order remained unchanged down to Constable in fourth, as fifth and sixth-placed Brian Caudwell and Rishover touched and Caudwell’s stranded car resulted in a red flag with four minutes remaining.
Jackson bounced back from his forced race one DNF disappointment with a pole-to-flag victory in the 20-minute sprint race, after holding off race long pressure from Constable and de Sadeleer.
It was a three-wide fight off the line under clearer skies for race two, de Sadeleer once again nailing his start to run side-by-side with Richards and pole-man Jackson before the latter seized the lead on the exit to Old Hall.
With the order Jackson from Constable, Richards and de Sadeleer heading into lap two, the top four made to breakaway before a lap three safety car spoiled their momentum. Back to green with nine minutes remaining, Jackson nailed the restart but a run wide from Richards at Old Hall allowed de Sadeleer to close and then take third on lap six.
Leaving Richards in his wake, de Sadeleer charged to catch the leading duo and, with five minutes to go, just 1.3 seconds covered the trio. But there was nothing to choose between them and they took the chequered flag line astern.
Richards finished fourth with Challenge returnee Stables hot on his heels in fifth and Jon MacRae sixth. Nick Hull took his maiden Team class win amidst a great battle with Guillaume Gruchet and Oli Marateotto for 13th overall.
Series newcomer this season, Constable seized his maiden Radical Challenge win in the third and final battle of the day. He dedicated the emotional win to local racing driver and close friend, Zach Anderton, who passed away earlier this year. Despite not crossing the line first on the road, Constable delivered a faultless drive whilst fellow competitors picked up a plethora of track limit and pit stop infringement penalties.
Once again, Jackson came out on top of the jostle into Old Hall, this time with Constable and de Sadeleer in his wake, giving him little breathing space in the opening stint. Richards was once again at the sharp end, lying fourth and holding off the hard-charging Stables. Rishover sat sixth, keeping Elliot Goodman and Jon MacRae in check behind.
That order remained unchanged on the track, but as the pit window approached several drivers had fallen foul of track limits and started collecting penalties which would change the results at the flag. The mandatory stops then produced another raft of infringements.
Although Jackson stretched a comfortable lead, it wasn’t enough to negate the 15 second penalty applied for track limits, which demoted him to second.
MacRae earned his second podium finish of his rookie season after holding off a four-strong attack on the final podium spot. De Sadeleer came through to classify fourth despite a stop-go penalty for a pit stop infringement, while Elliot Goodman steered clear with another consistent performance for fifth. Stables completed the top six after a 15 second track limits penalty, despite passing de Sadeleer on-track on the final lap.
Amir Feyzullin and Anton Zakharov took a second Team class victory of the day to cement their top spot in the category.
Jérôme de Sadeleer (Winner race one): “I didn't have a great qualifying, but I had the success seconds to my advantage. It was a tricky race, there as a dry line appearing on the last lap. There were a lot of things to manage, but the team gave me good information over the radio and we had a great race.”
Dominik Jackson (Winner race two): “It wasn't easy, I had Jac behind me the whole time, keeping me honest. It's good to be back up here after the disappointment of race one.”
Jac Constable (Winner race three): “It's pretty special, I wanted to win today. I lost my friend, local racing driver Zach Anderton, earlier this year and this win is dedicated to him. We've tried to keep our nose clean and come away in the points and so far it's worked out well. The Hart GT team have put out an amazing car all weekend."
Full results can be downloaded at www.tsl-timing.com