BTCC // SNETTERTON on Flickr.
Time for the drifters, it was a action packed day for them really. Lots of high speed runs and some nearly nasty accidents, which typically meant I was facing the wrong way. As mentioned in the previous post I arrived at the track about 2 hours later than I originally intended so I missed the Warm Up session. However, I do know from…er…knowledge that Declan Hicks and his Toyota Cresta were a early casualty to the days event. He managed to blow his spark plugs before he even got to the event, so it wasn’t looking to be a great weekend from him. During the practise runs the car…died. So Declan was out.
Due to Declan’s misfortune it meant there was a uneven number of competitors this allowed Paul Conlan and his mad pink Nissan Silvia S15 to get a free ticket into the next round. This meant there would only be 2 battles to decide who would make it into the Semi-Finals. The first battle was Mark Luney in the SVA Imports 350Z against the young Brett Castle in his BC Racing Nissan Skyline. These guys ended up running 4 runs in total due to the first 2 runs being too close to call from the EDC judges. So they ran again, this time Brett looked to take the win but a heavy right foot caused a spin on the final run. As per usual, I missed it.
The next round saw Pete Barber in the RX7 go against Kieran Cameron in his borrowed Nissan S13. As you can imagine Kieran was thrown in the deep end with a completely unfamiliar car, due to his own car being broken. Still. Cameron realised very early on during the first run against Peter that his car really couldn’t keep up with the pace of the rotary powered RX7 and therefore let Pete slide through into the semi-finals.
Due to the lack of competitors this means we move onto the semi-final heats. First up was Mark Luney against Paul Conlan in the pink Silvia. Both drivers put down a impressive run, very sideways, very smoke-y and both at pretty much full throttle. The judges couldn’t split them apart as they both mirrored each other perfectly, so it was down to the second run. Again they both came round the corner on maximum attack, until Luney put down perhaps a tad too much throttle and ended up in the green fields surrounding the Russell’s Chicane. That meant Paul went on through to the final round.
In the other semi-final Pete Barber went up against the Really Mean Sounds Nissan 200SX driven by Andy Cooper. The only thing which really separated these guys was that Pete had slightly better car control through the whole course. Therefore Pete secured another win and was through into the finals to face up against Paul Conlan in the battle for 1st place.
Before the battle for 1st was unleashed on the crowds at Snetterton there was still the issue of the battles for 3rd and 4th, as well as 5th and 6th. Battling for 5th was Brett Castle in the chrome Skyline V8 and Cameron in his borrowed Nissan. Then battling for 3rd was Mark Luney and Andy Cooper of the RMS Nissan. First up were Brett and Cameron.
From the start of the 5th place battle is plain to see that Brett had the advantage, not only was he putting in a magnificent job but also Cameron still seemed to be unfamiliar with his car. Despite being unfamiliar he still did a very good job and I’m sure he would have put any ‘normal’ driver to shame. In the end Brett took the win and was given 5th place.
Next up was the battle for 3rd, if Luney won it would mean he would have had a podium at each event of the European Drifting Championship this year. If Andy Cooper won then it would signify the beginning of things for him, Andy has yet to have taken a podium in the EDC since he began competing. Throughout the first run through Andy and Mark were pretty much inseparable, so it was down to the final run through. However, Cooper failed to start a drift whilst Luney came round sliding at maximum attack. A costly mistake from Cooper meant that Luney took 3rd place.
Finally, the ultimate battle was set to take place. Conlan vs. Barber, Pink vs. White, Nissan vs. Mazda, the fight was on. Conlan led the first pass through the small section at Snetterton. It was easy to see both drivers were pushing their cars to the absolute max. It looked to be a repeat of the awesome run that Paul and Mark ran earlier on, alas it was not. Barber applied too much right foot and ended up spinning to the right narrowly avoiding the temporary barrier placed at the chicane. Of course it meant Conlan was up a point as he finished the course perfectly. On the second run Pete lead and he put in a astonishing run to try and claw back that advantage that Paul had gained in the previous run. Unluckily for Pete, Conlan was also on a stunning run and matched Pete’s every move. Therefore Pete clinched the win! A well deserved one at that too for the almighty pink drifter.
So the final results looked like this; 1st place belonged to Paul Conlan in the S15, 2nd Pete Barber, 3rd Mark Luney, 4th Andy Cooper, 5th Brett Castle and 6th Kieran Cameron with 7th place belonging to Declan Hicks. In the championship itself the win for Paul meant he got 3rd place in the championship, 2nd belonged to Pete Barber and taking the title was Mark Luney for the second year running.
All the drifters put on a stunning performance at Snetterton and it was a pleasure watching them. At the end of the official championship contended battles they let loose on the track burning any excess of Pirelli they had left on their wheels. They burst round the first corner of Snetterton in full train style, tandem drifting really showing off to the Modified Live audience what they could do when they weren’t under the pressure of the precious championship points. After the madness of the tandems they finally let loose with some almighty burnouts, just too doubly make sure no rubber was left.
Superb stuff. Congratulations to both Paul for his win at Snetterton and Mark for the championship win.