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Garofall, Bernans jump to head of Rolex/Sunoco Challenge.


If you like the sea, Anglesey in north-west corner of Wales provides a diamond of a track with the most beautiful scenery of all UK venues - but the same sea threw some spanners in the works for teams competing there in the weekend's four-hour SPEED series race.

Gale-force winds combined with short showers - no need for rain tyres - made it very difficult for the drivers as they dramatically changed the balance of the CN sports prototypes. In addition, front and rear race panels were torn off some of the cars although, luckily, no-one was injured.

The team to beat all weekend was Counter Solutions, with its Juno SSE CN09 driven - by the experienced Rob Garofall and Richard Bernans - posting unofficial fastest times in Friday free practice.

However, it was the ultra-quick Ben Clucas who stole the show in qualifying, setting a blistering pole position time some 1.376secs faster than the second-placed combo of Simon Dolan and Sam Hancock and earning the former F3 racer 20 vital points for the Rolex 24 at Daytona Driver Challenge presented by Sunoco.

Meanwhile, the RLR Motorsport team, headed by Barry Gates, had brought in experienced ex-BTCC regular Phil Bennett to partner Rachid Bouzouba in the Ligier JS49, but found it hard to combat an oversteer issue.

The race pace was fierce and provided great excitement throughout. Garofall and Bernans, however, looked comfortable in the lead, winning with one lap to spare over second placed Nick Adcock and Massimo Vignali in their Ligier JS49, with Sarah Reader and Graham Fennymore third in their TFL Motorsport-run Juno SSE09, just 14.7secs ahead of Bennett and Bouzouba. Fastest lap went to the flying Clucas, earning him another 20 points for his efforts.

As the Driver Challenge leader board is calculated on average scores, it was expected that SPEED drivers would be leading after their first race of the season, and erstwhile leader Derek Johnston now trails Garofall and Bernans' average of 93.33 points. It should be borne in mind, however, that Johnston and the Radical UK Cup have done three races, and fourth-placed Daniel Ricciardo four in the British F3 series.

The full standings as at May 17th can be found HERE.

The Driver Challenge now takes a weekend off, returning over 29-31 May, when the SPEED series heads to Spa for a three-hour race and the British F3/GT package to Rockingham.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Rob Garofall and Richard Bernans celebrate SPEED victory at Anglesey
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