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Johnston reclaims Sunoco initiative.


Derek Johnston retook the lead of the Rolex 24 at Daytona Driver Challenge presented by Sunoco after a dramatic weekend's action, even though he was not actually racing.

The weekend saw more action than ever from competition hopefuls, with British F3 and British GT racing at Rockingham and the SPEED Series at Spa-Francorchamps, but Johnston's absence from the tracks proved to be useful for his overall ambitions.

First round winners Rob Garofall and Richard Bernans could only take second place in the SPEED Series, beaten by Barry Gates and Anthony Dunn in Belgium, but are still jointly second in the Challenge points' standings.

At Rockingham, meanwhile, leading British F3 competitor Daniel Ricciardo did his chances no good by crashing out of the first race and finishing only fifth in the second, although he did manage to secure his first pole position for a useful 20 points. The hero of the hour was Nick Tandy, who took a first British F3 victory for himself and the JTR team barely more than two weeks after his older brother, and the guiding light behind the team, Joe lost his life in a road traffic accident. Tandy moves up to tenth overall after claiming the first non-Dallara win in Britain for nearly a year, with Ricciardo now sixth.

The biggest scorer of the weekend was Alan Simonsen, who took pole position, two fastest laps and a race win in British GT. The Dane jumps to fourth overall in the Sunoco-fuelled standings but, despite having now scored more points than anyone else, still trails in terms of the all-important average number of points.

Simonsen could not have done more, fighting his way through the field to snatch the lead of race one with a handful of laps to go, then leading race two until the pit-stops, when the car was delayed by a gearbox problem.

The pair who gained most over the weekend were Radical UK Cup competitors Johnston, who took over the lead in the average standings, and Roger Bromiley, who is now fifth overall, both without having raced at the weekend.

The Driver Challenge continues unabated, with British F3 competitors racing at Hockenheim this coming weekend and the Radical UK Cup having its third meeting at Brands Hatch ready to provoke further changes in the points table.


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