It was a weekend full of drama for the RAW Motorsports team in Portimao.
Qualifying may have been early at 8am but it started well. Alex Kapadia took pole Manhal Allos’ SR8 for the first Radical European Masters race. “The car felt reasonable, but we need a clean race, but expect a fight with Colin Noble’s Spider,” he explained.
It was also a RAW pole in the Supersports class with Marco Cencetti’s SR3. “Very good, still making changes, so hopefully even better,” he reckoned.
Third in class was Dominik Jackson, “new tyres and I didn’t get the best out of them,” he admitted. Andrew Ferguson completed the RAW quartet in sixth.
Kapadia lost out at the start of the opening race, but soon fought back, after a first lap duel with John Harrison. But having taken second on lap two, he was challenging for Noble’s lead. “I didn’t expect the lights when they changed as I could hardly see them. But once I closed on Noble, I got by into Turn One on the third lap and just managed the car until I pitted to hand to Manhal,” he said.
But Allos hadn’t even made a lap when the engine blew and an almost certain win disappeared. “It just suddenly lost power and blew up,” Allos explained.
Cencetti had also been a clear leader in the Supersports, but was penalised for loosening his seat belts as he came into the pitlane, leaving Marcelo Marateotto to serve the penalty, which cost them the lead. “The car had been much better, then we got the penalty,” said Cencetti.
The extra stop dropped Marateotto to third in class, “we found a good set up with understeer to start and finishing with oversteer, I spun after the penalty, lost my head,” he admitted. The Jackson’s were in the thick of the podium battle too, finishing fourth. “We had a drive through for loosening belts too and some vibration at the rear of the car,” said Dominik. “I had a go dice with Ollie Hancock, but let him go and learned from him,” Cameron added.
Andrew Ferguson was sixth, “a bit slow getting into it and keeping the momentum going,” he admitted.
With no spare engine, Allos was forced to start at the back of the grid for race two in a borrowed RXC Spider, but was into third from the exit of Turn One. “Unlike the SR8 it didn’t have the feel of a race car,” he reckoned.
Having pitted from third, Allos handed to Kapadia who started to hunt down leader Ryan Booth. “It felt difficult and heavy but I pushed, but a bit too far and spun at Turn 14,” he said after dropping to fourth a lap from home.
Cameron Jackson led the Supersports from the start and his lead grew after Marateotto retired following a stop go penalty. “I was consistent but looked in my mirrors and there was no one there,” he said.
Dominik retained the lead second until the 19th lap, losing out to Hjerppe, but six laps later he got Jeremy Ferguson into Turn Five and was back to take second. “I was overdriving and he got me at Turn One, I just didn’t get the best from the car,” he said. “Much better and faster than qualifying, I feel competitive now,” Ferguson added.
Despite starting at the back again, Allos had fantastic start and was third into Turn Five. Despite losing the place to Ryan Booth a lap later, he didn’t surrender without a fight and a lot of side by side duelling. “I was happy to race a bit and a great start but the car doesn’t suit me,” he admitted.
Kapadia chased Harrison for second during his stint, but when his rival had a gearbox issue a lap from home, he pounced to snatch a hard fought second. “We found we only had 70% throttle as the wet setting switch had been knocked,” he said.
Once again the Jackson’s had a terrific scrap for the class lead, “I survived the pressure to hold onto it,” said Dominik. “Disappointed to lose second though, but I had a go at getting it back on the last lap,” said Cameron after an outbraking manoeuvre into Turn Five. They were third at the flag with the Ferguson’s fifth.