GLORY & DISAPPOINTMENT AT DONINGTON
It all started so well for Steve Burgess and Ben Dimmack in the RAW Motorsports Radical RXC at Donington Park.
Burgess had qualified third quickest and fastest in class for the first GT Cup race of the weekend.
Although Richard Neary’s pole sitting Mercedes GT3 was first into Redgate from the start, he was off on the outside, which gave Burgess the lead onto the Craner Curves. “I was so close to him at the first corner and then he went off. I think he was distracted by me,” said Burgess
His lead soon began to grow as a two car battle for second began to build.
Once Morgan Tillbrook’s McLaren 750S GT3 was into second on lap three, he started to close on Burgess and by lap seven he was close enough to challenge the Radical.
Lap after lap Tillbrook showed the nose of his car to Burgess, without making a challenging move. He tried outbraking too, but Burgess retained his advantage each time.
“I got in some good early laps with good pace, but then the tyre temperatures got too high again. Morgan was very determined and kept trying to get me though,” Burgess added.
It remained very close to the flag. But with the door kept well and truly shut, Burgess took the victory spoils with just 0.269 secs to spare.
It was a good start again from Dimmack in the second race and he was battling for third place, when John Dhillon’s Lamborghini on the left turned in at Redgate, causing Grahame Tilley’s Nissan to have contact with the rear corner of the Radical.
Both Dhillon and Tilley were in the gravel, but Dimmack continued down in fourth place. “I backed out at the start and held my line inside, I wasn’t aware of the contact, but just felt a thump,” said Dimmack.
One lap behind the safety car and it was green again, with Dimmack taking Shamus Jennings Porsche for third. “I kept up reasonably with the leaders for about six laps, then the brakes started to get unpredictable. Sometimes there and sometimes not and I overshot the Esses a couple of times, “he added.
He still held on to fourth to the pitstop window, when he came in to hand to Burgess, settling back in fourth again after the stops were completed.
Burgess was chasing Greg Caton in the Jennings Porsche, but was unable to match the pace. “It was a bit lonely really, but we had the class lead and I knew Ross Wylie was behind me in the McLaren. So I just made sure I pushed on for the class win,” he said.
It was Dimmack’s turn to do the Sunday morning Sprint race, having qualified fifth.
From the start he was in fifth but harassing Dhillon’s Lamborghini from the opening lap.
Into the Esses for the fifth time and he managed to outbrake
Dhillon, so only Neary’s Mercedes, Jennings Porsche and Tillbrook’s McLaren were ahead.
On repeated laps Tillbrook made aborted moves on Jennings into the Esses, but on lap eight he appeared to be following through. A last minute change of mind saw him turn almost stationery across the Esses, as Dimmack went through to take third place, hitting the Radical hard on the rear corner and spinning it out.
He eventually made it back to the pits but was unable to rejoin the race and the damage was too substantial to make it out for the last race of the weekend.
“I knew I had the pace to get Tillbrook but he just came back across right into me, we touched and it turned me around,” Dimmack concluded.