A win and a second place were enough to crown RAW Motorsports James Lay the 2021 Radical SR1 Cup Champion, in his first season of car racing.
After qualifying Lay was on pole for the first of the days races. “I got my time about halfway through the session, so happy with my set up for the races,” he said.
Team mate Nick Zapolski was down in seventh. “I made some changes before the session. It wouldn’t turn in and the handling was bad, so we need to change it back,” he explained.
Completing the RAW trio after missing the last rounds was Gavin McAlpine on the seventh row of the grid.
From the start Lay lead into Redgate and made a first lap break with only Daryl De Leon following.
Zapolski had also started well and was into fourth by the end of the opening lap, heading a battling quartet.
But on the third lap De Leon pulled off, leaving Lay in the clear until the safety car came out. “I had a good clean start, but was watching what was happening in my mirrors. I could see Will Hunt making progress and then the safety car, but it didn’t affect me too much,” he said.
After one lap it was green again and Lay had to fend off an initial challenge from Frazer McFadden, while behind them Zapolski had lost fourth to Will Hunt.
McAlpine had also made good progress and was eighth at the green flag, until he lost two places on lap seven, claiming one back into Goddards.
While Lay continued to build on his lead, Zapolski was under more pressure and lost fifth to Mark Williams at the Melbourne Hairpin on lap eight.
Lay took the win by just over six seconds, with Zapolski dropping to seventh on the last lap after Ben Stone got by. McAlpine was 10th after a spin at Goddards.
It was Lay and De Leon to the fore again at the start of race two, with Lay holding sway onto the Craner Curves after his teenaged rival tried a move around the outside at Redgate.
Hunt had made it a three-car break, but the safety car was out again after a first lap collision. “I was on the inside on the Craners when Williams turned back across my apex. He turned into me I went sideways, stalled and it delayed others,” Zapolski explained.
McAlpine was in seventh, but lost out on the fourth lap, under attack into the Melbourne Hairpin. “I can never lose just one place, it’s always two or three,” McAlpine admitted.
The pressure continued on Lay at the front and a slight mistake on lap four gave De Leon the lead. “I felt the pressure of the title more thinking about the car. Then I made a mistake at the Esses and he got me. I was happy to just sit behind him and now it’s over. I’m the Champion and it’s a great weight off my shoulders,” he explained.
Zapolski had made a remarkable recovery to claim sixth from lap nine, with McAlpine coming home 11th.