It was back to winning ways for RAW Motorsports at Oulton Park, with victories for Alex Khateeb and Theo Micouris in the final Radical Cup UK race of the weekend.
Khateeb was in the RAW awning for the first time and was quick to show his pace, setting third quickest time in qualifying, “the car is transformed, the time is in me now and we can progress,” he said.
Team mate Gavin McAlpine was also happier with his pace, “it felt very much better, but I still need to go quicker,” he added after qualifying 13th.
With poleman De Leon running wide at the first corner, Khateeb was into second as they plunged down the Avenue at the start of race one.
De Leon reclaimed the place into Island Hairpin on lap five, but Khateeb stayed in touch and after early leader Lay hit trouble, he shot back into second place at Island with three laps to go, to finish second on the road.
Unfortunately he was given track limit penalties, which dropped him to ninth, “I was pushing very hard and probably just over the limit. I didn’t see the track limit warning though. But it was an education and proved I had the pace,” he said.
McAlpine had a first lap spin at Knickerbrook, made a quick stop and continued to finish 18th. “I braked extra hard and had a spin, loved the race but my strategy was wrong,” he reckoned.
Hopes of another strong performance from Khateeb in race two were soon dashed, when having settled in an early fifth, he was battling with Stone for sixth. “I got hit at Island and pushed off,” he said, before heading pitwards.
McAlpine was in the middle of a three-car battle for 11th, before a couple of exchanges with Williams. After a few laps solo in 12th, he was caught by Francis. They swapped but Francis spun on the last lap and McAlpine came home 11th. “I was trying to get Lowe but then lost ground, but it was a great race,” he said.
The final race of the weekend was the pitstop race and from lights out Khateeb was fourth, but hanging on just to third placed Caisley.
Having pitted under the safety car, with Lay’s success penalty and De Leon pitting after the green flag, Khateeb was the race leader, but under pressure from Caisley.
It was nose to tail for the entire second half, but Khateeb’s defence held out and was the victor by 0.913 secs. “I had so much pace in that race, it was a different car and transformed my driving too, but I never expected a win. My confidence is coming back and the pitstop was perfect, but Ben got so close,” he concluded.
It was a successful weekend for Theo Micouris too. The jointly run Hart GT/Raw driver came to Oulton as the SR1 leader and qualified second quickest for the first race.
He was into a close third place from the start, but as leader Wood got away, the challenge for second with Stoney went right to the flag. “I lost out at the first corner and struggled a bit for pace out of the Island Hairpin, but just couldn’t get the place back,” he said.
Initially the second race started better, but as he was challenged for second into Old Hall on lap two by Wood, he was left on the grass and dropped to sixth. “I left room but got hit in the side and pushed off, but I enjoyed racing back through the field though,” he said.
On lap12 he ousted Joyce from third and a lap later Wood retired, leaving Micouris to come home second behind Stoney.
In the final race the young teen led from the start and with Stoney slowing on the first lap, his lead over Wood increased.
He continued to set the pace and was in second after the mandatory stops behind Stoney, with Wood retiring again.
A lap from home he made his move and as they took the flag he was 0.6 secs clear of Stoney, to consolidate his Championship lead. “With a big success penalty I expected third or fourth, but it was a close battle.
He made one mistake and I was through,” Micouris concluded.
Published by Peter Scherer for RAW Motorsports, June 20th 2023