Strawberry Racing off to a flyer
28th FEBRUARY 2012 - (Images courtesy of Bas Kaligis)
Web dominates Euro Max Opener
Harry Webb scored twin wins as the Rotax Max Euro Challenge got underway at Genk last weekend (31 March/1 April). His team-mate Jay Goodwin claimed pole position for the pre-final whilst Senior star Harrison Scott claimed 1st and 3rd place finishes.
Webb signaled his intentions from the outset by setting the fastest time in qualifying, with Goodwin also confident after going 7th quickest. Making his Euro Challenge debut, Guan Yu Zhou also impressed by posting the 11th best lap with Jessica Backman completing the top twenty.
The heats produced mixed fortunes for the drivers, and in turn, very different emotions. Goodwin claimed a career-best pole position for the pre-final with Webb joining him on the front row. Jessica battled her way onto the 12th row of the grid, but Zhou found himself in the Second Chance Heat after a series of tough encounters put paid to his chances of a fairy-tale opening to the season.
Harry won the pre-final, with Jessica crossing the line in 21st place. A rash response to being hit on the previous lap resulted in a black flag for Jay.
“It was a rush of blood to the head,” observed team manager Warwick Ringham. “If he hadn’t done it he’d have finished in the top four and been fighting for the win in the main final. He knows that and won’t make the same mistake twice again.”
He added: “Zhou had a DNF in one of his heats and that put him in the Second Chance race almost immediately. He showed great character to come through the field and learned a lot. Jessica was bullied around in her heats, but showed that she’s made a massive improvement. Harry was really, really good and thoroughly deserved his victories. He’s looking very strong.”
Rotax Winter Cup champion Harrison Scott started brightly in the Senior category with 3rd overall in timed qualifying. Just behind in 4th was Ash Hand with Andy King unusually down in 23rd. Andreas Backman had arrived in Belgium feeling very much ‘under the weather’ but rallied to qualify 30th-fastest. In the heats he suffered and found himself contesting the Second Chance Heat. A fine 9th place showed what might have been.
“Andreas struggled with illness throughout and it was only on Sunday that he felt better but by then it was too late,” Warwick reflected.
Scott endured no such dramas to win the pre-final. King made up ground to finish 11th after starting 23rd but Hand’s good work was undone by another driver taking him off and he eventually finished 12th.
An exciting main final saw Harrison score his second podium of the day with 3rd. Ash recovered from another on-track clash to cross the line in 9th with Andy battling to 13th. “They all did really well,” said an upbeat Ringham. “Perhaps they’re not quite the results they all deserved, but I can’t fault any of them. They gave it their all and Harrison is up and running now. He looks good and Ash and Andy are far from out of the running at this early stage. It’s all to play for!”
Strawberry Racing uses the Tony Kart Racer EVRR chassis and Cream Racing Engines.
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