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elise trophy

Lotus Elise Trophy

Safe, friendly and financially viable race series for Lotus owners

During its inaugural season in 2007 the Elise Trophy became the fastest growing race series in Europe as well as the best supported club series thanks to the large number of Lotus Motorsport Enthusiasts following the action. It’s not just the number of cars or the fantastic support the series receives that makes the Elise Trophy the premier UK race series, the race calendar is one of the best in UK club motorsport: with races at all the major circuits such as Silverstone GP, Brands Hatch GP and Donington Park.

Elise Trophy competitors also have the chance to racing at Europe’s premier circuits such as Spa Francorchamps, Nurburgring and Le Mans as the Production class regulations in Lotus Cup Europe are identical to those of the Elise Trophy. Race days feature a 20 minute qualifying session plus two 20 minute races where the 2nd race grid is reversed from the top ten qualifying positions.

Elise Trophy Race Report: Snetterton 300 6/4/2013

Introduction

snappyracersG27P5448-300x200The Elise Trophy’s seventh season got underway at the Snetterton 300 circuit, and with last year’s star drivers Rob Boston and Andrew Bentley both moving on, the field was wide open. Returning to the fold, however, was Luigi Mazza, and ready to pick up from where he left off

Last season’s most consistent act, Craig Denman would also start as favourite, along with Ken Savage and several other familiar faces, including Phil Stratton-Lake, Martin Wills and John LaMaster. After a seemingly eternal winter, an unseasonably cold April began to warm up as the drivers headed to Norfolk

Qualifying

The mid-morning session took place in bright sunshine and first out on track was Adam Gore, taking over the car used to great effect by Rob Boston last year. He was immediately quickest too, by over two seconds from the returning Mazza, with Savage and Neil Stothert next up. The gap between first and second grew as the newcomer built up speed. However just as Mazza and then Denman began to respond, the leader was into the pits with a smoking engine.

With a deficit of over a second to make up, Mazza and Denman set to work, whilst Matthias Radestock joined in the fight along with LaMaster and Stratton-Lake. Mazza lapped his car within a second of Gore’s time but was unable to improve further, nevertheless he would start from the front row but developments during the morning would determine whether this would be pole or second.

Denman held third, from Radestock, Savage and Martin Wills, whilst the top ten was completed by Stratton-Lake, LaMaster, Neil Stothert and Nigel Hannam.

Race One

Gore’s car was readied for the race but there was bad news for Denman, relegated to the back of the grid following post-qualifying checks.

Mazza made a poor start as Gore raced into the lead from Wills as the cars entered the infield complex. Wills spun at Hamilton however, whilst under attack. As the cars entered lap two, Mazza had made the most of the first lap confusion, much of it caused by his tardy getaway, to trail Gore, and lead Stratton-Lake, Savage and Radestock.

By lap three, the leading pair were well clear of the rest, and Stratton-Lake led the first eight, in the order Savage, Radestock, Stothert, Hannam and LaMaster. Meanwhile Denman was up to 17th place as his recovery drive began in earnest.

Next time around Stratton-Lake was missing from third, whilst Gore’s lead had shrunk considerably. Oil at the end of the Bentley Straight, right in the braking area, was having a mjor influence on the race and the gap was again reduced next time round, as Savage fell from grace too. Radestock was now in a podium position, holding Stothert at bay, with Hannam a little further behind.

Mazza took the lead on lap five, but with Gore stitting just behind, it didn’t look as though the new pacesetter was harbouring thoughts of domination just yet. Indeed, the focus was as much on the battle for sixth, as Savage fought with Wills and Denman. The Welshman was driving a storming race, and despite Wills’ robust defence, was ahead within little more than a lap.

On lap eight the leaders were two abreast into Murrays but Mazza just resisted, holding momentum to lead into the final tour. Gore attacked at every turn and took the lead into Nelson, holding the place to the flag, despite Mazza’s best drafting attempts. Radestock took a lonely third, from Stothert and Hannam, also nose-to-tail, then Denman, Wills, Savage, Simon Oakley and Paul Baker.

Race Two

Clive Willis lined up alongside Nigel Hannam for the start of the second encounter with LaMaster and Stratton-Lake just behind. Despite his relative ineperience, Willis made a great start, contrasting sharply with Hannam’s less speedy getaway. Mazza judged the situation perfectly to take an early second place through the early corners, which was converted to the lead by the time the cars reached the end of the Bentley Straight at the first time of asking.

By the start of lap two, Mazza was two seconds clear of Willis, who had his mirrors full of Stratton-Lake, LaMaster, Wills and Gore. Radestock demoted a struggling Gore on the next tour, as the polesitter began to settle into his second place. Meanwhile both Savage and Hannam were enduring a much tougher time, with both pitting.

As Radestock fought with Wills, Denman had caught the chasing pack already. Despite a smoky car, Wills was putting on a display of feistiness as Gore then pitted with his own issues. Wills soon worked his way to the front of the queue for second place but with Stratton-Lake still holding back the rest, Willis had some breathing space in third. However he spun at Coram on lap six, dropping him down to eighth, behind Radestock, Denman, Stratton-Lake, LaMaster and Rob Keogh as the battle for third raged on.

Denman was now the attacker-in-chief, ready to pounce on Radestock as Wills’ car continued to betray ailing signs. The three were together for the final laps as Mazza edged further and further away and as the leader took the flag, there was a considerable wait to find out the winner of this particular fight.

However Wills’ car held together for him to just hold off Radestock and Denman, with LaMaster and Stratton-Lake taking the next two places, ahead of Keogh, Willis, Oakley and Neil Livsey.

Conclusion

snappyracersG27P6248-300x200Mazza may have taken a year out of the series but it was though he had never been away, with two performances showcasing both his speed and readiness to attack. However as Gore showed, given a little extra reliability, he has the potential to dominate in the manner that Rob Boston did last year. It will be intriguing to see how they both fare, but it is also worth remembering that had he not failed post-qualifying scrutineering, Denman would have definitely been amongst them, such was his pace. Radestock’s two podiums are also worth praise, as was Wills’ second in race two.

The second round of the season takes place at Silverstone at the end of April, whilst highlights of the Snetterton races can be seen on Motors TV shortly.

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