Makinen masters the wet
The slippery conditions at Snetterton were not to everyone’s liking…. but for Mika Makinen it was probably just like a summer day in his native Finland!
The SISU driver made easy meat of the competition – winning three of the four races for Division 2 machinery and extending his lead at the top of the BTRA standings to 52 points.
Saturday’s first outing saw pole sitter Makinen head the field away and he romped home some eight seconds clear of his main title rivals Simon Cole (Mercedes) and Tony Smith (Sisu).
Reigning Champion Adam Bint brought his Volvo White home fourth with Steve Powell (ERF) fifth and newcomer Paul Rivett (MAN) in sixth.
Full credit to Luke Garrett who blasted his MAN from Row 3 through to the front in two laps in Race 2, overhauling early leader Andy Lovenberry (Renault). Luke then held on in very poor conditions to take a great win – in front of on-form Finn Sami Ojanen (Iveco) and John Bowler (Foden).
Bint was on a real charge in the early stages – climbing from 11th on the grid to a stunning second in three laps. But a broken propshaft forced him out – and despite a late night on Saturday the team couldn’t get him out for Sunday’s races. Brad Smith was a fighting fourth in his DAF, just ahead of Makinen with Rivett again an impressive sixth.
Tony Smith led for two laps in Race 3 – but eventually was reeled in by Makinen who went on to take an easy win while Smith retired his Sisu.
Paul Rivett claimed a superb second place – the Clio racer proving he’d quickly adapted from a front wheel drive Renault to a 1000 horsepower rear-wheel drive six-wheeler in his debut weekend in the WDE MAN.
Ojanen collected his second podium result with a fine third ahead of Bowler with Joanne Eason a strong fifth, just ahead of Powell at the flag.
The final Division 2 outing brought another win for Makinen – some nine seconds clear of fellow Sisu racer Smith (who had to fight his way through the field). Bowler claimed the final podium spot ahead of Brad Smith with Garrett fifth and Lovenberry sixth.
Simon Cole’s championship hopes were dashed once again with another non-finish, as he pitted after just two laps.
Most importantly, all the Division 2 drivers kept facing in the right direction nearly all the time – and they managed to run their full compliment of four races over the weekend.
Next BTRA Championship event: Pembrey – October 14/15