Serpent’s Kyle Branson Wins Round Nine of National Championship


The ninth and final round of this year’s Championship was hosted by Mendip raceway in Weston Super Mare. With all the main drivers present, the fight was to secure third place in the overall GT1 Championship after the title was decided in favour of Kyle Branson at the previous round with a perfect score of six wins after eight rounds. Tim Wood was also in an uncatchable position in second, but had relinquished his title that  he had owned for the last three consecutive seasons. The GP2 title for drivers with a lower driver skill ranking would also be decided over the weekend with Jason Thompson having the chance to overtake current leader Greg Fairlie.
Saturday was dry with good levels of grip to allow all the drivers to fine tune their cars and engines. It was noticeable that the quickest drivers were Mark Green and Kyle Branson with their closest rivals being Andy North, Neil Diver, Richard Hicklin and Tim Wood. The gaggle behind was led by Irish man Clive Connolly, Daniel Bancroft, Pete Hastings, Andy Hastings, Jason Frost, John Carr and Dan Jones and all these drivers had a good chance of making the main final.
Upon arrival at the track on Sunday morning, there was dry tarmac which was a surprise due to some overhead dark clouds. After the drivers briefing, a minor shower came down and prevented any meaningful practice in heat order. Round one started with a dry track, but the grip levels remained low for a short period but this didn’t stop representative times from being registered. In heat five, Kyle Branson hit trouble which gave Mark Green the opportunity to TQ the round which he duly took advantage of. In round two, Mark Green increased his advantage with the first 20 lap result of the day and Kyle Branson also posted a time which moved him into the top ten. Round three saw Kyle begin to dominate the proceedings with a 20 lapper which was just 0.01 sec slower that Mark’s previous result, but then in the final round, Kyle did enough to ensure TQ with a result that was 1.6 sec quicker than Mark who dropped to third after being beaten by team mate Tim Wood after he completed five minutes without a fuel stop. The top ten were as follows:

1st    Kyle Branson – Serpent/Sirio – 20 laps 313.32 seconds
2nd    Tim Wood – Serpent/Exceed – 20 laps 314.91 seconds
3rd    Mark Green – Serpent/Novarossi – 20 laps 314.98 seconds
4th    Clive Connolly – Mugen/Novarossi /ATS – 19 laps 302.44 seconds
5th    Andy North – Mugen/IDM / Contact – 19 laps 302.54 seconds
6th    Neil Diver – Shepherd/IDM – 19 laps 303.38 seconds
7th    Andrew Hastings – Shepherd/IDM – 20 laps 303.89 seconds
8th    Richard Hicklin – Serpent/Novaross1 / 19 laps 304.61 seconds
9th    Jason Frost – Serpent/IDM – 19 laps 305 seconds
10th    Daniel Bancroft – Motonica/VOX – 19 laps 305.37 seconds

The final started cleanly with eight cars due to DNS for both Mugen cars of Andy North (interference) and Clive Connolly (seized engine bearing). Up front, it was Kyle, Mark and Tim who slowly pulled away from the rest of the field. The first casualty upfront was Mark Green who suffered an engine cut, but he managed to continue. Tim Wood was the next to go after 15 minutes when he stopped on track. Up front Kyle started to back off at the end of the main straight due to his car starting to bottom out over the bumps, but on lap 92, he lost control and hit the concrete kerb which destroyed the front wheel. After a marshal quickly recovered the car back to the pits for a check over and a new front tyre, Kyle regained the race with his lead now down to just one lap. Mark Green at this stage was charging through the field and passed Neil Diver towards the end of the race to finish a strong second. The final results were as follows:

1st    Kyle Branson – Serpent/Sirio – 110 laps
2nd    Mark Green – Serpent/Novarossi – 109 laps
3rd    Neil Diver – Shepherd/IDM – 109 laps
4th    Andrew Hastings – Shepherd/IDM – 108 laps
5th    Richard Hicklin – Serpent/Novarossi – 93 laps
6th    Tim Wood – Serpent/Exceed – 55 laps
7th    Jason Frost – Serpent/IDM – 52 laps
8th    Daniel Bancroft – Motonica/VOX – 37 laps
9th    Clive Connolly – Mugen/Novarossi/ATS – DNS
10th   Andy North – Mugen/IDM/Contact – DNS

With his third place finish, Neil Diver secured third place in the championship. The results of the lower finals were as follows:

B Final
1st    Ross Simons – Serpent – 70 laps
2nd   John Carr – Serpent – 70 laps
3rd    Dan Jones – Serpent – 68 laps
4th    Jason Thompson – Serpent – 67 laps

With this result, Jason gained maximum points and finished top of the GP2 Championship.

C Final
1st    David Brimley – 67 laps
2nd    Peter Lague – Shepherd – 66 laps
3rd    Ian Billett – Serpent – 66 laps

D Final
1st    Steven Smith – 60 laps
2nd    Jonathan Melton – 59 laps
3rd    Anthony Clowes – 56 laps

The overall championships best six of nine to count were as follows:

GP1/Overall Championship
1st    Kyle Branson – 600 points
2nd    Tim Wood – 592 points
3rd    Neil Diver – 584 points
4th    Andrew Hastings – 581 points

5th    Jason Frost – 571 points
6th    Andrew North – 570 Points
7th    Mark Green – 564 points
8th    Karl Dransfield – 556 points
9th    Dan Ghibaldan – 546 points
10th    John Carr – 540 points

1st    Jason Thompson – 594 points
2nd    Greg Fairlie – 593 points
3rd    Roger Doran – 579 points

1st    Peter Lague – 595 points
2nd    Anthony Clowes – 580 points
3rd    Barry Doran – 566 points

That therefore concludes the racing for yet another season. Next stop is the AGM and then some serious winter testing in preparations for the 2012 season which will soon be upon us.

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