Back to Back Wins For Creanor - CDM ETCC Rounds 3 & 4 from Brands Hatch

After the first meeting in the CDM ETCC, Maciek Sakowicz instantly became not only the first driver to win a race, but the first to get two in one night, quickly becoming the one to watch at the top of the standings. The Team Mood Springs guys had also made a very convincing start to their campaign, with Jacolette and Rowe both being quick off the mark.


Brands Hatch would provide a very challenging pair of races for all the drivers - a real staple on the British Touring Car Championship calendar for as long as anyone can remember, this narrow, undulating circuit throws everything at competitors, meaning they need to be at their very best to not step over the line (sometimes literally) and end up in the wall.


Round 3 - Sprint Race


It was Ciaran Dempsey that brought the pace we'd witnessed in pre-season testing, as he took pole position, but only by a mere 30 thousandths of a second from championship leader Sakowicz. Michael Blake was third fastest ahead of Adam Wright, Alex Sedgwick who made his debut this time round, and Jack Johns. Ben Benneyworth would inherit pole position via the reverse grid after qualifying 12th, with Donni Henriksen, Jon Bayliffe and Stephen King behind him.


As the lights went out though, it was Ben Creanor from 6th on the grid that made an unbelieveable start and took Benneyworth down the inside into Paddock Hill Bend and got the lead! The field streamed up to Druids but unfortunately Donni Henriksen and Craig Cameron would out-brake themselves and go straight on, both dropping down outside the Top 20. Jon Bayliffe would also lose a few places later in the lap after going too hot into Sheeve Curve.

It wouldn't get much better for the Vertex driver as he overcooked it at Paddock Hill Bend the next lap, bounced off the wall and was collected by Tim Cox, with others getting involved in the incident, including Scott Malcolm and James Underhill. With all of this going on, the Top 15 had now made a break for it and become one huge train!


Stephen King was running in 3rd place, challenging Benneyworth for 2nd, and eventually making it by on Lap 5. Alex Sedgwick was running well on his debut in 4th with the other Team Mood Springs car - Jack Johns - behind him. Johns would eventually get the move done into Sheene Curve but would soon be at the back of the five-car train after getting it wrong into Druids.

On Lap 6, Luke Austin had a huge accident, ploughing into the wall at Sheene Curve, after dipping a wheel on to the grass. He was running just outside of the Top 10 before this. All the while, the argy-bargy was coming into view for the likes of Dempsey, Rowe, Sakowicz and Jack Johns who had been in the wars in just about every race this season.


At the front though, Creanor was untouchable - phenomenal pace all the way through saw him take the win from Stephen King and Ben Benneyworth. Adam Wright finished 4th ahead of Michael Blake, Alex Sedgwick, Jack Johns, Ciaran Dempsey and Carl Jacolette. Now the question would be "can Creanor's lightning starts give him an advantage off the line in the Feature Race?"


Round 4 - Feature Race


The answer was yes - another lightning getaway meant that by Paddock Hill Bend, Creanor led by multiple car lengths, while everybody else scrambled for early track position - Ciaran Dempsey even going around the outside of Sedgwick and Blake while Benneyworth, Wright and King were three-wide ahead.


Somehow, everyone made it through without falling off, providing great entertainment in the opening moments. Daniele Giudici showed everyone how good the Kia Optima GTS is on the grass down Pilgrim's Drop, but then lost a few positions at Hawthorn Bend after a little bit of contact with Sakowicz.

Another incident a few corners later would lose Jason Rowe, Donni Henriksen and Daniele Giudici a number of positions - Rowe flying off the track at Sheene Curve. A lap later and it was Ciaran Dempsey off the circuit there, after a bit of shenanigans involving Adam Wright and Maciek Sakowicz. All the time, Craig Cameron was driving through the field brilliantly, gaining position after position.


The battles came thick and fast with more position changes in the Top 10 than you could shake a stick at, but Jack Johns unfortunately came to blows with Wright at Druids after going three-wide up the hill. Further ahead, Sedgwick, Benneyworth, King and Blake were having their own little dice with Creanor up the road.

On Lap 7 there was a humongous shunt between Carl Jacolette and James Underhill, the former getting a penalty for avoidable contact at the race. Unfortunately for Jon Bayliffe, he was collected by Underhill's spinning car and had a massive accident of his own, ending his race early - a very tough night for the Vertex driver.


As the pit stops got under way, Sakowicz was one of the first in, hoping to make use of his quick stops that we saw at Silverstone and gain time. Creanor had come in but lost a bucket-load of time and positions, with Maciek a long way up the road, The attention was diverted away momentarily with an accident for Ciaran O'Malley and a big off at Paddock Hill Bend for Tim Cox.

After what seemed like a big shuffling of the order, some drivers would have to come in for a second stop - some not taking enough fuel to make it to the end, One of which was Maciek Sakowicz, but Creanor was on the way back through the field, quickly dispatching of Stephen King for 2nd place. Daniele Giudici was all of a sudden the target at the top end of the order, but he would also need a second stop, giving Creanor the lead.


All of a sudden, it was Craig Cameron that was worth watching as he flew up to the back of Stephen King for 2nd place, while his teammate Jack Johns was testing the rallycross capabilities of the Kia Optima, with an off at Surtees. The question now would be "can Creanor hold off Cameron for the win?"

The answer, much like the previous question about his starts, was yes. Cameron only finishing half a second behind Creanor while Michael Blake got a podium off Stephen King in the closing stages. Scott Malcolm was on for 5th place but ran out of fuel across the line, dropping to 9th. This meant that Adam Wright got the 5th spot ahead of Alex Sedgwick, Ben Benneyworth and Maciek Sakowicz. Craig Shill would be promoted to 10th place after Carl Jacolette picked up a penalty for his incident with James Underhill.


This all meant that Sakowicz still lead the championship but only had a 6-point gap back to Stephen King with Ben Creanor 21 points adrift in 3rd.


In the Teams' Championship, Team Mood Springs were top by 32 points, with Bladespeed Esports 2nd and Abruzzi Racewear 1 point back in third.