As the curtain started to close on the Chazlington Touring Car Championship's second Season, we headed to the scenic Oulton Park in Cheshire, where everything had begun a few months prior with pre-season testing. Ben Palmer arrived as Champion, stating that he could get the gloves off and have a bit of fun this round, but there was still a fight on for 3rd in the Championship between Stadler and Evdoka, as well as the fringes of the Top 10, between Burke, Field and Robertson.
Mark Fletcher was once again quick and put the nimble Radicals Online MOATF Fiesta on pole, with Stadler alongside, Evdoka 3rd, Palmer in 4th and Billy Fletcher grabbing an impressive 5th place just ahead of Pete Harrod. Steve Burke had fallen ill in the day so Simon Field only had to get a handful of points from this meeting to move ahead in the standings - he lined up 11th on the Grid for Race 1.
Stadler got a fantastic launch and tried to mount an attack on Fletcher going into Turn 1, but he couldn't quite pull it off, slotting back into place ahead of his teammate Evdoka. Dan McAuley had made a good start and made it up to 7th ahead of Robertson and McIntyre. Going down the hill to Cascades, Jake was turned across the front of McIntyre's Beetle and soon into the wall. He recovered to carry on though.
Craig Evans had jumped the start so had a black flag looming over him - he'd dropped to 13th behind Draycott, Crowther and Woodward, who were all battling for 10th position on Lap 2. Before long Craig was slowing down to try and clear his penalties but it wouldn't be enough, as he was overtaken by Jake Robertson and John Roberts, he would soon retire from the race.
McAuley fell back from the lead train into the clutches of McIntyre and Field, and soon the former would sneak through at Fosters, as further back down the order, Woodward put a move on Draycott for 10th, as Robertson overtook Crowther for 12th - both DC Racing Fiestas losing positions on the same lap. Draycott repaid the favour though, and got his position back from Woodward a few corners later.
Ben Palmer was traditionally the first car to pit, at the end of Lap 5 - a third of the way into the race. He would drop down to 14th on track, but in clear air. Evdoka, Fletcher (Billy), McIntyre and Field followed suit the lap after, but all emerged behind Palmer, who had jumped Evdoka by a couple of seconds in the pit stops. Stadler came out effectively in 3rd after his stop.
Fletcher, Harrod and McAuley waited as long as they could for their pit stops - Harrod going one lap longer than the others. Once again Palmer had made the strategy work, despite Fletcher going to the extent of parking his car on an angle for a better pit exit. He would come out side-by-side with Evdoka, eventually keeping the place and holding 2nd.
Ben would hold on to take his 7th win of the season, equalling Jake Blackhall's tally from Season 1 with two less races. Evdoka would finish 2nd, ahead of Fletcher Stadler and Harrod, with Billy Fletcher in 6th. McAuley and Robertson would finished 7th and 8th with Draycott 9th - securing a double Top 10 for DC Racing on his return to the series, as he and Niall Crowther overtook McIntyre across the line, once again running out of fuel.
McIntyre was drawn on to reverse grid pole position in the end though, with his lack of fuel being a blessing is disguise. Crowther and Draycott lined up 2nd and 3rd, while Robertson, McAuley and Fletcher followed, with Palmer down in 11th position. The only Championship battle that could be settled was that of Burke, Field and Robertson - Jake now only being 3 points behind Simon for 9th and 10th.
The start seemed pretty normal and tidy for all of 200 yards. Robertson and McAuley made demon getaways to almost go four-wide with the DC Racing Fiestas, but Jake made contact with Crowther on the inside line, and the pair of them went spearing off into the wall. As Jake's car came back on to the track, he was collected by Ant Woodward, who also made contact with Simon Field.
Further back, Evdoka hit the back of Billy Fletcher and started a massive chain reaction. Fletcher turned Stadler around in front of the chasing pack, and as Mark Fletcher moved over to avoid him, he just clipped the front of the Beetle, but shoulder-barged Ben Palmer into the wall. It was a chaotic start that really split the field up, but McIntyre lead McAuley, Draycott and Harrod, until the latter got a slow-down penalty.
At Druids, Crowther tried to stay out of everyone's way, but got on to the grass in the braking zone, slid across the grass on the infield and the unlucky car to get collected was Craig Evans - not a good night for the Scotsman. Roberts and McAuley both pitted in the first two laps, to serve penalties for jumping the start. McAuley would emerge just behind the race leader, albeit a lap down.
Before long, Mark Fletcher and Michael Evdoka had made great progress, the former taking 2nd place by the end of Lap 3 from Draycott, as Evdoka followed him through. Draycott was still doing well to hold on to 4th place after avoiding all the chaos at the start. Behind him, 5th placed Stadler was under pressure from Billy Fletcher, so he didn't have too much to worry about, for now.
Stadler pitted first, with Fletcher coming in one lap later. The Austrian's pit stop lasted a very long time though, as he also served a penalty. This would drop him just over a lap down on the field in 14th while Fletcher emerged in 11th. His namesake (Mark Fletcher) soon came in and ended up in front - the highest-placed car to have pitted.
Before long, Harrod had caught up to the back of Draycott, chasing him down for what was 3rd place, but pitted before losing any time behind the Fiesta. This let Palmer through into 4th, to launch his own attack - they both pitted on Lap 11. Draycott had a long stop while Palmer came back out in 5th between Fletcher and Harrod!
Up front, Fletcher just about held off McIntyre until the end to take his second win of the season. McIntyre securing his best result in 2nd place, with Palmer, Harrod and Fletcher 3rd, 4th and 5th. Evdoka would end up 6th after a controversial incident on the penultimate lap, with Draycott finishing an impressive 7th, after contact with Robertson put the latter out of action. Evans and Field gave us a photo finish for 8th - Evans just prevailing.
It was a fantastic meeting all round to close the championship, with plenty of action up and down the order - it really highlighted what we'd come to expect over the two seasons, and hopefully there will be more to come the next time we do this.
Thanks of course to everyone who has watched the broadcasts this season - it's greatly appreciated, and to the drivers that took part - it wouldn't be what it is without you all.