With moisture hanging in the air, the Hot Hatch qualifying session was yet another Mark Wyatt (Vauxhall Astra) benefit. Gary Prebble (Peugeot GTi), the only man who had bested Wyatt in a Hot Hatch session prior to the Whitsun race-day, found himself over a second off the pole-sitter’s time.
The presence of Craig Tomkinson’s Vauxhall Nova in third created a sense of anticipation, ahead of what looked set to be a thrilling re-run of the same trio’s dice for victory at the first May bank-holiday meeting. That wasn’t counting on the stonking pace of Mike Webb’s Ford Focus, which made a rapid getaway and charged away from the field. Whilst no doubt in part due to Webb’s bravery in tricky conditions, the result was also partially aided by the cut-slick tyres on his Focus. Sadly for Webb this technical infringement would see him thrown out of the results. On paper this left Prebble as the convincing winner, the first man in the short history of the Hot Hatch Challenge to beat Wyatt’s Astra in racing conditions. Tomkinson ensured all three drivers retained their 100% 2017 podium records, the class of the field so far. Matthew Bawtree celebrated Class B victory, and fourth position overall, in his Honda Integra. Michael Good (Vauxhall Corsa) was aiming for Class C honours to compliment his Class D victory in the earlier Saloons encounter. Despite climbing two positions from his grid slot of ninth, he would ultimately fall-short, with Josh Harvey (Honda Civic) climbing from just outside the top ten to steal the class accolade. Alex Buley (Citroen Saxo) negotiated his way through nearly half of the order, making up a staggering thirteen positions, on his way from twenty-ninth to sixteenth and fifth in Class C. Arthur Marks claimed the Class D top-step in his unique Suzuki Swift GTI, but Mark Sutton (MG ZR) chased him hard to the flag and ultimately only fell short by nought-point-eight seconds
Castle Combe Hot Hatch Challenge (10 laps) 1 Gary Prebble (Peugeot GTi); 2 Mark Wyatt (Vauxhall Astra) + 7.997s 3 Craig Tomkinson (Vauxhall Nova); 4 Matthew Bawtree (Honda Integra DC2); 5 Nick Adams (Honda Civic) 6 Josh Harvey (Honda Civic). Class winners Bawtree; Harvey); Arthur Marks (Suzuki Swift GTi). Fastest lap Prebble 1m25.012s (78.34mph). Pole Wyatt. Starters 31.Posted by Lee Bonham on Tuesday 30 May 2017