Gary Prebble has thus far dominated the Castle Combe Saloons contests, and even a damp qualifying session was unable to thwart the progress of his rapid Seat Leon. Prebble held an impressive nine-tenths over his nearest rival in the morning session. Said nearest rival was Will Di Claudio, achieving the best result to date for his new for 2017 Peugeot 106 GTi.
Oliver Cook (Renault Megane) was another delighted with his most rapid effort thus far, third on the grid for the single race. Di Claudio made an excellent start, and after some early dicing pulled a gap to Prebble. Despite closing in the later stages, a spectacular slide at Camp all but derailed the Seat chargers bid for victory, allowing Di Claudio to claim the first outright success for his newly-built Peugeot. Simon Thornton-Norris’ pre-race demisting preparations in his Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart paid dividends, and a second podium of the season for the reigning champion was just reward for an impressive performance. Cook’s race would not live up to the potential promised from qualifying, with a poor start relegating him to eleventh at the conclusion of lap one. He would finish thirteenth in circuit saturating conditions that did not suit his Class A Megane. Cook’s fall was juxtaposed by the steady rise through the order of the Class C contingent, making the most of the appalling conditions suited to the lighter and less powerful machines. Their potential was reflected in Di Claudio’s result, but other notable performances came from Geoffrey Ryall and James Keepin, Peugeot 106 GTi and MG ZR mounted respectively. Ryall climbed from eighth to fourth but Keepin’s charge was even more impressive, eighteenth to sixth following a multitude of technical issues in qualifying including an alternator bracket breaking and an oil cooler splitting. Michael Good (Vauxhall Corsa) was another to benefit, and achieved a stunning ninth position in his Class D machine having started twenty-second.
Castle Combe Saloons Championship (14 laps) 1 Will Di Claudio (Peugeot 106 GTi) 2 Gary Prebble (Seat Leon Cupra) +2.225s; 3 Simon Thornton-Norris (Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart) 4 Geoffrey Ryall (Peugeot 106 GTi); 5 Tony Hutchings (Audi TT); 6 James Keepin (MG ZR). Class winners Prebble; Thornton-Norris; Michael Good (Vauxhall Corsa). Fastest lap Prebble 1m25.403s (77.98mph). Pole Prebble. Starters 31.Posted by Lee Bonham on Tuesday 30 May 2017