Norfolk’s Snetterton 300 Circuit will host the eagerly awaited resumption of the Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres season next weekend, 8th/9th September, where the battle over the 2018 title is only set to intensify further.
Once again running on the support package to the British Truck Racing Championship, as Legends Cars will now do for the remainder of the season, a grid of 25 competitors is expected in East Anglia with some very interesting names joining this year’s championship regulars.
Most notable for next weekend is the surprise return of ex-Legends Cars National Champion Rob Fountain (Boston) who makes an appearance in the category for the first time since winning the title all the way back in 2000.
Some 18 years since he lined-up on a Legends Cars grid, the last time he competed in any form of motorsport at all, Fountain will partner with the renowned Matt Roach Racing for his comeback and is most definitely aiming to be competitive.
“I’m back doing this for fun, but I’m not here to make up the numbers”, said the 40-year-old, “We’re doing Snetterton and the final round at Brands Hatch, hopefully I’ll be able to do Pembrey as well if work allows. I came out of motorsport after winning the championship to concentrate on my business. We did all that, I got married and have a family, and now is the right time to be back.
“I have done the odd track day since, but nothing else and no racing at all. You never lose wanting to be in motorsport though when you’ve been involved! I did look at a lot of championships, but nothing else gives you the affordability for the amount of track time you get in Legends Cars.”
Finland’s Miikka Riihimaa also makes a very welcome return to the championship, having last competed on UK soil during the Croft race meeting in April, while Matt Pape (Ilkley) and Belgium’s Guy Fastres will also be back on the ultra-competitive grid.
Ahead of next weekend’s action, reigning and three-time champion John Mickel (Horsham) leads the way at the top of the standings and with a very healthy points margin too – he is 605 points clear of closest challenger Steve Whitelegg (Bury).
While the championship pace-setter does hold a particularly strong advantage with only three race meetings still to go, when you bear in mind there are 200 points available for a win and six races at each of the remaining events, a fourth title for Mickel is far from a foregone conclusion.
Whitelegg did depart Donington Park last time out with some clear air between himself and the rest of the championship top six, the WTBS Motorsport driver 330 points ahead of last year’s Rookie Champion Miles Rudman (Sutton Coldfield).
Another 300-plus points adrift of Rudman is Jack Parker (Wolverhampton), who is tied on points with fellow race winner Sean Smith (High Wycombe), while reigning Masters Champion Paul Simmons (Lingfield) rounds out the top six.
One of the highlight performances during the previous round at Donington, of course, came from Simmons who made headlines with his first ever outright Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres race victory. We’ll see at Snetterton if that success marked a watershed moment…
Completing the championship top 10 are Neil Shenton (Middlewich), Will Gibson (Camberley), Nathan Anthony (Horley) – driver of the only ‘van’ in Legends Cars racing – and Marcus Pett (Boston). Top 2018 rookie Sy Harraway (Weston-super-Mare) is just outside in 11th position.
Looking ahead to the start of the final portion of the Legends Cars season, championship owner Phil Cooper said: “It’s been a long break again since Donington, but that’s given everyone plenty of time to reflect on the season so far, re-fettle their cars and recharge their batteries for the final three events – beginning at Snetterton.
“Alongside the championship battle, which could yet experience more twists and turns, we have some great names returning in Miikka Riihimaa, Matt Pape and Guy Fastres. We’re thrilled, of course, to welcome back our former champion Rob Fountain too. It’s 18 years since he won the title, but he’s in good hands with Matt Roach and I’ve no doubt he’ll be as determined as ever.”
Qualifying for the opening day of Legends Cars action at Snetterton will commence at 09.30 on Saturday, 8th September, with Heat One starting at 11.35, Heat Two at 14.15 and the Final will get underway at 17.30.
On Sunday, 9th September, qualifying begins the day’s track action at 09.00 with Heat One set to start at 11.10, Heat Two will follow at 14.40 and the Final is timetabled to commence at 17.00.
As always, live timing of all the action will be available at www.tsl-timing.com
Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres Points:
1st John Mickel, 5465pts; 2nd Steve Whitelegg, 4860pts; 3rd Miles Rudman, 4530pts;
4th Jack Parker, 4220pts; 5th Sean Smith, 4220pts; 6th Paul Simmons, 3950pts