With three teams in contention for the title, the competition was high heading into the season finale at Snetterton.
It was a front-row lockout for the VR Motosport Praga’s of Jack Fabby and Garry Townsend with Danny Harrison and Jem Hepworth alongside in second. The championship-leading Ferrari 488 Challenge started third to keep their chasers in sight.
A great start from the Ferrari saw them take an early lead from the RAW Motorsport Radical RXC of Ben Dimmack. It was only a lap before Dimmack forced his way through, lunging up the inside into the Wilson hairpin before scampering into the distance.
Paul Bailey had his work cut out trying to keep his Ferrari ahead of the ever-improving Jem Hepworth but they both would lose out to the flying Taranis of MacG Racing’s Jonny MacGregor. Despatching Hepworth over the start/finish line, he then courageously dove up the inside of Bailey into Riches to claim second place.
Whilst this was occurring, Dimmack had pulled well clear of the squabbling duo behind and was consistently pulling away. Unfortunately for him, it would be short-lived. MacGregor now free from traffic started lapping under 2minutes and within a lap was all over the Radical’s gearbox. Using the 7-litre V8 to perfection, MacGregor powered past on the main straight and stormed off to a 30-second advantage before the pit window opened.
Hepworth meanwhile managed to pass Bailey’s Ferrari and was running comfortably in third before pitting at the first available opportunity to hand over to the silver graded driver, Danny Harrison. Harrison then started slashing MacGregor’s lead by over four seconds per lap once the Taranis finally pitted.
The 30-second deficit was soon eradicated by the flying Praga and with just 15 minutes remaining he made his move. Easily passing MacGregor — who was now starting to fatigue — the gap at the flag was a huge 30 seconds, very reminiscent of the opening stint of the Taranis.
Up to the pitstops it had been a quiet race for the Townsend-Fabby Praga. With Townsend taking the start, he was cautious yet consistent and brought the car back in one piece before handing over to young gun Fabby.
Fabby was on an absolute mission, Driving as if his life depended on it, he lapped significantly quicker from experienced challenge driver, Ross Wylie, and managed to muscle his way through with 10 minutes still to run.
Wylie meanwhile had more to worry about, entering the race as championship leader with co-driver Bailey, he didn’t want to risk contact. However, there seemed to be more to it than that as the Radical RXC started to close in towards the end of the race. Luckily for Wylie, he was 28 seconds back and managed to hold onto fourth position.
A dominant drive from Harrison saw him thrust right back into championship contention with MacGregor holding onto second position. A fine drive from Fabby saw his car round out the top three and also remain in the title hunt.
Race 2 was nearly an absolute disaster for the Hepworth and Harrison Praga. The car initially failing to move brought up the team’s heartrates but luckily Jem managed to kick the car into life before the last car had gone past meaning she could resume her position at the front.
At the start, MacGregor made use of the Taranis’ huge straight-line speed to take an early advantage. However, he threw it all away at Murray’s when he went off and spun. He rejoined in the lead however lost out to Hepworth and Steve Burgess in the Radical whilst he readjusted.
By this point, the rain was starting to fall and caused the track to become every more slippery as the minutes passed by. The Taranis was soon back up to second place after Hepworth started to struggle with the rapidly worsening conditions.
Not only Jem but the sister Praga of Townsend also started to struggle. An unfortunate spin at Oggies put them way back in the field. With the conditions worsening still, the organizers put out a message just before the pit window ‘pit-lane open’ which many took as the pit window opening early for safety reasons.
Unsurprisingly the majority of the field took the opportunity to pit early and get onto wet tires. However the leading trio of Burgess, MacGregor, and Bailey all remained out for an extra lap on slicks in the hope that all the teams which pitted early would have to come in again for their mandatory stop, this ultimately was not the case.
With all the stops out of the way, Burgess resumed with a half lap lead over MacGregor. Things were about to get a lot worse for the Taranis after blue smoke started appearing from the back of the car. He was ultimately called in and the officials found an oil leak and would then not let him rejoin, ending his season early.
Back on track, the two stars of Race 1 were at it again. With the track now drying, both turbo Praga’s had come alive with Fabby rapidly closing down on Dimmack with Harrison not far behind him. It was six laps from home when Fabby pounced and took the lead away from the Radical. Harrison followed suit just two laps later and the duo would finish the season with a Praga one-two.
Meanwhile, Ross Wylie had made an extra pitstop to switch back to slicks. At the time it looked risky but it turned out to be a masterstroke. Wylie closing the gap by several seconds per lap on the struggling Radical. In just two laps the gap had come from 49 seconds to just 21 seconds. By the penultimate lap, the gap was just eight seconds.
With this kind of pace advantage, Wylie had no trouble passing Dimmack as they crossed the line nose to tail to start the final lap. Ultimately it was the Ferrari who came out on top and came home third, five seconds clear of Dimmack who took a valiant fourth.
With their consistent results over the weekend, including a victory, it was Hepworth and Harrison who claimed the 2020 Britcar Dunlop Endurance Championship by just five points from the Bailey-Wylie Ferrari. Fabby and Townsend rounded out the top three in what was a highly successful and competitive year for the Czech cars.
The 2021 season is set to get underway at Silverstone circuit on the 27th of March, subject to any further updates from Motorsport UK.
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