De Sadeleer Dominates Rockingham; Jackson Takes Title Advantage

De Sadeleer Dominates Rockingham; Jackson Takes Title Advantage

30.09.2018: Jerôme de Sadeleer proved his Rockingham prowess at the penultimate Radical Challenge round, adding a brace of wins and third place podium to his previously perfect SR1 victory record at the Corby circuit.

Jerôme de Sadeleer proved his Rockingham prowess at the penultimate Radical Challenge round, adding a brace of wins and third place podium to his previously perfect SR1 victory record at the Corby circuit.

Title protagonist Dominik Jackson took the final win of the weekend amid a dramatic Rockingham farewell which saw arch rival and teammate Steve Burgess forced to record a double DNF. A single point separated the pair ahead of the round six battles, Jackson now holds a 76-point advantage heading into the final event at Silverstone next month.

Race 1

Outgoing Radical SR1 Champion de Sadeleer notched up his second win of his maiden Radical Challenge season, in the first of three races at Rockingham. Bouncing back after a rotten run of luck last time out at Snetterton, the 360 Racing driver took a decisive win from third on the grid to maintain his 100% winning record at the oval.

The fierce championship battle continued with Burgess stretching his lead to 16 points thanks to a third-place podium from pole position. Jackson kept his title hopes alive with vital points for fifth despite a race littered with a maximum success penalty, five second track-limits penalty plus an uncharacteristic spin.

Clean away at the rolling start, the leading duo battled wheel-to-wheel heading down to turn one and then again into the hairpin. Although Burgess emerged the leader, the field soon came under safety car conditions with a spin from Richard Baxter causing the pursuing pack to take evasive action.

Racing proper resumed one lap later, Burgess leading from Jackson and de Sadeleer as the trio traded fastest laps as they pulled clear of the field. Rarely straying more the 0.5 seconds adrift of his RAW Motorsport teammate’s rear wing, Jackson looked promising to make a pass until a spin at Deene dropped him to third ahead of the pit stops.

Once the stops played out, it was a penalty-free de Sadeleer that emerged the leader. Burgess held second until a spin at Deene with 11 minutes to go let Brian Caudwell sneak through. Re-joining in fourth, former champ Burgess pushed to catch Marcello Marateotto, up to a fantastic third from 18th on the grid, taking the final place on the podium with five minutes remaining.

Jackson, meanwhile, battled back from a maximum success penalty to bag valuable points for fifth overall, while Mark Richards rounded out the top six with the fastest lap to his credit.

Race 2

Swiss ace de Sadeleer doubled up with a second win on Sunday morning, emerging victorious from a safety-car littered race two which resulted in just a handful of laps under full racing conditions.

Whilst de Sadeleer's third win promotes him to third in the championship order, an incident ridden race saw title protagonists Burgess and Jackson come together. That forced Burgess’ retirement whilst a resulting penalty dropped Jackson from second to the back of the results.

Consistency finally paid off for RAW Motorsport’s Elliot Goodman, who was rewarded with his first career Challenge podium and second overall, after Jackson’s infringement and Brian Caudwell’s 10-second penalty for a false start.

Consequently, Brian Murphy inherited his second podium of the season with third overall. Fifth on the road, Baxter was in turn promoted to fourth, John MacLeod to fifth and John Caudwell to sixth.

Race 3

With top title contenders, Jackson and Burgess starting 11th and 16th respectively, race three promised to be a thrilling final battle and fitting farewell to Radical’s home track.

Pole-man de Sadeleer led the field clean away at the rolling start, fending off the early intentions of Elliot Goodman before securing the lead at Deene. But, once the opening lap played out, Richards sat second ahead of a storming Jackson in third. Burgess meanwhile, was already on a mission and sitting seventh come lap three.

With Burgess edging ever closer, Jackson set his sights on second and pressured 360 Racing’s Richards into a mistake under braking at Deene. That allowed the RAW Motorsport man to push on to catch de Sadeleer 1.4 seconds up the track, the leading duo taking turns to swap fastest laps before Jackson opted to stop early in the pit window.

Pit stops complete and a success penalty free Jackson emerged leader, heading Richards by a decisive margin which would remain unchallenged. Second place Richards instead had to focus on a hard-charging de Sadeleer, fighting back from his maximum pit stop penalty carried over from his race one win at a rate of over a second a lap.

A spin from Murphy at Brooke with around four minutes remaining, however, called that battle short, as with 75% race distance complete a result was declared and red flag shown.

Agonisingly, an outstanding drive up to fourth from Burgess went completely unrewarded with a mechanical retirement just two laps prior.

Stellar drives from both Marateotto and Kristian Jeffrey turned 18th and 20th on the grid into fourth and fifth place finishes respectively. Sunoco Driver of the Weekend, Elliot Goodman wrapped up a superb event with another top six result.

Driver quotes:

Jerome de Sadeleer (Winner races one and two, third race three: “You never have a lot of time to rest here, I’m kind of sad this place is closing down. I managed my races well and I’ve driven cleanly.

I wasn’t on maximum attack compared to Steve and Dom and drove with my head, but I made sure I was right there when it mattered. My 20-second penalty on the race three pit stop was a big disadvantage. The car was superb, and the team did a great job all weekend. I plan on being just as quick at Silverstone and maintain third place in the championship.”

Dominik Jackson (Winner race three): “It was nice to have a clean race. I quite enjoyed starting tenth and having a bit of a dice in the first few laps, that was quite good fun. There are so many points to gain for a win, there was only one point in it coming into this weekend. There's a gap now but it's still doable for either of us.”

Brian Caudwell (Second race one): “It was fabulous. I've had a tough couple of seasons, but Rockingham has been good to me over the years. Part of me thought it was my day just because we're here!”

Steve Burgess (Third race one): “It was a good start, I managed to get ahead of Dominik, but I struggled for pace. We changed the car to help save the tyres but struggled with grip. After the stops I pushed a bit too hard and spun.”

Elliot Goodman (Second race two): “It's a good result. It was a case of driving round and making sure I got a good restart from behind the safety car each time, which I was able to do. It's good to get a podium though, it still counts!”

Brian Murphy (Third race two): “I've never felt like this before as I crossed the line sixth! But it's interesting to come third after that, but I'll take it! If can finish in the top six again in the final race, I'll be happy.”

Mark Richards (Second race three): “I'm very happy but there might have been a chance of first. The three of us (Jackson and de Sadeleer) were lapping so close to each other. I had the pace, but Dom's pressure caused me to out-brake myself, but I can't complain with second.”

The Radical Challenge 2018 championship battle now goes down to the season finale around at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, 13-14 October.



Emma Spearing Photo credit: Ollie Read


30.09.2018 / MaP

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