2019 World 240s Report
By BSCDA, Jan 24 2019 03:25PM
Five Brisca Formula One drivers made the trip to Rotorua to contest the 2019 World 240s Championship. The five were the ever present Frankie Wainman Jnr in the Bernie Fox car, Lee Fairhurst in the Rob Lintern car, Bobby Griffin in a car supplied by Clint Hill, Ben Riley in the 1NZ car of William Humphries and Frankie Wainman Jnr Jnr in the Palmerston North Speedway car. Also making the trip was Karl Hawkins who tried to qualify on the Friday night. After Fridays qualifying session which the Brits didn’t have to contest the top 26 drivers were decided to see who would be crowned 2019 World 240s Champion 2019.
After the practice on Friday the Fairhurst car had developed gasket issues and Peter Bengston who had failed to qualify returned the favour to the Fairhurst team by lending them his car for the Saturday. The crowd for Saturday was huge with spectators being turned away at the turnstiles before the meeting started.
Race 1 saw Ben Riley on pole with Lee Fairhurst on his outside, Griffin was on grid 12 with Wainman Jnr on 21 with JnrJnr directly behind his dad on grid 23. At the green the usual Rotorua melee into turn 1 and 2 saw all the Brits going backwards as the cars sorted themselves out. Wainman Jnr was the only Brit making any ground as the rest appeared to be coming to terms with the Kiwi style of racing. Thomas Stanaway won this one from Asher Rees and Malcolm Ngatai. Frankie Jnr was the first Brit home making up 9 places from his grid 21 start to finish 12th, with Lee in 17th, Frankie JnrJnr in 19th, Bobby in 24th and Ben Riley didn’t finish.
Race 2 and the grid saw Junior on 8th with his son directly behind him again, Ben on 14 with Lee alongside him and Bobby on grid 25. Again the there was a coming together in turns 1 & 2 which developed into a major for 2 of the Brits as they went into turn 3 with the 515GB car being lifted up the fence with Keegan Levien underneath him as he came down the 555GB made heavy contact with the rear of the Wainman Jnr machine. This resulted in red flags where the Levien car was removed. On the restart the 515GB was obviously damaged and he eventually retired. Lee was now starting to get to grips with the Bengston machine making up some ground. Benji Sneddon won this one from Wayne Hemi and Jayden Ward. First Brit was Fairhurst in 11th with Riley, Griffin and Wainman Jnr Jnr taking the lesser places.
Going into race 3 the Brits were not really in the running for the title but the expected fireworks never really ignited with only a couple of hits going in that made any change to the championship. Griffin was the standout Brit in this one starting from Grid 4 he picked up a great 2nd place with Lee now really getting the Bengston machine flying gaining 6th from his grid 24 start with the 2 Wainmans gaining mid race places closely followed by Riley. Jordan Dare won this one with Griffin second and Graeme Barr 3rd.
The overall result was now a tie between Benji Sneddon and Thomas Stanaway for first and Asher Rees and Jayden Ward also tying for 3rd & 4th. So run offs were required to decide the placings. The run offs are 4 laps and it is the first driver over the line gets the win. The race for 3rd & 4th saw Asher take the lead with Ward pushing him round for the first two laps and then Ward made a move and was able to take the lead which he held to the flag with Rees pushing him around the track for 4th overall. The race for 1st and 2nd resulted in Stanaway in the turn 2 fence after a hit on the Sneddon car failed gifting the win to Benji Sneddon from Palmerston North.
Result – 417p Benji Sneddon, 2nd 87 B Thomas Stanaway, 3rd 971C Jayden Ward. With Lee Fairhurst the first Englishman home in 10th place.