Photo: Sam Martin
Jack Wheeler, at the wheel of the #57 East Surrey College Citroen C1, qualified on the overall front row and took the class pole position for round 13 of the 2023 Student Motorsport Challenge Powered by Visual PR at Brands Hatch. The morning’s 15-minute session went without incident after a lengthy red flag interrupted the Silverlake C1 Endurance Series qualifying earlier.
Wheeler lapped the iconic 1.2 mi (1.93 km) Indy circuit in 1:03.353 to qualify first in class for the afternoon’s 15-minute contest. The #57 East Surrey College car was just .017 seconds behind the overall pole sitter, Elliot Lettis who put in a 1:03.336. Brands Hatch is the first pole position in class following a qualifying session for the South coast-based driver who entered the SMo Challenge for the first time in 2023 with George Keith’s East Surrey College squad.
“It was a really good session for us,” said Jack Wheeler. “We didn’t do any testing here yesterday so I was coming into the session blind in terms of pace but I’m happy with that result. The car handled really well and I think there’s more pace in it for the first race, seeing as how I was only .017 seconds behind the overall pole position. I’ll have to see what I can do into the first corner in race one!”
Second in class was SMo Challenge leader Richard Jepp in the #65 Team Northbrook Racing Peugeot 107 who put in a 1:03.851 on his 8th lap to go fourth quickest overall. Just .008 seconds behind Jepp was Liam Browning in the #91 Boston College Racing Citroen who qualified third in class and fifth overall with a 1:03.859 on his 10th lap of 14.
Haydn Payne in the #72 West Suffolk College Toyota finished the 15-session 9th overall and 4th in class with a 1:04.041.
Andy Dyer, who took his first victory in the SMo Challenge last time out at Snetterton, could only manage 12th overall and 5th in class in the #11 Barracksport Citroen with a 1:04.404 early in the session.
Emilia Vincent enjoyed her best qualifying session of the season so far when the driver of the #174 Wilshire College and University Centre Toyota put in a 1:04.503 to finish 17th quickest overall and 6th in class. Vincent tested for the first time on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit on Wednesday, ahead of making her Brands Hatch racing debut today at 1.15pm.
QE Motorsports’ Arthur Simondet, who currently leads the overall Novice class standings, lapped in 1:04.563 to go 19th quickest in the #12 Citroen to qualify 7th in the SMo Challenge class.
In an overall 36-car grid for the BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship, the seven Student Motorsport Challenge entries qualified in top 19, the best overall qualifying result for the SMo Challenge since its inception in 2022.
Race action gets underway at 1.00pm on Saturday August 19th for the first 15-minute contest followed by two further races on Sunday August 20th to complete the weekend’s triple-header.