(Photo: Sam Martin)
Richard Jepp, driver of the #65 Team Northbrook Racing Peugeot 107, took victory in the first race of the day for the Student Motorsport Challenge, part of the BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship. Jepp took the chequered flag in second place overall, four places ahead of Jack Wheeler, at the wheel of the #57 East Surrey College Racing Citroen C1 finished second in class.
Completing the Challenge podium finishers was Liam Browning, driver of the #91 Boston College Racing Citroen.
TNR’s Challenge victory in round 18 means that the south-coast-based team now has a lead of 48 points, including dropped scores, over East Surrey College so are now title winners elect of the 2023 Student Motorsport Challenge.
Jepp led the Challenge field away from the grid, the driver of #65 Team Northbrook Racing Peugeot having started from 4th in the overall 33-car grid. Jepp had moved into second during the first lap and was sitting just less than 1.5 seconds from overall leader Stuart Bliss in the #18 Toyota.
The #65 TNR Peugeot was closing the gap to the overall leader and after, four laps and with just over eight minutes, remaining was just over half a second behind the leader Stuart Bliss.
The unseasonably high track temperatures were encouraging some drivers to push their cars behind the limits of their traction and as the race approached the final five minutes several cars enjoyed off-track excursions. Thankfully the Student Motorsport Challenge entries kept out of trouble and, with six laps completed, four Challenge entries occupied positions within the overall top ten.
Having passed Andy Dyer in the #11 Barracksport entry, Jack Wheeler, driver of the #57 East Surrey College car, was less than a quarter of a second behind Liam Browning in the #91 Boston College Racing Citroen. Wheeler eventually found a way past Browning as he and Browning turned on to the back straight and the #57 car moved into second of the Challenge finishers and sixth place overall.
As the chequered flag was shown, Rishard Jepp remained in second, just over half a second behind the #18 car of Stuart Bliss.
Student Motorsport title winner elect Team Northbrook Racing’s Richard Jepp was delighted to have been challenging for the overall win in a car that found pace as the weekend progressed.
“We’ve definitely found some time over the weekend,” said Richard Jepp. “Testing is always fruitful. We found some get set-ups. The race was good. We always race with respect up the front and we help each other along. There were no problems. We were all battling but comfortably. I think, given a few more laps, I might have been closer but I’ve had great racing with Stu (Bliss) and Elliott (Lettis) all season. Congratulations as well for their season finishes and congratulations to Team Northbrook Racing for their potential title.”
East Surrey College’s Jack Wheeler enjoyed some close racing throughout the 15-minute contest, eventually passing fellow Student Motorsport Challenge competitor Liam Browning for second in class.
“The race was a bit chaotic at the start,” said Wheeler. “I had someone spin off in front of me which obviously I was trying my best to avoid. I managed to avoid it luckily and caught up with Liam and the group in front. After that, it was good fun.
“I’d swapped positions with Liam Browning for a lap or two and then going on to the back straight, Liam was taken out which meant that I was able to pull up alongside him which gave me the inside line at the next corner and I held him off from there.”
Boston College Racing’s Liam Browning enjoyed the close racing at the front of the field.
“I had a pretty good start and we were pushing out as a group,” said Browning. “Richard (Jepp) had already gone at the front so my aim was to come home second in class. I was fighting with Moss and I knew what was going to happen and Jack Wheeler was catching us. I had a good fight with Jack and then I got turned around by the #27 at the exit of turn five. I had a good battle with Jack to the end and he just pipped me for the line.
“The race was good apart from that. Really good fighting with Jack as always so really great racing!”
Race Two for the Student Motorsport Challenge gets underway at 5.10pm on Sunday October the 8th.