Praga Drama At Snetterton

The Praga races at Snetterton took a dramatic twist on the Saturday as Jimmy Broadbent and Geordie Mutch were disqualified post race, they more then made up for it in Sundays race

Despite Jimmy Broadbent taking the chequered flag first at Snetterton, Mittell Cars’ Scott Mittell and Charles Hall took top points from the first Praga Cup race of the weekend. Post-race penalties raised them from third to first place with the sister Mittell R1 helmed by Chippy Wesemael and Dan Gore ending the day in second. Idola Motorsport’s Ed and Chris Bridle took their first podium of the championship as a result of the post-race technical disqualifications.

Race one winners Scott Mittell and Charles Hall – Photo Sam Nudd (SJN Photography)

The race began with a neat rolling start as the pack of R1s thundered down to Riches led by the Team RAW Motorsports’ No.4 car, which started on pole with Rob Wheldon at the wheel. He kept his lead, while behind him the Arden by Idola Motorsport car helmed by Arden’s young American driver David Morales jumped the team Mittell Cars’ No.29. But it was Ben Collins in the Praga Team 85 R1 that made the best start, jumping up from the back row all the way to third, getting past Chris Wesemael through the Hamilton bend and contributing to his ‘Driver of the Day’ award.

Praga Guest Driver Gordie Mutch, who had a point to prove having started from the pit-lane, quickly moved up the grid passing the No.84 Idola Motorsport R1, Raw Motorsports’ Rod Goodman and The University of Wolverhampton Racing car.

When Morton took over the wheel of the No.85 from Collins, the gap he had over Matt Bell’s No.4, was far less and closing rapidly. Charles Hall, who had taken over the No.77 Mittell Cars R1, was at this stage lapping the fastest. Bell, in his first Praga outing, caught Morton in a few laps and passed him through Oggies. Morton then lost another place on the preceding lap, as Hall braked later into the Montreal hairpin and sailed past.

Ben Collins in car 85 – Photo Sam Nudd (SJN Photography)

It was now about the gaps. Broadbent had a large lead over Bell, however Bell was reeling him in. Hall was fastest driver on track and was closing in on Bell. Dan Gore in the sister Mittell car was closing in on Morton.

With all the gaps closing, it set up a nervy finish for most of the field. Broadbent had slowed by dropping the power on his car and had his lead cut by Bell, who was just keeping ahead of Hall. Morton was holding on to fourth but under attack by Gore in the final lap. On the final lap, Morton’s defense broke as he spun around, dropping behind Gore and the Idola Motorsport’s No.84

Race Two

Praga Guest Drivers Jimmy Broadbent and Gordie Mutch won the second race at Snetterton in their Fanatec Praga Team R1, bouncing back from Saturday’s disappointment which saw their win chalked off during post-race scrutineering. Rob Wheldon with RAW Motorsports’ own guest driver Matt Bell finished second despite a drive-through penalty, and Praga’s second Guest Driver pairing of Ben Collins and Jay Morton took third place for their first podium of the season.

Geordie Mutch crossing the line – Photo Sam Nudd (SJN Photography)

At the start of the race, which saw Broadbent start on pole, Bell moved into the lead immediately on the run down to Riches and was followed through by Chris Bridle in the No.84 R1 at Montreal. Charles Hall then passed Goldie 2.0 in Agostini. Further back, Rod Goodman had brought his No.31 up to an impressive fifth before losing a place to Dan Gore.

As the race settled after the hectic opening laps, Bell was out front, being caught by Hall who had passed Chris Bridle. Broadbent was further back but lapping at a consistent pace in tune with the leaders. It was at this point that light rain started to fall and the average lap times dropped off.

As the pit window opened, one of the first cars to come in was Jay Morton in the No.85. Morton had driven what he said was probably “the best run [he’s] ever had”. During his stint in the rain, he kept the car on the grey and also made a place up on the Arden by Idola Motorsport car and had also been catching Goodman. So, when Morton’s pro-partner Ben Collins exited the pit he was in a great position to attack the leaders: which, of course, the former Stig did, bringing Everest up to third on the road. By the end of the race, he had almost caught second placed Rob Wheldon.

Shane Kelly putting the fastest lap on the track in the damp – Photo Sam Nudd (SJN Photography)

Further back, the two Mittell cars had traded places, Scott Mittell had been ahead on the track after the stops but Chris Wesemael passed and before attempting to catch the No.85 of Collins. However, a brief off-track excursion for Wesemael placed him behind Mittell who defended further Wesemael moves. This allowed young Arden driver David Morales to close up to the pair, for an exciting three-car battle in the closing laps. A battle that saw Mittell go from the front of the train to the rear, being overtaken by the sister team Mittell R1 and also the Arden piloted car.

At the front Gordie Mutch, now lighting up the track behind the wheel of Goldie 2.0, had taken the lead from Wheldon, who also had had to serve a stop-go penalty for a short pitstop. Leading the race, Mutch then set another fastest lap of 1:47.288. Uncatchable, he drove home to claim the No.87’s second on-track win of the weekend. Wheldon recovered after the penalty and finished second, ahead of the charging Collins who was aiming to catch the RAW Motorsports’ R1 with a few extra laps.

This time around the results read a win for Gordie Mutch and Jimmy Broadbent, with a double podium for Praga’s Guest Drivers.