|The Pirelli-backed MINI Challenge will move to Brands Hatch this weekend where a plethora of MINI John Cooper Works and Cooper Class cars will battle it out over three separate races on the iconic GP circuit.Chris Smith is at the top of the JCW Class standings after claiming one victory and three podium finishes at the championship’s opening round at Snetterton 300 last month. He holds a three-point lead over teammate Luke Caudle going into round two.“Brands GP is a track where driver commitment is sometimes more important than setup,” explained class leader Smith. “You have to be calm and controlled on the Indy section and then absolutely go for it on the GP loop. There are fast corners, blind apexes and great overtaking chances if you pick up a good tow. We have three races and only two new front Pirelli tyres to use, so the best start will be getting that time for pole in early and then saving the rubber.”
Shane Stoney won all four races at Snetterton in the Challenge’s Cooper Class and leads karting graduate Josh Gollin in both the overall and the Cooper Class classifications. Gollin is two points ahead of JCW leader Smith in the overall standings.
Italian firm Pirelli is the official tyre supplier to the MINI Challenge series for the second consecutive year and will be trackside at Brands Hatch to supply its 225/625-17 WH wet tyre and the 225/625-17 DH slick tyre to the crews.
Pirelli Tyre UK operations manager, Matthew Corby, said: “The MINI Challenge is growing from strength to strength at the moment and it’s fantastic to see such a healthy grid taking part in a one-make racing series here in the UK. Temperatures are expected to be in the late teens over the race weekend but there is a chance of rain which could provide an added difficulty on the challenging and high-speed Brands Hatch GP circuit. However, the Pirelli team will be on hand to provide its expertise to the crews competing over the two-day event and we look forward to what is expected to be another thrilling weekend of race action.”
MINI Challenge series promoter, Antony Williams, added: “The GP circuit offers drivers the ultimate challenge in UK motorsport and always delivers some of the most exciting racing. It will be great to see if Lee Allen can use his home advantage to slash Chris Smith’s lead in the JCW class and if Josh Gollin can break Shane Stoney’s stranglehold on the Cooper Class. It should be an interesting weekend.”
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