13 October 2018
Bradley Smith hunted down his rivals to snatch a late Silverstone victory in the penultimate LMP3 Cup Championship race of the season, but second place made Tony Wells and Colin Noble provisional champions.
Christian Olsen bolted clear from pole position in the Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing Ligier during a rapid first stint, but the car soon came under intense pressure when Nick Adcock took up the defensive duties of the lead car. Smith, in the Mectech Motorsport Norma M30, climbed aboard in third place and swiftly carved through into second to begin his chase of Adcock. The lead gap of 25 seconds soon became nothing and Smith pounced with two laps to go to confirm victory for himself and Williams.
“That was proper!” said Smith. “Duncan did a good stint and they were all racing well, because in this wind it’s a massive challenge in these cars. We managed to get a good pitstop and then tried to move forward. I took a bit of time getting there, but I was in clear air and that gave me the momentum.”
Williams added: “it was a good race and I actually made up places which is a nice change for me. I was just trying to hold onto them as we trimmed the car out for top speed which made it a handful, but Bradley has the talent and showed it right there.”
Wells and Noble evaded trouble after qualifying fifth on the grid, grabbing second place from Nielsen Racing team-mate Adcock on the final lap to confirm their destiny as champions.
A delighted Wells said: “I just wanted to stroke it round without getting involved in any trouble! The car had loads of pace and if only I’d qualified better then we could have had a better run and followed Christian [Olsen] around. The car had that pace, but I couldn’t make a lunge without needing more commitment. It’s great to win a P3 championship.”
Noble added: “we just needed fifth position so that’s why I was a little bit cautious in traffic. It was a good race and we can now enjoy it tomorrow. It was a tight battle right from the start to finish, but we had a championship in mind so, if a chance appeared, we thought it through.”
Experienced racer Adcock had flown back from working in South Africa to be at Silverstone for the weekend but was denied a dream result in a dramatic conclusion to the hour-long race.
“I was just hunted down,” said Adcock. “I’m still very much learning the car. It’s a technique-based thing – not a lack of bravery. Christian set a very good benchmark so I can only try to go faster. It had a horrible air of inevitability about it, but I’m glad to get a podium.”
Donington winner Olsen added: “I was just trying to put in consistent times and also pushing to improve my outright pace. I was pulling away quite well and consistently, but there’s still quite a lot of performance we need to get out of the car to stop its understeer. It seemed as if the tyres were getting too hot in my stint. I want to bring the gap down to the fastest guys tomorrow.”
1) Duncan Williams / Bradley Smith - #21 Mectech Motorsport (Norma M30)
2) Colin Noble / Tony Wells - #1 Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing (Ligier JS P3)
3) Christian Olsen / Nick Adcock - #7 Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing (Ligier JS P3)