|Although now some ten seconds behind invitation class entrant Bryant-Meisner, Buller was a comfortable first in the International class ahead of his Brazilian team-mate, Guimaraes. Elsewhere, a drive-through penalty for Double R’s Antonio Giovinazzi for not respecting track limits dropped the Italian to fifth position, handing third to team-mate Sean Gelael and fourth to the third Double R Dallara-Mercedes of Tatiana Calderon who thrived amidst the surrounding pressure.
The race order remained that way until the chequered flag, Buller triumphing in the first race of the season from team-mate Guimaraes making it two Fortec drivers on the podium and a strong podium finish for Gelael, the youngest driver on the grid.
National Class pole-sitter Ed Jones survived a first-lap scare when a sideways moment sent him onto the grass exiting Becketts, but he recovered through to field to bring his West-Tec machine home first ahead of long-time race leader, CF Racing’s Sun Zheng, Jones dispatching fellow team-mate Cameron Twynham before snatching success from the Chinese driver in the dying moments of the race.
Mark Bailey Racing’s Alice Powell was another driver not to see the chequered flag, pulling off the race track with mechanical problems having battled with the National Class cars for much of the race.
The top eight finishers from race one will be reversed to decide the grid for race two tomorrow, . Sunday seeing two further 30-minute races, race two beginning at 12 pm while the third gets underway at 4:55 pm.
John Bryant-Meisner, #51 Performance Racing Europe Dallara-Volkswagen (INV) (OTR Winner)
‘It’s a very good feeling. I made a great start, and then I was clear of the battles going on behind me, which meant I could get away. The car was exactly where I wanted it. Even without the boost the car was still quick, and actually felt more consistent.’
Ed Jones, #81 Team West-Tec Dallara-Toyota (NAT) (Class Winner)
‘It didn’t get off to the best start, coming out of Becketts I hit the kerb and that put me off onto the grass so I dropped more or less to the back of the field. I had some good racing with people from then; Zheng was hard to do much about as his car was fast in a straight line, but I managed to finally get a good run on him and got by.’
Race one results:
– John Bryant-Meisner / SWE, Performance Racing Europe Dallara-Volkswagen 31:07.288
1 Will Buller / GBR, Fortec Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes +16.533
2 Felipe Guimaraes / BRA, Fortec Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes +25.163
3 Sean Gelael / IDN, Double R Dallara-Mercedes +39.513
4 Tatiana Calderon / COL, Double R Dallara-Mercedes +40.142
5 Antonio Giovinazzi / ITA Double R Dallara-Mercedes +51.888*
National Class result:
1 Ed Jones / GBR, Team West-Tec Dallara-Toyota 32:21.519
2 Sun Zheng / CHI, CF Racing Dallara-NBE +5.734
3 Cameron Twynham / GBR, Team West-Tec Dallara-Toyota +7.358
*Five-second time penalty added to their race time.
Provisional championship standings
1 Buller 25 points; 2 Guimaraes 18 points; 3 Gelael 15 points; 4 Calderon 12 points; 5 Giovinazzi 10 points.