Tim Bates was the pace setter all day in his well-developed 911, starting off by claiming 911 Challenge pole position in the morning’s qualifying session at Donington Park on April 2nd. He led the field down to the first corner at the start of race one, Christian Ayres making a great start in his 964 from the second row of the grid to be with Bates,
They were greeted by a track made wet by an unexpected shower, Bates tiptoeing through while Ayes spun wide and the first of the Boxster Cup cars to arrive, who were sharing the track with the 911 Challenge cars, spinning to the inside. Mike Johnson, starting down the order due to fuel issues in qualifying, went off track too losing time.
Bates opened a gap lap by lap as condition improved, James Neal’s 964 heading the chase while Johnson worked his way back through the field. In the final laps Bates sat behind two Boxsters fighting for position rather than affect their battle, which let Neal close in, but the win was his. Johnson recovered to third with Ayres next up.
In race two Neil Harvey, taking over the 964 piloted by Neal in race one, made a great start and headed Bates for the first part of the lap, only to spin at McLeans corner, skating though the gravel trap without touching anything solid. That left Bates clear at the front from the start, Ayres into second while Johnson pitted at the end of the first lap.
With Bates unchallenged on his way to win number two of the day, Harvey was gaining places and into third by lap nine and past Ayres two laps later. That was the order to the flag, Bates deservedly taking the win after a virtually faultless day.
Snetterton on June 19th is the next outing for the 911 Challenge field.
1 Tim Bates (911) 19 Laps
2 James Neal (964) +1.835s
3 Mike Johnson (911 SC)
4 Christian Ayres (964)
Fastest Lap: Bates 1m19.758s (89.32mph).
1 Bates 19 Laps
2 Neil Harvey (964)
Fastest Lap: Bates 1m19.441s (89.68mph)