Roberts and Deott Crowned 2017 Fun Cup UK Champions
Graham Roberts and Farquini Deott produced a stunning drive to clinch the 2017 Fun Cup UK title. The final race of the season saw all three championship contenders battling all race long, but a tactful drive by Roberts at the end gave the JPR-UVio team their second consecutive championship title.
The stage was set for the final race of the season with the reigning champions starting 25th with their two championship rivals going from 20th and 30th. However, there was an extra sense of tension in the air.
Several teams had been experiencing excessive wear on the front brake pads, which led to the championship organisers finding there was a bad batch of brake pads in circulation from the supplier. Soon after a bulletin had been released for teams to take two mandatory 5minute pit stops in the race to check, and if necessary, change the front brake pads.
Deott took the start quickly making up 7 positions on the first lap. His progress was slowed but only briefly due to the appearance of three safety cars within the first 20 minutes. By the first round of pit stops, Deott had climbed 23 positions and handed the car over to Roberts in 2nd place.
During the second stint, Roberts battled briefly with Track Torque Racing before both drivers thought better of it, deciding to save the fight for position for later in the race. The second pit stop window was the first of the two mandatory 5-minute pit stops, with a weird sense of calmness in the pits amongst the teams as everyone went about their driver changes and refuelling very casually after determining their brakes pads were ok to continue with.
As the race tipped past the half way point Roberts was back in the number one machine but down in 4th after getting blocked in the pits by other cars filing into the pit lane during a safety car period. However, Roberts soon got onto the back of the two leaders who happened to also be his two championship rivals. For the remainder of the stint, the three championship contenders were enthralled in a three-way battle for the lead with a fourth car soon joining them.
Roberts said: “It was super close between all of us; no-one was giving an inch to anyone else. I managed to sneak ahead with another car that had overtaken both our rivals on the pit straight but made a mistake trying to go for the lead myself a few laps later and fell back into 3rd ultimately. Anthony [Reid] had his elbows out after that so I just sat behind him for the time being.
Deott was back in the car and managed to catch and pass the DespatchBay.com car along with the Team Trooper car but then dropped down to 3rd behind Track torque Racing. The rest of the stint remained steady for all cars with the sense that the big battle was soon coming.
The final round of pit stops came and went and with a quick driver change, the JPR-UVio team managed to leapfrog Track Torque Racing back into 2nd. Roberts was back in the car for the final stint and chasing down the Team Trooper car.
Roberts said: “We were ok at this point as we were winning the championship. I caught Team Trooper up and thought I’ll try and get past if I get a good chance to try and avoid Track Torque from catching me. But as I drew alongside going into the Old Hall [corner] he came across me and hit my right front wheel. Luckily there was no damage to the car but it ticked me off a bit.”
A lap later, Roberts tried the same move again but instead of getting hit he dropped to 3rd as Track Torque Racing had dived up the inside of both cars to take the lead and at this point the championship title. Roberts then decided to make a tactful but risky decision to move over and let the fast closing DespatchBay.com car through into 3rd, with the hope that they would be able to overtake the two leading cars.
A few laps later it looked like Roberts tactic had paid off with the DespatchBay.com car first finding a way past the Team Trooper car and half a lap later past the Track Torque Racing car as well. With both cars comprised, Roberts was able to sneak through to move into 2nd place.
The championship title was back with JPR-UVio but not before a late race scare when Roberts ran wide onto the grass on the exit of Druids dropping him back towards the clutches of Track Torque Racing. Roberts soon regained his momentum and pulled out a small gap where they stayed until the chequered flag.
After 32 Hours of racing this season it all came right down to the wire, but Graham Roberts and Farquini Deott held there nerves to win the 2017 Fun Cup UK Championship and take their second consecutive title.
Roberts said: “That was an amazing race. The skill and intensity of the top 4 cars on track was immense and it showed with how close we were all racing as the pit wall was flooded with people. In the end it all came down to the last 20 minutes, with the championship outcome changing every lap between the three championship contenders. I made a risky decision letting DespatchBay.com through but luckily the risk paid off. I want to say congratulations and thank you to both Track Torque Racing and Team Trooper for pushing us hard all year long. It feels great to win this year as it was even tougher than last year and to be double champions is a nice feeling too!”