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GRAVEL MEISTER GIBSON
David Gibson overcame a trip into the gravel trap during qualifying to notch up a dominant victory in the first of the weekend's three races for the 2005 FISC Midget & Sprite EuroTour at Zandvoort over the weekend of September 10 and 11.
Gibson had unknowingly set pole before burying the nose of his car in the steep gravel trap at the exit of Mitsubishibocht, his Dutch crew having to perform their usual miracles to reassemble the nose from the many broken fragments of glass fibre retrieved to make the Lenham bodied car roadworthy again.
The effort was certainly worthwhile however as from the start of the 12 lapper, Gibson simply went off into a lead which was never challenged, leaving the others to squabble behind him.
And there certainly was some squabbling, not to mention some controversy, principally over the use of the stop/go penalty.
Main victim was Hans Dullaert, who was adamant his number had been shown, but having arrived in the pits was told it was not him! This was bad enough, but given he was holding a strong third, his best ever race position, his disappointment was understandable.
One of the beneficiaries was Adam Cunnington, who had already demoted Dullaert from second, but was given some breathing space with the Dutchman's trip to the pits.
Behind him, Jean-Michel Guermonprez and Zandvoort specialist Michel van Kooten, fought bitterly for most of the race. The Frenchman had made up places at the rolling start by hanging back prior to the green light and accelerating as the leaders passed the line, giving him plenty of momentum down into the first corner.
Unfortunately for those behind him, the tactic created a gap which caught out those such as Ian Hulett who was subsequently given a stop/go penalty. Nevertheless, a strong fight back still saw him finish 6th.
Rounding off the top six was Pieter Bakker, who was initially in the thick of the action with the likes of van Kooten (having his first FISC EuroTour race this year). Bakker felt his car was not handling as it should and a spin onto the infield at the downhill hairpin, Hugenholtzbocht, was probable confirmation of that feeling.
RACE TWO - SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 11 2005
HARSH PENALTY FOR LATE ARRIVALS
An early start for race three saw no less than 11 drivers starting from the pitlane, having failed to join the collecting area within the required time.
Perhaps the most significant was race one winner, David Gibson, with John Faux another casualty. In the semi wet conditions, with some parts of the track almost dry, other parts very treacherous, the lack of a warm up lap only added to the latecomers penalty.
A clean start saw effective pole man, Adam Cunnington, take an early lead, chased hard by wet weather expert, Jean-Michel Guermonprez.
Having fallen back slightly at the start, Ian Hulett began a charge which saw him up to third relatively quickly, Cunnington meanwhile falling into the clutches of the Frenchman, who then lead for five laps.
Having passed Cunnington, Hulett set about Guermonprez, the pair enjoying each others company right until the end, a couple of position swops taking place.
At the flag though it was Hulett who made it stick, just half a second ahead, with Cunnington some 12 seconds further behind.
Michel van Kooten fought back to third having lost places at the start in the tricky conditions. Both he and John Faux enjoyed early race battles with John Moon, whose Frogeye fell back as the track dried.
Once clear of Moon, the Dutchman and the Englishman traded 4th and 5th a few times, with the final advantage going to the Netherlands, though only by half a second.
Moon had a lonely latter half of the race to 6th with a 12" advantage over 7th despite a duff front damper.
Gibson meanwhile had been black flagged after losing his exhaust whilst lying 7th.
RACE THREE SUNDAY 11 SEPTEMBER 2005
ONE YEAR ON, CUNNINGTON DOES IT AGAIN
Having won on his FISC EuroTour debut at Zandvoort a year ago, Adam Cunnington proved his skill at this demanding track by taking victory in the final race of the weekend.
Twelve months earlier, Cunnington's victory was slightly hollow in that his car was running as a guest, outside the strict FISC EuroTour regulations.
This time, the victory was certainly won on merit, Cunnington passing pole man, Hulett, on lap three after outbraking him at Tarzan.
Shortly afterwards, Hulett's rollercoaster weekend hit another low along with his exhaust which departed company from the car, the excess noise causing him to be black flagged.
Thereafter, Guermonprez kept Cunnington honest but was never in a position to challenge, finishing around a second behind at the flag.
Having failed to finish race two David Gibson fought strongly from the back of the grid, dicing with both van Kooten and Faux on the way to a superb third place.
With Gibson gone, van Kooten's race become much quieter, with a decent gap to Faux.
Hans Dullaert made good progress to 6th with some interesting battles along the way with the likes of Simon Wainewright and John Moon. Having dispatched them, the Dutchman had a lonely latter half of the race and was declared 6th best FISC EuroTour racer for the weekend.
Happy to be 5th with his 'scrapyard quality' front damper was Moon, with Faux 4th and leading Dutchman, van Kooten 3rd. Guermonprez took second, with Cunnington a popular overall winner and clearly a master of this demanding track which caught out so many this weekend.
The next FISC EuroTour meeting is at Dijon on the 7th, 8th and 9th October.