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Shanghai International Circuit. 20 February 2019
June 20, 2018


The rising stars of GPVWC lit up Silverstone tonight with another frantic, thrilling pair of Formula Challenge races for Round 9 of the 2018 Season, the British GP.

Going into the round, a mere three points separated the two title protagonists, Chris Butcher and Chris Shepherd.

First blood went to the STAX driver with a blistering pole position, secured by the smallest of margins - 0.001s - ahead of Cenobite's Matthew Williams whilst Luke Maguire of Shift Gear Racing took third, 0.015s off Shepherd! Butcher managed P5 in the session but would line up in P4 on the grid thanks to Adrian Campfield's grid penalty, therefore promoting Sven di Vries into the top five on the grid. Race one was a fairly uneventful race, by Formula Challenge standards at least, with Shepherd controlling the race from the front the whole way through. Behind him saw a tasty fight between Williams, Maguire and Butcher, with tyre wear coming into play towards the end of the race. Butcher would eventually come out on top with a fantastic final two laps propelling him from P4 to P2, Williams rounded off the podium just behind. Maguire was the unfortunate victim of tyre wear and would eventually finish in P5, losing a position to Sandeep Chodha (CM Tech) on the very final lap.

The reverse grid draw saw Ric Scott (P10 in Race 1) rewarded for continuing his fine return to racing with pole position, the WSL driving being joined by Schubert's Cameron Rodger, another enjoying a fine run in the first race. Maguire would be considered the favourite for the race, starting in P6 whilst Butcher (P9) and Shepherd (P10) would be hoping to take advantage of some trouble up ahead.

Indeed trouble up ahead did happen, on the very first lap in the very first turn with Maguire getting caught up and ending up spinning in front of a rampaging grid as the exited Turn 1, the ensuing chaos resulting in a good third of the grid being affected in one way or another and causing multiple retirements on the spot. It was then in the second half of the race that the fireworks really hit the flame with a fantastic battle involving the top 8, featuring position changes on every lap and drama just as often! Indeed, Ric Scott led throughout and looked comfortable until a mistake on Lap 12 caused a chain reaction of events that would eventually wipe out both Williams and Shepherd from contention for the win, they would finish P8 and P11 respectively.

This gave Cameron Rodger the lead however it was short lived with Chris Butcher, surviving some scares of his own earlier on in the race, snatching the lead by the end of the penultimate lap. The drama wasn't over behind however with more collisions and mistakes meaning it was a lottery for the final podium position. As the chequered flag came out, it was Sandeep Chodha who would stand on the final step, despite spinning on the final lap! Behind him was the unfortunate Scott with Ivan Leonov (Cenobite) rounding out the Top 5.

Butcher's win coupled with Shepherd's luckless Race 2 result means the Red Arrows driver has increased his championship lead to 18 points (272 vs 254) meaning it's still all to play for with just under half the season to run! The next round takes place in two weeks time at Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix, an important milestone in the season with the 4 week summer break straight after - be sure to find out who takes the advantage!

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