Wiltshire doubles up in Masters Endurance Legends walk in the Park
Stuart Wiltshire also made the second Masters Endurance Legends race of the Masters Race Weekend at Donington Park his own, as the Peugeot 90X driver silently but effectively tore off to victory by a full lap. In the process, he beat his morning’s sub-one-minute tour around Donington by 16 thousands to record a 59.940 lap.
“That was tougher, that one”, said Wiltshire, straight out of the car. “The circuit was trickier, there was some oil on the circuit. And I was driving without a rollbar as it broke six laps from the end in the first race. But you know, those 16 thousands – I try to deliver!”
Dean Forward and Jamie Thwaites made sure of a strong second place in the Morgan LMP2, with Forward trying his hardest to keep the Peugeot in sight during his opening stint. In the Ligier JSP2-17, Michael Birch ran third initially but there was nothing he could do about Ben Clucas storming past in the Ligier JSP3 started by Marcus Jewell.
“I was quicker this time”, said Thwaites about learning the car, “but my neck’s killing me! I think getting used to the Gs is going to be the hardest with this car… Dean built a good lead, and he was just great in the second sector.”
“It was good!” said Clucas. “Marcus did a good job to be fourth after his opening stint, and then I got the P2 Ligier at the back of the circuit. We had good pace all day, and didn’t mess up with the pitstops this time…”
The Robin Ward/Richard Bradley and Stephan Joebstl JSP3s completed the P3 class ranks, while the Craig Davies/Ron Maydon example failed to reach the finish.
Glorious sunshine and lovely white clouds were overhead when the second Masters Endurance Legends was given the green flag. In this prototype-only race, Wiltshire’s mighty Peugeot 90X was soon off into a convincing lead of two seconds over Dean Forward in the Morgan LMP2. Birch in the Ligier JSP2-17, meanwhile, headed a train of four P3 Ligiers that was led by Marcus Jewell and also contained Craig Davies, Stephan Joebstl and Robin Ward.
Four laps gone, Forward had managed to hold Wiltshire to a gap of 2.8 seconds while Birch was now 13 seconds adrift of the Morgan as Jewell in the Ligier JSP3 kept the P2 car honest. In the P3 train, Ward and Joebstl had switched places, the former now setting off after Davies.
With half an hour remaining on the clock, Wiltshire had steadily increased his lead to almost seven seconds, while Birch and Jewell continued to quarrel over third. Davies was ten further ticks down the road, with Ward following him by a similar margin, himself having opened up a 12-second gap to Joebstl.
A few more minutes remained until the pit window would open, and when that did open, Wiltshire turned up the wick to improve his fastest lap of the race to a 1.00.2 as Joebstl was the first to come in and hand over to Andy Willis, with Ward following soon for a similar seat-switching manoeuvre with Richard Bradley. Next into the pits was Marcus Jewell who would be relieved by Ben Clucas.
At the front, Wiltshire now led by 12 seconds while Forward did well to beat the Peugeot’s third-sector time. But nonetheless, such was the French car’s pace that Birch had already been lapped. On lap 20, Davies was in for Ron Maydon, and then on lap 21, the three leaders came in simultaneously, three minutes before the pit window would close, with Forward handing over to Jamie Thwaites.
After the stops, Wiltshire’s lead had improved to a lead of over half a minute while Clucas after his driver swap had produced a searing pace to pip Birch for third place. Willis trailed the P2 Ligier by 35 seconds, with Bradley a further 27 seconds down, having to compensate for his elite driver time penalty at the stops. Maydon, meanwhile, had beached his JSP3 in the gravel but it wasn’t enough to summon the safety car.
Like in the morning, Wiltshire now set about achieving his goal of beating the one-minute mark, and he succeeded on lap 25 with a 59.940 – 16 thousands below his earlier target. Soon, his margin to Thwaites was up to 50 seconds, with Clucas now firmly in third place, eight seconds ahead of Birch.
Easing off towards the end, the Peugeot 90X nevertheless managed to lap the entire field, with Thwaites another full lap ahead of Clucas in third. This time, Birch missed out on the podium to take fourth, with Bradley passing Willis for fifth overall.
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